From the Kitchen: Sourdough Starter

My lovely sourdough starter

I first made sourdough starter back in 2000. I remember because that was the year right after we got married, and we nursed that baby for so long, my husband used to joke: “If ever it dies, we’ll know we’re in trouble too!” It became a running joke between us.

This is the recipe I used to start my sourdough. I’ve made several breads with it over the years, and it always comes out delicious. I hope you’ll enjoy making some too.

Makes 3 Cups

NOTES : Russet potatoes are best because they contain the most starch of all the potato family, but you could substitute with some golden potatoes instead (large ones). Whatever you do, DON’T use red or new potatoes: they don’t have the nutritional value needed to really keep your starter going. Never use metallic bowls or utensils with your starter, either. They could introduce minerals in the mixture that would kill it.

Ingredients:
2 Large Russet Potatoes, Peeled And Cut In 1 Inch Pieces
4 Cups Water, Cold
2 Cups Bread Flour
1 Package Dry Yeast, (Or The Equiv Amount Of Other Yeast)
Preparation:
Place potatoes in large pot and cover with 4 cups cold water. Boil until potatoes are tender when pierced with sharp knife, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes, reserving the liquid. Reserve potatoes for another use.

Let water cool to barely lukewarm. Mix 2 cups lukewarm potato water with 2 cups bread flour and 1 package dry yeast in glass or pottery bowl. Cover with cheesecloth and let stand at room temperature for 2 days, stirring once or twice a day. Mixture should be bubbly with clear yellowish liquid at top. Stir well before using.

Starter can be made ahead and kept in a large glass jar in the refrigerator (I found a nice juice jug at Kroger with a top that seals; it’s kept my starter alive since August 2000!) Replenish starter with equal amounts of bread flour and water each time you use it. For example, if recipe calls for 1/2 cup starter, stir in 1/2 cup each of bread flour and water into starter after removing the initial 1/2 cup. If not using starter, stir in 1/2 cup each water and bread flour into starter every two or three weeks to keep it active. (Once in a while, you can use lukewarm potato water if you have it, maybe once every 4-6 months, just to kick it up a bit. When you do, you can also add a little more yeast). If starter turns pink or orange in color, discard.

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