Sourdough Dreams

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    Sourdough is one of the pillars of self reliance as bread is the staff of life. It fits in with my generally valid rule of prepping

    Anything that does not improve life in the here and now most likely will not do so in the event of an EVENT.
    In other words self reliance is the heart of prepping. Besides home baked sourdough stuff is just tasty.

    We’ve been doing sourdough for years with much success and a few failures. We have never been able to catch a really reliable yeast/lactobacillus culture that provided vigorous action and the sour taste of a classic starter. After many years we think we finally have it. Seems that it is simply a matter of luck and the right growth medium. We were given a book on gluten free sourdough which has a lot of tasty looking stuff. We don’t need gluten free but are not adverse to it. One of the recommendations was to base a starter on whole rye. We did so using 2 heaping cups of whole rye flour and 2 cups of our filtered well water. After two weeks we fed it again using two more cups each of rye and water discarding half of the subsequent mix. After two more weeks we had a spectacular and vigorous bubble of starter.
    We put a cup and a half in a pint sterile canning jar lidded it and tucked it into the refrigerator. We used to rest to make a passable loaf of whole wheat rye bread. OK but not spectacular. Over the next year we would activate the starter once a month and give it another try. The result was always good but never really “sour”.

    Finally this week we fired it up for one more try. The starter activated with even better vigor than before and produced a marvelous sour aroma. We started with a batch of Austrian Sour Rye Pancakes which were no less than spectacular. I’ll recipe them below. Next we opted for a loaf of plain white bread with the balance of the starter. We took another cup and a half out and refrigerated it for next time. Then we made a typical white bread dough with it baking it on a stone with a pan of water in the bottom of the oven. We were rewarded with a top notch crispy crust loaf that set our guests to drooling. Those who told us that it takes at least a year for starter to properly mature were correct. Patience is the key. Inside the door it unlocks is not only self reliance but really really good bread. Our staff of life runneth over.

    Austrian Sourdough Pancakes
    2 Cups sourdough starter
    1 Cup of whole rye flour
    1 Cup of milk
    1 Large egg well beaten
    3 TBS melted butter
    2 TBS sugar
    1 tsp non iodized salt
    sufficient all purpose flour to
    achieve your desired consistency

    Mix it all together until smooth and let sit in a warm place for about an hour
    Bake on a 400 Degree F griddle for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

    Shortcut: Dissolve 1 tsp baking soda in 1 TBS water and gently fold into the batter
    Bake as directed but tell no one that you cheated. You might loose your
    Grandpa Pancake maker’s certificate.

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