Sourdough starter

I’ve recently learned how to use sourdough starter to make waffles and bread. Several months ago I started making bread, with yeast, you know…. The “normal” way. Then my father told me I was doing it wrong, that using a sourdough starter was a much better way to go. Well, I have to admit that he was right. I’ve now had my own sourdough starter, from my parents, for almost a month. I’ve made several batches of waffles and 4 different loaves of sourdough bread. I’ve even shared my starter with a friend and she’s now making waffles and bread too (AND she just found a recipe for blueberries sourdough muffins, which I plan on trying tomorrow!). The cool thing is that now my friend is posting about it too and she’s going to share her starter with friends too. That’s such an awesome thing, it makes my tummy all giggly with delight.

Anyway, back to my starter and bread and stuff. I made my first sourdough following Jacob Burton’s step by step video, with Stella Culinary, on YouTube, last weekend. I wanted to make the bread on Friday and instead found out that 1) I didn’t have enough starter (called my dad on how to actually “properly” grow it) and that 2) my starter didn’t pass the float test. That latter step was a little intimidating at first, because I didn’t know my starter that well yet. However, I then did a lot of reading, online, on what to do and how to do it. The best way to find out when your starter is ready for bread (float test, or dropping a dollop of starter in room temp water, if it floats it’s ready to be used to make bread, if it sinks it’s either not ready or it’s too far gone and needs to be fed) is to test the “float” status of your starter every hour, starting with the first hour after the most recent feed. I discovered that my starter is excellent at around the 2-3 hour mark. So on Saturday I woke up early, fed my starter, and then set the timer for about 2 hours. 

My starter passed the float test (room temp water, drop dollop of starter, if it floats make bread, if it sinks wait a little longer)

Now you can make bread, which I’ll do in a separate post. I think, for bread recipes, you need a fed starter; for waffles and muffins (a recipe to be tried today) you can have a fed or unfed starter.

Feeding your starter is very simple and there are two ways to maintain a starter: in the fridge (feed weekly) or on your counter (feed every 12 hours). 

My fridge starter (her name is Abigail) before her weekly feed

Weekly fridge feed:

Take starter out of fridge. Open jar and stir contents (it may have separated a little, and have a golden-ish liquid on top, this is normal and does not mean your starter is dead). Allow to adjust to room temperature a little (anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours) by leaving it on the counter. The resting process is not necessary, if you are short on time, and I’ve tested out feeding a starter directly from the fridge with no issues. A slightly warmer starter seems to feed better, however, so that’s what I’ve been doing. 

Once the starter is ready remove about 1/4-1/2 a cup of starter, place in a bowl that can be covered. Add 100g (4oz) of lukewarm water and 100g (4oz) bread flour (or other wheat based flour), stir and let it rest (covered) on counter for several hours (6-12 hours). 

After the resting/feeding period stir the starter and put back in mason jar (pint sized is good). The starter you have left over can be tossed, used to make another counter starter, make another starter, or used in a recipe (like muffins or waffles).

For the counter starter:

Remove all but 1/4-1/2 cup starter, add 100g flour and 100g lukewarm water. Stir everything together and cover. This will need to be done every 12 hours (I do first feed around 8 or 9am and then the evening one around 8 or 9pm). I have accidentally skipped a feed and if that happens, feed your starter as soon as possible. Continue to feed as you normally would (if you remember 24 hours later, do next feed at 12 hours, if it’s a couple hours before the next feed, say it’s 4pm, you could do another small feed at 10pm and then again at 8am). You can use the discard to make waffles, muffins, another starter, or bread. You can also keep feeding and make the starter bigger, this will be needed when making most breads (which usually call for roughly 500g of starter).

This is my counter starter (his name is Fred)

If you want to make your own starter King Arthur has an excellent tutorial on their website. 

These are the waffles I make. It requires overnight resting (roughly 8-12 hours), so this is a great recipe for using up your “discard” starter at night or when you feed your fridge starter.

This recipe is excellent for making sourdough sandwich bread. But it definitely requires two bread baking pans (at least for my starter it has and my friend, who’s also made this, she found the recipe for me). As you can see in the picture below, it could not be contained.


Thankfully I caught it in time and was able to salvage it.


My favorite recipe (my father introduced me to this), which I’ll do a separate post on, is Jacob Burton’s from Stella Culinary. He has a YouTube video on the step by step process of making a simple sourdough bread. The first time I made it, it definitely didn’t feel simple, but after having made it three times now it seriously makes THE best sourdough bread I’ve ever tried.


So far I’ve really been enjoying the process and I look forward to making this part of my routine. It’s certainly pretty budget friendly, since the last recipe only requires flour, water, and kosher salt and you can easily make several loaves of bread with one bag. An artisan bread like this could easily cost $6-10, but even King Arthur flour only costs $4.99 for a 5-pound bag. I’d say that’s a win. 

Marinara, simple and tasty

I’m a huge fan of anything homemade and even more so when it’s simple and tasty to boot. Yet another great find on Pinterest, but I modified it to my own liking. 

I don’t think I need to go into a long drawn out post on this one, though I’d certainly love to make this entire recipe from all fresh ingredients (and make my own diced tomatoes from my “potted plant garden”), but right now I have to use canned diced tomatoes. 

I buy diced tomatoes on sale (less than $1 per can, for the 28oz cans). A jar of decent marinara sauce costs upwards of $7 and with how little it costs to make it from scratch, I can’t justify spending that much. This recipe makes roughly 2-3 jars of sauce, so it’s a pretty good budget saver. I freeze the leftover sauce in mason jars and put them in the fridge (24 hours before I need them) to defrost for use. I’m no a huge fan of canned tomatoes, but hopefully my potted tomato plants will do well this summ and I won’t have to buy canned for much longer. 

So here’s the process for making the sauce. Heat a pot, or sauce pan, at medium-medium-high and add olive oil (I use California Olive Ranch everyday extra virgin olive oil, first cold press). 


Add diced onions and cook, until almost glassy, and then add minced garlic. Cook until everything is soft and aromatic. Mix in the spices, and stir to combine, before adding in the remaining ingredients. Add in tomatoes, tomato paste, wine (I use Chardonnay from the Gallo family, nothing fancy and I buy the tiny bottles, because I am not a huge alcohol drinker and we’d just end up tossing it all), olives, salt, and pepper. 


Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to low and cook for 30 minutes. Check every so often and stir as needed. After the 30 minutes I stick blend the entire thing until it’s pretty fine. 

At this point I add my baked meatballs to the sauce and cook for another 20 minutes. 

Recipe
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup diced onions
4-5 cloves minced garlic
1 Tablespoon Basil
1 Teaspoon Oregano
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 28-ounce can diced/stewed tomatoes
1 8 ounce jar Kalamata olives, drained (reserving 1 tablespoon brine to add to sauce)
3/4 cups white wine (Chardonnay)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Heat sauce pan and add olive oil
2. Add in diced onions and cook until almost glassy/softened.
3. Add in garlic and cook until aromatic (roughly 1-2 minutes, don’t allow garlic to burn)
4. Add in spices and stir to coat onions/garlic
5. Add in remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to boil
6. Cook on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally 
7. Stick blend to your desired smoothness. 

Note: I add my oven baked meatballs at this point and cook for additional 20 minutes.

Excited to try Zipzicles

I just made my fourth batch of yogurt and my daughter keeps asking for the pouch yogurts (the ones in the tubes). We buy the Stonyfield ones, but I’m not thrilled with the cost of them or the fact that I am not in control of the ingredients (mostly the sugar and any unknown additives). 

I just found these Zipzicles, through another blog, and I have high hopes (based on the reviews, both positive and negative) that these will help. 

It’s certainly not extremely expensive and for the potential savings I’ll give it a shot. Even if they are a one time use, they’re $0.19 a piece and with my savings on making homemade yogurt it’s still cheaper (and healthier) than buying the store made ones.

Here’s the link to amazon. I’m not affiliated with these in any way, and I’m giving them a shot. I’ll post a new post once I’ve received them and made the yogurt Popsicles.