Finally I am taking the time to edit and upload pictures! I'm just starting with pictures I took while preparing the sourdough starter. The first picture is of all the ingredients and equipment I used. Here is a written list as well:
1 cup All purpose four
1 cup Light or skim milk
3 tablespoons Plain yogurt
Glass jar with lid
1 cup and 1 tablespoon
Flour sifter (optional)
Step one was to sterilize the jar
Once glass jar had bowled I removed it and set it to dry while I finished the milk and yogurt
1 cup of milk is heated to 90-100 degrees F, removed from heat, and 3 tablespoons of yogurt are added. Once this is well mixed pour it into the still warm glass container, cover tightly, and set in a warm place for 8-24 hours.
Keep checking it over the next 24 hours and look for it to start to form a curd throughout and all become a yorgurty texture. If it shows any pink coloration through it away and start again!
Once it does look nice and thick stir in one cup of flour until the mixture is smooth. Recover the jar and set it back in that warm spot for anywhere from 2 to 5 days. When ready it will have lots of bubbles coming through and a good sour smell, yummm. Incidently, keep an eye on this as it develops and loosen the lid if necessary to keep it from exploding.
I forgot to take a picture of the yogurty looking part before I added the flour, oops! At any rate this next picture is of what mine looked like after 3 days with flour when I then opted to put it in the refrigerator for storing.
I then tried a recipe that called for something refered to as a 'sponge'. I also forgot to take pictures of that, sigh. It was basically making a portion of the dough that included 1 cup from the starter, this portion was then allowed to fermit for another 24 hours before making the actual loaf, pictured here:)
I would say this was about an 84% success. The bread tasted alright and had a nice texture but it didn't rise quite right and could have had a stronger sourdough flavor. For the next loaf I plan to be sure and use bread flour in the bread mix as I usually don't bother but have read it can be more important with sourdough than other breads and will also be trying it on a warmer day.
A final note on the starter: if you want to keep it potentially in perpetuity then it needs to be fed at least once a week. This can either mean baking a loaf of sourdough bread once a week and there by lowering the level of starter in the jar or it can simply mean pouring out a necessary portion of the mixture to free up space in the jar. To feed the starter add new milk and flour in a ratio of 1:1 at whatever levels you wish to have. Mix it up well and return to the refrigerator.
Try and remove the starter from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to start mixing and baking.
That's all for now then! I'll put an effort toward being more diligent about picture taking and post pictures of new and wonderful experimental loaves!
Does anyone know how to make pictures rotate once they are posted on the blog?
Lookin' for all the help we can get down here at the end of the road...