Brown Rice Sourdough starter
Getting to grips with making a sourdough starter for making a sourdough loaf has honestly been a huge challenge for me, I had to work really hard to get my head around what I needed to do to make this successful.
I am wondering is it just me or are there other people out there equally challenged by the mysteries of sourdough?.
Well I did get it sorted much to my surprise and went on to make the most delicious sourdough loaf, so I just had to get this one up on the blog before the whole process eludes me again.
You will need to use brown rice flour or a mix of brown and white but not white alone as this recipe uses the yeast inherent in brown rice to create the starter.
It will take 5 days in a warm place to get ready then you will be able to bake a loaf. The water you use will need to be chlorine free such as mineral water or filtered water, chlorinated tap water will inhibit the fermentation process. To warm the water to tepid I simply poured my water into a measuring jug and stood it in hot water for a couple of minutes. Once the starter is made you will be able to keep it in the fridge until you ready to bake again at which point you will need to feed it again
150g brown rice flour
200g tepid mineral water or filtered water
a small bunch of unwashed organic red or black grapes
Place the above ingredients into a bowl that can be covered with a polythene bag or a plate and left in a warm place such as an airing cupboard or a warm kitchen, leaving approximately 1/2″ gap for air to circulate. Do not use a glass dish with a tight fitting lid as gasses may cause it to crack.
When I did mine I didn’t put the grapes in loose the first day and it did not ferment well so I left them in a second day, after I added the loosened the grapes it began to ferment.
45g brown rice flour
60g tepid mineral or filtered water
Lift out the grapes and discard. Stir the mixture well, add the flour and water and stir again, re-cover for 24 hours.
I washed my grapes off in the water I was about to add and did it that way
I found feeding my starter at lunch time everyday was convenient for me, I don’t have an airing cupboard so I left my starter next to the cooker and this reminded me to feed it.
45g brown rice flour
60g tepid mineral or filtered water
Stir the mixture, add the flour and tepid water, stir again, re-cover and leave 24 hours.
At this point my starter was doing very well and had a nice bubbly head, as it should do.
90g brown rice flour
120g tepid mineral or filtered water
Stir, add the flour and water, stir again, re-cover .
This is where I really didn’t pay enough attention to adding tepid water and as a result the following day , day 5, my starter was flat and I ended up on the 5th day instead of my starter being ready to go I had to repeat day 3 again, adding a teaspoon of natural yoghurt to the mix to give it a boost and wait another 24 hours for the fermenting process to kick in again.
Day 5 ( for me it was actually day 7 as I had had to re- do day 1 with the grapes, taking them off the stalk and giving the mix a good stir this time, and day 4 as well, as I had let the mix get too cool and it had stopped fermenting).
So at this point on day 5 if all’s gone well the starter will have been standing for 24 hours since the day before and should be nicely bubbling away, it is now ready to make bread with.
In order to actually make bread you will need to take the required amount from the starter as stated by your recipe e.g. 200g of it and you will be adding your other flours and ingredients to this, the remainder is kept in the fridge until needed to make a new loaf. This will then need to be refreshed on the day you plan to bake, with 75g of brown rice flour and 100g of tepid filtered or mineral water and brought up to room temperature at least an hour before it is needed or until it looks moussey by standing in warm water or I used a winemaking heat tray. The above mentioned quantity will make one loaf.
Doing it like this will leave enough starter each time to keep in the fridge for upto two weeks between feeds, any longer than this you will need to freeze it and defrost when needed, it will be slower fermenting after freezing so allow a couple of days at room temperature for it to get going again, if it still seems weak refresh with a little live yoghurt or a few grapes and keep at room temperature for 4 days until revived, then it can be kept in the fridge again and refreshed in the usual way before baking. When storing in a fridge use either a plastic container with a cover or a kilner jar without a sealing ring. I originally used a pyrex dish with a plastic lid, but found out this is not advisable due to the danger of gasses building up, oops!.Thankfully I had not been sealing my starter with the lid only resting it on top, phew!.
To recap this bit because it took a while for me to really understand the quantities etc at this part of the process.
Once I have my starter sitting in a kilner jar in the fridge on the day I want to make a loaf I take this starter out of the fridge and add 75g of brown rice flour and 100g of tepid water to it, give it a stir and leave in a warm place, then when it is all bubbly approximately an hour, if my recipe says 200g of starter I weigh out the 200g and put the remainder back in my kilner jar and keep in the fridge until next time.
I then add the rest of my flours and water as per the recipe I am using to my 200g of starter, and I will blog that recipe next blog.
The first time I made the bread though I was surprised that once I had added the flours to my starter I had to wait another 2-4 hours in a warm place, (for me it took the 4 hours) this bit is called making the sponge, it is the bit before you add the yeast and after letting that stand 15 minutes you will add all the extra bits like butter, cider vinegar, ground linseed if using, etc.
Once in the pan it will sit again for for another 1 1/2 hours. As you can see those bread pan liners are really useful for this type of baking. I didn’t think at this stage I was doing it right I was distinctly underwhelmed with the appearance of the bread mix, but i’m so annoyed with myself that I forgot to get a picture after that because excitingly it rose and rose and rose and spilled out over the edges!. I saved the excess and popped it into two little pans.