Potato Water Sourdough Starter (Airborne Yeast Method)

  • 2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 2 cups cool potato water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey

Mix flour, potato water (what is left over after you boil potatoes), and sugar or honey together until mixture is spongy. Let it sit for 24 hours in a plastic or glass container. The starter is ready when the mixture bubbles, smells yeasty and has doubled in size. If the mixture molds or smells bad, then it has not captured the wild yeast from the air; throw it away and start over.
The sourdough gets better after a few days in the refrigerator. As you use it and feed it, it will taste even better. Sourdough also can be frozen and thawed out before using.

Converting Recipes to Sourdough

Any recipe that calls for yeast can be converted to sourdough by adding ½ cup of sourdough starter in place of one tablespoon of yeast and decreasing the liquid by ½ cup and the flour by the ½ cup in the recipe. The secret is to keep the consistency and moisture about the same. Mix the starter into the liquid called for in the recipe, add some of the flour, and stir. This conversion will work for any recipe that calls for 6 or more cups of flour.
When adding sourdough, first make the “sponge” by combining the starter, the water, and the flour from the recipe. Let this sponge sit in a bowl at room temperature for at least 4 hours. If you want a more potent sour flavor, let it stand overnight (the longer it sits, the sourer the flavor). Next, combine the remaining ingredients and proceed with the recipe. Then knead, rise, and shape the dough as usual.
If you are making batter bread or cakes, it’s a good idea to let your batter sit in the pan for a while so it has time to bubble up and activate the sourdough.

Sourdough Whole Wheat Pancakes

  • cup sourdough starter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups warm milk (or ½ cup powdered milk reconstituted with 2 cups warm water)
  • 2 beaten eggs (or 5 tablespoons dried whole egg powder reconstituted with 5
  • tablespoons water)
  • 2 to 2½ cups whole wheat flour (freshly ground)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup melted butter or olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

Mix sourdough starter, honey, warm milk, and beaten eggs in a bowl. In another bowl, mix flour and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Because this is a sourdough recipe, the mixture will need to stand in the refrigerator overnight to activate the sourdough. The next morning, add ¼ cup melted butter or olive oil and ½ teaspoon baking soda. Mix batter well and fry pancakes on a lightly oiled skillet or frying pan. Makes ten 5-inch pancakes.

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