PROSPECT HILL FORGE: The Blacksmithing Classroom When
BLACK
LIVES
MATTER

only then will all lives matter.

Many of the features of this website use JavaScript. Your browser either doesn't support Javascript, or you have it disabled. You will need Javascript enabled to view our complete class descriptions or use our otherwise convenient registration and email links.

If you'd rather, you can reach us directly by phone:
Mike - 617 230 9572 or Carl - 781 608 0900


No-Waste Sourdough Procedure

(Not blacksmithing at all, but there's curiosity about sourdough and I spent a while working this process out, so I'd like to share it.
Since discovering that I was gluten-intolerant I've largely left-off making bread, but this procedure is what I used for many years.)

Many sourdough starter maintenance procedures have you keep it out on the counter and fuss with it every few days, throwing away half of it every time.
Those plans always struck me as incredibly wasteful, and I wondered if the authors were in collusion with Big Flour, trying to get us to waste their product and have to buy more. Big Flour is a thing... right...?

Anyway, this was my answer.

Note:This is my whole answer. I know nothing about volume measures, different flours, different ovens... none of that.
This is a rather accurate description of what I used to do (written back when I was doing it). Your kitchen and equipment will be different.

Maintaining the starter

I've managed to cut my starter waste to near zero.

I keep mine in a 1# peanut butter jar and use it straight out of the fridge .
I dump out what'll come out of the jar easily and use it to make bread or whatever.
I usually get about 1 C of starter.

Into the jar I put 1/3 C each of flour and filtered water.
Tighten the lid.
Shake it up. (no stirring tool to clean)
Loosen the lid, leave it out while the bread rises.
When it's time to bake, I feed the now-active starter another 1/3 C each of flour and water.
Tighten the lid.
Shake it up.
Loosen the lid, put it in the fridge.

Repeat the next time bread is needed.

I only dump starter when it's been a very long time in the fridge. (more than a couple weeks)
Then I treat it as if I'd baked, and I'm back on schedule by the next day.

I figure I'm slowing the mu-orgs at the height of their activity and 'putting them to sleep' while they're at their most and best, and when they 'wake up', they're surrounded by cleaner water and fresher food and thus resume activity rather quickly. My theory may be flawed but the practice is working pretty well for me. Note I keep a 1/3 Cup measure in the flour and another one is always inverted on the lid of the Brita Pitcher

My daily bread

This is an intimate step-by-step description of how I make the bread I use for sandwiches and toast, it's nothing very adventurous, just white sourdough pan-bread.

In the evening:

Clean the counter
Get the scale out and put the 13 quart mixing bowl on it
Set the scale to 0
Add 1.5 pounds of Sir Lancelot Hi-Gluten flour
Add ~2 teaspoons of Salt
Add Starter (see above)
Add water to bring total weight to 2.75 pounds
Feed starter
Put the scale away
Lightly butter hands
Mix the ingredients by hand until it's one lump
Take it out and knead it on the counter for ~5 minutes
Clean hands
Take out loaf pan, lightly butter the inside
Form loaf
Slash it
Put it in the pan
Put the damp sponge from wiping the counter next to the loaf pan
Invert the mixing bowl over both, rotate bowl until best seal is made with counter
Put the starter jar on top of the mixing bowl so I don't forget it in the morning
Go to bed

 
With my starter it takes about 8-9 hours to rise at room temperature so...
In the morning:

Turn on the electric oven to ~400
When the _elements_ are glowing put the bread in
Feed the starter again and put it in the fridge
Set the timer for 30 minutes
Use the sponge to clean the mixing bowl
Wait for the bread to come out.

Have a nice slice for me, eh?

- Carl West, Blacksmith