The idea is wonderful: you send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with a request for the starter and, if you’re feeling generous, an optional donation. You’ll get a small plastic bag with about a tablespoon of powdery stuff. So, it’s best that you label your envelope “just sourdough starter/not anthrax spores” in case it starts to leak or something.
I tried reactivating the on a Thursday. After not seeing bubbles on Friday morning, I got a little bit impatient. I stirred in a tablespoon of potato starge and let the starter set in a warm (90°F) oven for a few hours. It had awakened very noticably.
The first recipe I tried was the sourdough pancakes:
Sourdough Hotcakes recipe from Carl’s Friends
1/2 C starter
1 1/4C water
1 C flour
1 T sugar
1/4 t salt
2 T oil
1 t baking soda
- Mix water, flour and starter and let sit out on the counter overnight.
- The next morning, add the eggs, sugar, salt, flour, and oil.
- Since the mixture is slightly acidic, you’ll stir in the baking soda last.
- Cook until brown on each side
The pancakes are light and airy. They don’t have the sourdough “kick” that I expected, but there is a slight, pleasantly fermented taste. The recipe’s rapidly become a household favorite, and I’ve made four batches in a week and a half.
The bread recipe (below) was well-received, though it had a very uniform texture. I want to work on my technique so I can get the randomly-sized bubbles similar to the ones in artisan breads. (I think it may have to do with not kneading it a second time.) Suggestions are welcomed.
Alaskan Sourdough bread – adapted from Carl’s Friends
(Makes two loaves.)
1 C Sourdough starter
4 T olive oil
1 t Baking soda
7 1/2 C Bread flour
2 1/2 C Warm Water
1/2 C Sugar
1 T Salt
2 T kosher salt for topping (optional)
- Combine starter, all the water, and 3 c flour the night before and place in warm, draft free place.
- The next morning add other ingredients and knead till smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl in warm place and let rise to double.
- Knead down again, shape into loaves and place into greased pans. Optionally top with kosher salt. Let rise to top of pan plus a little more
- Place a pan with 1″ of water on the bottommost rack. This will create a steamy environment that gives the crust more texture. Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Bake for about an hour (time will vary; check it at 50 minutes) until done. The bread will sound hollow when thumped.
- Turn out on racks, cover with dish cloth and let cool.