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Starting Sourdough | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Starting Sourdough

Sourdough starter, day 2photo © 2010 Miles Goodhew | more info (via: Wylio)
Each year, I see families start making friendship bread and discover the sourdough becomes like the sorcerer’s apprentice. They look for people to give starters to and how to handle all that it makes. Then they get tired of it and throw it all out.

Instead of relying on sourdough for only one recipe, why not make a starter, feed it, and incorporate it into varied recipes? In addition to pizza dough, my family likes sourdough coffeecake and bread. Sometimes I make pancakes or biscuits as well. 

Sourdough Basics and Coffeecake

Choose a container to keep your starter. I use a plastic butter tub and mark the lid with a sharpie. Don’t use metal containers or spoons.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk 

Day 1 – mix starter in a large bowl and cover loosely.  (I use plastic bowl and wooden spoon – not metal.)

Days 2, 3, and 4 – stir daily

Day 5 – add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk.  Stir until smooth.

Day 6, 7 and 8 – stir daily

Day 9 – Feed again with 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk.  Stir until smooth.

This ferments and stirring daily stirs it down.  After the dough is built up, you can refrigerate.  You need to take it out every so often and feed it.  I usually take it out of the refrigerator and let it get to room temperature, feed it and then bake it out of it 2-3 days later.  Then feed it and let it work 2-3 days.  After sourdough has fermented, if your budget is tight, feed with 1 part flour and 1 part water.  Example if you use 2 cups starter, replace with 1 ½ cups flour and 1 ½ cups water.  Do not use a metal bowl or spoon.

If your starter starts to grow mold, throw it out. If you see dark liquid pooling on top, that is “hootch.” You can either throw it out or stir it back in.

Sourdough Coffee Cake 

This coffeecake was a staple at my daughter’s preschool. I love the recipe because the ingredients are simple, and it’s easy to make.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup sourdough starter

Mix with hand mixer just until well blended.  Pour into a buttered 9 x 13 inch pan.  Sprinkle on the topping.  Then drizzle melted butter on top.  Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees or until done.

Coffee Cake Topping

  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 T flour
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (optional) 

Mix together.  This is enough topping for 2 coffee cakes unless you like a lot of topping.


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