Sourdough is a mixture of water and flour which is then left out to ferment. For thousands of years this was the only way people knew how to make bread. This technique captures wild yeast and beneficial lactic acid bacteria from the surrounding environment, which are then used to raise the dough.
As touched on above, sourdough contains a Lactobacillus culture in symbiotic combination with natural yeasts. This is one of the principal means of biological leavening used in bread baking. Other methods of leavening now use cultivated forms of yeast, allowing for mass production of baked goods.
On a side note; levain is the French word for sourdough and it’s a term preferred by some since not all sourdough is sour. The French term for sourdough bread is pain au levain.
Sourdough begins with a good starter. After making your initial starter it can be fed once a week and you can basically keep it going indefinitely. There are families who’ve kept their starter going for generations.
If you want to learn more about sourdough bread and how you can make your very own starter, I would recommend heading over here: Beginners Guide
Now let me tell you a little about how things went down for me when I tried making some sourdough bread. I think I definitely need to give it another shot.
It all started one day a couple years back. I had it in my mind that I wanted to learn more about the art of baking. I could have started with something simple like biscuits, but no. I decided to bypass the simple and try my hand at a more advanced technique. That’s right, sourdough bread. Unfortunately, I don’t think the bread fairies took too kindly to me.
For the first six months or so, I was feeding my starter on a regular basis, but then I kind of forgot about it for a long time and now quite frankly I’m scared to check on it. I don’t know what it will look like.
I’m guessing it’s either going to look like crude oil, or play host to some strange alien creature that’s going to pop out and scare me half to death if I ever left the lid.
So I’m going to link the two posts I did in which I documented how my adventures in sourdough bread making went. Take a look at the published date of the posts below…
I Hate to admit it, but I haven’t fed my sourdough starter since the date of that second post. It’s still just (pardon the pun) chilling in a covered plastic tub in the back of my refrigerator to this very day. At this point, I’d say my starter has transitioned into a state of scientific oddity.
When I finally gather the courage to check on my starter, I will in all likelihood immediately toss it in the trash and begin again from scratch. So if you’ve learned anything from this post, don’t be like me. Don’t be that guy that doesn’t feed his starter. It’s unprofessional.