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I checked The starter that I dug out about one week later - a nasty shade of blackish grey, and smelled a bit mouldy. I chucked it. Will have to make a new one. I think Elaine found the reason - I had used boiled kettle water because I ran out of bottled water. I've bought some distilled water until I replace my filter machine.
Black mould around the edges of the bowl in the starter bowl. Ew.
Scraped the top of it off, dug some out with a spoon into a fresh bowl, and have put it in the fridge, covered with a teatowel. What's a good way/ container for fridge storage? I assume air tight is not OK? 
Can I use this salvaged starter or do I have to start again? ...




It's good! Not fluffy, kind of hard, but light and airy, and it tastes delicious. 


This the starter after I took a cup of it out for the bread, and then stirred fresh rye flour and water into it to replace what I took. Bubbling within minutes.

This is the starter plus three cups of flour (1 each white, rye and wholemeal), before I left it to rise overnight.


Then I took that risen starter dough, added another three cups of white flour to it, kneaded it for 15 minutes, then shaped it and left it to rise in the tin (dusted with polenta) overnight.


Arabella then specifies to put it in a cold oven, turn it on, and bake for a further 45 minutes after it reaches 180 degrees - so about 1 hour from when you turn the oven on. It's meant to rise a bit more, but it didn't seem to. Here's what it looks like fresh from the oven.


But the moment of truth...wait 15 minutes, and then look inside...

Looks good...!

Tastes great :)  Almost exactly like that mass produced Karl's Bakery Special Rye or Hausbrot you can buy in supermarkets. Will have to add caraway seeds next time :)


Very satisfying too. Not like normal bread at all. Lasts heaps longer. 





First I practised on hand mixed bread. I've tried packet mixes. There are multigrain, sourdough and wholemeal packet mixes available at my local supermarket. The ones I've tried all worked very well and the ingredients are reasonably edible considering these mixes are a mass produced and distributed product. I've tried making my own mix out of white (I was shopping challenged) baker's flour, instant yeast and bread improver.


This picture is the make-your-own version, as per the recipe on my big 5kg bag of baker's flour - I think it was Laucke Wallaby brand. 


Then I followed Nigella Lawson's recipe for making sourdough starter and a sourdough loaf. She cheats though - she adds a pinch of dried yeast to the starter, and the rest of the sachet to the bread mix - so basically it's just a festy yeast bread, not a 'real' sourdough.



So now I'm going for the real deal, because I want to be able to create proper, gorgeous, chewy, wholesome, holey sourdough with things like soaked soy grits and bourghul in it - i.e. bread my children will flat out refuse to eat in their school lunches.  That's OK with me - I've got home-made jam to get through ;)


So I'm using Arabella Forge's recipe for making your own sourdough starter (from her book 'Frugavore'  -see Note that the name refers to frugal, not fruit - a fruitarian is a frugivore with an 'i').


Here, I took photos of the recipe - but I highly recommend the book. Did you know, for instance, that you should remove the gills when making fish stock? I didn't. I'd like to know why actually...does anyone know? Because I made some recently, from the carcass of a bream I caught, and I didn't take the gills out first. Is it a taste thing? If I make paella with it will I poison myself? ;)



I've been feeding the starter goo as per her instructions for about 8 days now, and it has good bubbles, like honeycomb, as she stipulates I must achieve (I waited two extra days for good bubbles - things improved after I moved my ceramic pudding basin onto the windowsill - I think it might have been too cold on the kitchen bench - it's cold here). I do not feel entirely confident, but I am pressing on.


So I have taken the plunge and mixed the starter in with some flour. This will hopefully be my first proper sourdough loaf. I will now leave it to fester (are you going to eat that? heh heh), sitting on the windowsil, until tomorrow. Actually, my 'windowsill' is a half bookcase sitting next to the living room window. I've used 1 cup of white baker's flour, one cup of organic wholemeal (I finally made the trip into town to a health food shop who have lovely sacks of flour-type goodness), and 1 cup of organic rye flour. The starter was made with rye flour.


Note, you have to use filtered or tank water - the chlorine in tap water kills the starter. I can't get to our tank water (I suppose I could get it out of the top of the cistern, but that's just ew), and I gave my water filter away when we moved, so I bought hideous, environmental disaster bottled water. Will have to sort that out.



So we shall see....I'll keep you updated.

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Comment by Scarlett on May 26, 2011 at 13:55
"Frugavore" by Arabella Forge. See
Comment by Lissa on May 26, 2011 at 4:47
Which book ladies?
Comment by Addy on May 25, 2011 at 23:10
Thank you for taking us on a very enjoyable journey, Scarlett!
Comment by Scarlett on May 25, 2011 at 23:04

I made the Irish Stew with lamb necks the other day. It was amazingly delicious, and the three lamb neck chops (she says use two but there are three in a neck) cost $3.70... 

Her cauliflower bacon recipe was a hit with the family too. Great book :)

Comment by Scarlett on May 14, 2011 at 22:23

ooh yes!! i ran out of the bottled water and used boiled water from the kettle! that will be it. thanks Elaine.


have bought a big container of distilled water for the moment, whilst investigating water filters again. 

Comment by Lissa on May 13, 2011 at 17:56

Great blog as usual Scarlett - always informative and funny :)

There was a period when I used to make all my own bread way-back-when, in the olden days, when I wasn't coeliac. I used to bake weekly a couple of loaves, which would feed three kids and two adults.

I used to make a lot of cakes, pancakes, scones and pikelets too. I don't miss them exactly and there are GF options, but it's just not the same and the kids are grown up so there's no hungry mouths open and pointed in my direction all the time!

Lovely to see the knowledge being used and the mouthwatering end result. Sigh.



Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 13, 2011 at 16:35
We've bought the organic Rye flour and some stoneground whole-wheat to start on the Sourdough journey. I wanted to know the benefits and have found some and a wealth of info including probable answers to your questions of today Scarlett here.
Comment by Scarlett on May 13, 2011 at 15:26

Arabella says:

" During the leavening process, the healthy lactobacilli in the starter create an acidic environment, which ferments or pre-digests the proteins in the flour. Phytic acid, an 'anti-nutrient' that inhibits the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, is broken down during this process, as are protease inhibitrs, which interfere with the digestion of proteins such as gluten. Anecdotally, many people who cannot tolerate commerically made bread find they have no trouble digesting traditionally made loaves. Sourdough bread also has a lower glycaemic index than conventionally made bread. It is usually thicker and heavier, which means you feel full after only a few slices. If you buy ready made bread, keep in mind that sourdough is much better value for money; in nutritional terms, one loaf of sourdough is equivalent to two loaves of conventional bread - it will fill you up more quickly and contains a greater range of important nutrients."

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 11, 2011 at 20:43
I'd love to know more about the benefits of using sourdough as a leven rather than just Baker's yeast. Does it give the bread more nutrition for instance? Or does it do something to the chemistry of the grains making them more digestable? Or ... ?
Comment by Scarlett on May 11, 2011 at 14:00

that sounds great - ok, will keep that in mind re wholemeal for the starter

yes, they don't pay GST. I just pay extra anyway in our local independent bookstores (Avid Reader was my fave in Brisbane) because they're boosting the local economy in a triple bottom line sort of way -

yes, i can see i will be on this journey for a while until i get good at it. it's something i'm looking forward to :D  thankyou, you too :)

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