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The Trials and Tales of Your Sourdough Starters

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Lately, without a sourdough starter to feed and nurture, I've felt a little left out: I can't join the Twitter freak-outs and calls for help, and I can't hire a nanny for it.

So many of you have one of "America's rising pets," as The New York Times put it. And those of you who do are succeeding in your loaf-making—but you're also experimenting and sometimes flubbing, and sometimes (hopefully) rebounding.

I know this because you're chronicling it for all to learn from on our (Not)Recipes app. You're helping each other help your starters along! So in the spirit of panicking together and also learning from each other, we've rounded up some of your sourdough tales here.

Need to know if your starter is looking right? Or to tell a group of eager folks that you made waffles with your starter? Head over to the app! We're looking forward to meeting your starter.


How's your starter going?

What are the bubbles supposed to look like? Is this how I store it? Friends are here to help:

Fd2cbfc9 aa29 4c21 862a 48d72d7bccb1  2016 02 22 00 07 57
Sourdough starter day 5! Lots of bubbles, nice fruity aroma. Been going by instinct and the King Arthur flour guide. The top of my water heater has proven to be a most effective incubator. #sourdough #baking
10f33529 4b42 4db1 bcf3 6ab5e8aced49  2016 02 19 16 07 21
Sarah Marx
Sarah Marx
All it takes is water, flour, salt and sourdough starter. Oh, and about 4 days. With guidance from Ken's Artisan Bakery
52ed4a97 ffaf 49d3 a11e 6b2d411610f8  2016 03 27 15 29 50
2-2.5 cups of flour, 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast, 5 ounces warm water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup of sourdough starter straight from fridge.
1. Dissolve yeast in water and let sit about 5 minutes. Stir in sourdough starter.
2. Stir in flour and salt until shaggy dough forms.
3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until a soft ball of dough is formed that bounces back when lightly poked. About 8-10 minutes of kneading. Sprinkle a few teaspoons of flour onto work surface if dough becomes too sticky. Final texture should be a little less sticky than a well chewed piece of gum. Gross, I know.
4. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise until doubled - about 2 hours.
5. When risen. Grease a loaf pan 8inch by 5 inch or thereabouts)
6. Turn dough out onto work surface and shape into a sandwich loaf - gently flatten dough into a rough rectangle. Fold the dough like a trifold letter using the short sides. Then fold the dough letter in half. Pinch the ends and seam together.
7. Place seam side down in greased loaf pan, cover and let proof for about 1.5 hours or until dough is even with top of pan. Let proof in a warm place ( microwave with light on works well)
8. Preheat oven to 450F.
9. Fill a oven safe cup or bowl about half way with water. Place in oven - this will help with bread crusting well.
10. Slash the top of the bread with a serrated knife (about 3 times). Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400F and continue baking for another 30 minutes.
11. Bake until golden brown on top and the sound is hollow when the bread is tapped on the bottom.
12. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool on wire rack.
13. Enjoy warm or toasted or cooled completely.

Someday, your bread will look like that. (If it doesn't already!)

Oh, all the ways your finished product can go!

4c3f0db1 7d69 4104 ab07 336fa9728e80  2016 03 24 10 37 55
Mushroom Sourdough:

Made a batch of Tartine country bread, but folded in thinly sliced cremini mushrooms during the bench rest and again during the shaping. Baked as usual.
A89d894f 5fcc 4270 b32d 37dcb6cdda88  2016 03 23 14 51 52
Brenda Wang
Brenda Wang
Sourdough baguettes! Made with 100% hydration sourdough starter. #Bread #baking #Sourdough #Sourdoughstarter
5ce6748a 2db7 4f88 b6c8 aed4716b226c  2016 03 23 18 45 20
The Painted Chef
The Painted Chef
Take about 60 grams active #rye #Sourdoughstarter and add 120 ml of warm water and 120 grams bread flour. Mix in bowl. Cover with clothe and leave over night in a warm place. Next morning it should be bubbly. Pour into bowl of #kitchenaid stand mixer. Now add 450 ml water and mix with paddle until combined. Add 1 kg of flour. At least half high gluten bread flour. The rest is your choice plus 8 grams of sea salt. Mix together with paddle at low speed until it come together. Let sit for about 10 minutes or so. Change to dough hook and let run at medium speed for 5 minutes. The dough should be pretty elastic. Remove hook and cover bowl with a clothe and let sit for about an hour in a warm place. The dough should have risen. Now cut the dough in half. With each half you now need to hold the dough in your hands and work the dough down from the sides to the bottom. This will make a round shape. Put each of these into floured proofing baskets and cover with clothe. Let these sit to rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled. Once they have doubled throw the baskets in to the fridge for half an hour and preheat your oven to 250 degrees Celsius with a pizza stone or a baking tray in the middle of the oven. My oven is not huge so I like to remove all other racks. Put a roasting pan on the bottom of the oven. After the half hour remove the dough from the baskets onto a floured peel and place them in the oven. Throw about 2 shots of water onto the roasting pan in the bottom and quickly close the door. Turn he heat down to 220 degrees Celsius and let bake for 35-40 minutes. Take out and let cool on a rack before eating. This #sourdough should be nice and chewy with a beautiful crust and a delicious sour flavor.
Da5fb83e bfeb 47ee bba0 7d8f9cf760d4  2016 03 27 08 43 58
Myrna Stevenot
Myrna Stevenot
Rye-Wheat Sourdough: 30-60g sourdough starter, 70g rye, 100g wheat, 260g white, 8-15g salt. Mix. Add 345g water. Mix until you have a shaggy dough. Let rise in warm place for 12-18 hours. Shape dough into load. Place Dutch oven in oven while preheating to 500. Bake at 500 for 25 min. Take off lid and bake for 10 min. Turn heat down to 450 and bake for another 15-25 min or until crust is dark brown. Recipe credit: my favorite college professor.
53552462 85ac 4528 80b1 7ca144f9f5e1  2016 03 22 09 49 50
Maurizio | the perfect loaf
Maurizio | the perfect loaf
Two #sourdough spelt loaves, testing continues! Made with 30% fresh milled spelt flour, 20% whole wheat and 50% bread flour. 1 hour autolyse, 4 hour bulk at 80F and 15hour proof. #baking
F6dc1080 d73d 43f6 ad04 cea1b2634bb4  2016 03 02 20 05 29
From scratch #rye #sourdough from my 2 week old starter. Very sour, good chew, good crust. Pretty proud of those air bubbles. Still working on getting the rise just right, but this is a more than edible mistake!

Bread and waffles and, and, and...

Make waffles with your starter. Tortillas, pancakes, and muffins, too!

Accb7fb0 b203 4563 afbf 9d4a194f7021  2016 03 03 15 58 12
Sarah Marx
Sarah Marx
Mix together some unfed/discarded sourdough starter, 1 c flour and 1 c buttermilk. Let sit overnight. In the morning mix in an egg, 1/4 c oil or melted butter and 1 tsp baking soda. Yields deliciously crispy waffles with an airy interior.
81295331 2c56 40d0 aacd 8478332b0cea  2016 03 27 10 51 39
Overnight Sourdough Waffles! Leftover starter, white whole wheat flour, AP flour, buttermilk, sugar. In am add salt, baking soda, melted butter, separate eggs, beat whites fluffy, vanilla, cinnamon. Stir it up!
470f879e 8f4d 457d 88b3 710e783d0a3e  2016 03 27 10 54 07
Melina Hammer
Melina Hammer
Sourdough #waffles and spring fruit #compote!
Use discard starter and combine with buttermilk, whole wheat, and a spoonful of brown sugar. Let sit on counter, loosely covered, overnight (the "sponge").
Whisk melted butter, a beaten egg, and vanilla extract and stir all together. Make waffles and serve with fruit cooked in a little Grand Marnier, lemon peel, and a spoonful of sugar. Hubba. #breakfast #easter #easy #nocontest #norecipe #notarecipe #vegetarian #healthy #lickingtheplate

Do you have a starter in the works? Tell us how you're doing it on the (Not)Recipes app!

Tags: (not)recipes, sourdough starters, levain