Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mother Starter Success!

I actually read the directions this time and managed to create a successful mother starter.  The trick was not to put it by the window :)~  Here are the instructions for creating a purist mother starter:

Seed Culture
Phase 1:
In a small glass or plastic bowl, combine 1/4 c. filtered water or unsweetened pineapple juice with 3 1/2 T. whole wheat or unbleached white flour. (I used filtered water and white whole wheat flour).

Cover the seed culture with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature for two days.  Come back and stir the culture with a wet spoon two to three times each day.  I kept track or my stirring by writing on the plastic wrap with a permanent marker.

Phase 2:
Add 3 1/2 T. flour (white or whole wheat) plus 2 T. filtered water and stir to combine.  Put the plastic wrap back on and let sit at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours or until mixture becomes very bubbly (It kind of looks like a pancake around flipping time).  Again, make sure to stir the mixture 2 to 3 times each day with a wet spoon.

Phase 3:
Add 7 T. flour plus 2 T. filtered water and stir with a spoon.  Place the mixture into a larger bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the mixture sit for 24 to 48 hours making sure to come back at least twice a day to sitr the mixture with a wet spoon (this process aerates it and makes sure that mold doesn't form).

The mixture should be very bubbly and expanded after after 48 hours.  If it does not do this, wait another day or two, continuing to stir a couple times per day.  If your house is very warm, it could take less than 24 hours.  If it does, move to the next phase immediately.

Phase 4:
Seperate the seed culture into two 1/2 c. portions.  Throw half away or give it to a friend :)  Add 10 1/2 T. flour plus 2 T. water to 1/2 c. seed starter.  Cover with plastic wrap, let sit for 4 to 24 hours until it doubles in size.  If your starter doesn't rise after 24 hours, let it sit at room temperature until it does and aerate twice per day.

At this point, you can either turn the seed culture into a mother starter or place it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Mother Starter
Split the seed culture into two equal portions again (each portion should be about 3/4 c.).  Throw out half of the seed or give it away to a friend, or save it to make a backup mother starter.

Combine 2 3/4 c. flour, 1 c. water, and 3/4 c. of the seed starter together in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Mix on low until it forms a smooth ball.

Place the starter in a clean, lightly oiled nonreactive container.  I used a ziplock gallon bag, make sure not to close the bag completely so the gas can escape.  Leave the starter out at room temperature for 4 to 8 hours or until it has doubled in size.

Degas the starter by kneading it a little.  Close the bag completely, or cover tightly and place in the refrigerator.  After a few hours, release any gas that may have built up.

Refreshing the Mother Starter
The starter will be good for up to 5 days.  After that, you would have to refresh it.  The easiest way is to take 4 ounces of the starter and repeat the mother starter instructions above.

Good luck!  I will post some recipes for the starter in the next couple of days.

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