Dustin and I experimented with creating our own sourdough starter from scratch.
We’ve always been intrigued by making sourdough bread. And, when I say intrigued, I mean we have talked about it for years but have never done anything about it.
We ran across this sourdough starter recipe from Pinch My Salt and figured we’d give it a shot.
Now, you know me and baking bread – I tend to get a little intimidated. But, then I always come to realize, it’s really not that scary.
Creating a sourdough starter from scratch was pretty exciting. Dustin and I would get a kick out of coming home from work and seeing that our starter had grown from earlier that morning.
In addition to being kinda fun, the whole process of making your sourdough starter is actually quite simple. All you gotta do is give it some love and attention. You will have to feed it on a daily basis – sometimes twice daily — so be prepared.
But, just follow these simple instructions and you’ll be on your way to successfully making your own sourdough starter and to making delicious sourdough bread in your own home.
How to Make a Sourdough Starter
Original recipe and directions from Pinch My Salt
In a small bowl, mix one cup of whole wheat flour with 3/4 cup (6 oz) filtered water (bottled) at room temperature until all of the flour is hydrated. Scrape mixture into a wide-mouth glass container, such as a jar. Mark the level of the starter with a piece of tape or rubber band. Cover the container with a paper towel r cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
You probably won’t notice much change at this point. Scrape the contents of the jar into a mixing bowl using a spatula and add 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose or unbleached bread flour plus 1/2 cup filtered water (make sure at room temperature). Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Wash and dry your glass container and scrape the mixture into the container. Mark and cover the container just like day one. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
You may notice some activity at this point. The mixture may have risen some and there might be bubbles. Regardless of whether you notice any fermentation or not, discard half of the mixture (or give it to a friend to cultivate) and mix the remaining half with 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose or bread flour and 1/2 cup filtered water (make sure water is room temperature). Wash and dry your container and scrape the mixture into the container. Mark and cover as before. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
The mixture should have at least doubled in size at this point. If it seems to be sluggish and hasn’t doubled in size, allow it to sit at room temperature for another 12 to 24 hours. Otherwise, repeat instructions for Day three.
Feed the starter (repeating Day 3 instructions) first thing in the morning and then again in the evening (about 12 hours apart).
If your starter has been very active and always doubles in size (or more) between feedings, then your starter is ready to bake with. You may also choose to refrigerate your starter at this point and slow down the feedings to once a week. If your starter still seems a little sluggish, continue with the twice daily feedings as above.
Same as Day 6.
Well, hello out there…again!
So, remember way back in January when I posted about Dustin’s amazing burgers? Well, have you tried ‘em yet? I hope so. If you have, please feel free to share how it went. I always love reading your comments.
In said burger post, I mentioned my plan to share an easy to make fries recipe. Take-home here: If you have not tried that burger recipe yet, here’s a great side to make along with it.
‘Cuz, really, what on earth goes better with a burger than fries?
We wanted to go-to fries recipe that allowed us a tasty, quick-ish side to compliment the burgers. And we found it!
Our first variation of these fries, garlic fries, definitely made it to the “Man-I-wish-I-took-pictures-of-this-recipe-so-I-could-share-on-the-blog” list. Ah well, guess I’ll have to make them again soon while actually taking some photos to share.
For these fries, I use a deep fryer, but you can also use a deep, sturdy pot to do the trick, assuming you can monitor the temperature relatively easily — with a candy or fry thermometer, some other device or just plain winging it. Totally up to you.
This Simple Fries recipe is, well, fairly simple. You know me and simple: We are buds…especially when it produces tasty homemade fries!
Oh! For a delish sauce to dip these buggers in, try this Ranch Dressing Recipe.
Props to Joy the Baker for the helpful tips behind this recipe
3 large Russet potatoes, un-peeled (‘cuz we’re going easy)
1 quart – 1 gallon peanut oil (enough to fill a deep fryer or large pot)
kosher salt, to taste
ground black pepper
Slice each potato lengthwise into 1/4-inch (or slightly larger, if you like steak-type fries) slices. Then, stack those slices together and slice across again with the same measurement to make the fries.
After you cut the potatoes into fries, place into a large bowl of cool water to help remove the starch off the surface of the potatoes so they don’t stick together during frying.
Pour enough peanut oil to fill the deep fryer to the desired level or a heavy bottom, deep pan. If you are using a pan and not a fryer, attach the thermometer to the pan so that it touches the oil. Heat over medium heat until oil reaches 250 degrees F. If using a deep fryer, set to the same temperature.
While you’re waiting for the oil to heat, prepare two baking sheets with several layers of paper towel and set aside.
When the oil reaches 250 degrees F, carefully drop small batches (about 10-15) of potatoes to the hot oil. Fry until cooked though, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oil using a pair of tongs or metal slotted spoon and allow to cool on the prepared paper towels. If using a wire rack from the deep fryer, just make sure to remove as much of the hot oil as possible before transferring to the baking sheet. Continue until all of the fries are cooked.
Once the fries have cooled to room temperature, heat the same oil to 350 degrees F. Add the already-cooked fries in small batches again. Gently stir until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove fries from the oil and place on the remaining lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with kosher salt and ground black black pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.
As always, I want to thank you for visiting. I welcome your comments, questions, recipe suggestions and food stories. Here's to doing what you love!
Remember a while ago when I wrote a post on a great burger place in Austin called Collie’s? Well, sadly, they closed down a couple months ago. Their lot is going to be turned into apartment homes or a parking structure or something not nearly as cool.
Frankly, I find amazing burgers more appetizing than modern downtown apartments, but that’s just me.
We had become so accustomed to getting a delicious burger any time we wanted. Then, it was gone.
So Dustin decided to learn how to make an awesome burger at home. While we’ve made cheeseburgers before at home, they’ve never been amazing. Until now.
Probably not a shock to you, but for my burgers, I like all the fixins — lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, cheese, bacon, mayo, mustard and ketchup. Yup.
But, then I tried Dustin’s amazing homemade burger with just meat, cheese and mayo and I was hooked.
It’s so good, I didn’t even miss all the toppings!
One of the tricks to the amazing burger is the bun. He spreads a *healthy* portion of butter along the inside and cooks them on a hot griddle until they’re golden brown.
This gives the burger a nice, rich crunch to it. So good!
(And, yes, that little patty right there is for one of the kiddos.)
The next trick is to use ground chuck, not ground beef. Ground chuck has the right amount of fat to it to make a juicy burger. You can also try using part brisket or tri tip with the chuck for more flavor.
If you’re looking for an easy, delicious and dependable burger at home, here it is. Collie’s, we miss you, but we’re making it through.
(Those fries right there will be my next post!)
Awesome Homemade Burgers
Makes 6-8 burgers
1 lb. ground chuck (can substitute 1/2 pound ground tri tip or brisket for more flavor)
6-8 Hamburger buns
3-5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
Optional toppings: mayonnaise, sliced cheese (American, cheddar, whatever you like), ketchup, mustard, sliced tomatoes, lettuce leaves, sliced dill pickles, bacon, avocado, sautéed onions, etc.
Heat an outdoor grill to medium heat (or, use a griddle or fry pan, though this is MUCH messier). We have a three zone grill and Dustin heats the back two zones on high and the front zone on medium-low.
Divide the ground chuck into 4 oz portions (roughly 1/2 cup, see photo above) using a scale. Using two sheets of wax paper (or one large sheet, folded in half), gently press the meat into a round patty — the thinner, the better. Once they start cooking, they will plumpen up. And, yes, “plumpen” is a completely new word I just created. Set aside and repeat for rest of the parties.
Once all patties are formed, lightly season with kosher salt and ground black pepper.
Once grill is hot, place the patties on the hot zone of the grill. Do not close the lid and let cook for 3-5 minutes. Flip the patties and cook another 3-5 minutes, uncovered, on the high zone. Then, flip the patties once more but also move to the medium-low zone. Cover and cook patties until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F, about 3-5 minutes. Once patties are at 160 degrees F, add cheese slices, if using cheese, and cover an additional minute to let melt. Quickly remove the patties from the grill and let sit 3 minutes before serving.
Once the burger reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, the burger will no longer be medium rare, but will still be juicy. This will roughly be a medium done burger. Cooking any longer will make the burger dryer.
For the buns, on a flat griddle or fry pan, heat on medium-high to high heat. Generously spread the softened butter along the inside of each bun. Set, butter side down, on pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, until golden brown. Once ready, remove from pan and set aside.
Prepare the burger as you wish using the optional toppings listed above. We really enjoy a simple combo of mayo, cheese and sliced avocado. So simple. So good.