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Quick-Start Sourdough Breads

Quick-Start Sourdough

Think sourdough breads can only be made by professional bakers or by using pricey sourdough starters? Think again. Flour, water, and a little quick-rising yeast can yield the complex flavors of sourdough in just a few days if you follow the quick-start method.

These recipes rely on a three-day sourdough starter, then an overnight sponge (the starter mixed with flour, liquid, and a sweetener to feed it) that allows the dough to fully absorb liquid and develop gluten, the protein structure giving wheat-based bread doughs the springy, chewy texture everyone loves.

5 Tips for Sourdough Success

1. Plan ahead. It takes two to three days for the Shortcut Sourdough Starter to ripen and develop flavor. If it isn't bubbly or has an off aroma, discard and start over.

2. Check the temperature. If your starter sits in a space that's warmer than room temperature (72°-74°F) it may require more flour and less water to ferment; cooler temperatures slow development, which may require an extra day of fermenting.

3. Make feedings work for you. Sourdough starter should be fed at roughly 12-hour intervals, but you don't have to set your alarm clock. Instead, find times that work best for you—say, just after breakfast and just after dinner.

4. Keep it going. Store extra starter in the fridge, discarding half and feeding it equal parts flour and water once a week. For example, if you have 1/4 cup starter, stir in no more than 1/4 cup each flour and water. Increase this amount incrementally over time.

5. Experiment! Sourdough starters are a matter of taste and preference. Experiment with different types of flours and allow them to develop over longer and shorter periods of time to find your favorites.

Comments on this Article

For sourdough, ask anuord and see if any of your friends have a starter living in their fridge or cupboard. This is a mix of flour, water, natural yeast and bacteria that makes sourdough turn sour and rise.You use some of it to make dough, and feed some more flour and water to the remainder and it re-grows. It's like having a very boring pet you can eat.Some people call it Amish Friendship Bread instead of sourdough. You can also buy a kit to make the starter on the internet.Once you have a nice living starter, you can check the internet for recipes.The basic recipe for sourdough is to use a regular bread recipe but substitute 1 cup starter for 1/2 cup each of the flour and water, and leave out the yeast. Quadruple the rising time, and make sure it has a nice warm place to rise. Mine rises on top of my stereo amplifier.