A recipe for Sourdough starter from The Moro cook book
- 1 bunch of red (preferably organic) grapes
- 500 g Unbleached white strong flour (preferably organic)
- 1 litre of water.
Tie the grapes in a piece of muslin, or any old bit of white cotton, then crush with a rolling pin. Mix the flour and water together in a large plastic container, with a lid, Squeeze some of the juice from the grapes into this mix, and then lower the whole muslin bag in.
(I used about 100g of Rye flour and 400 of White). Leave this mix in a room temperature dark place for between 10 days and 2 weeks. The muslin bag will then look slightly inflated as the grapes have begun to ferment. Take the muslin bag out of the (now disgusting) mix squeeze in any remaining juice, discard the grapes. Now give the flour mixture a good stir. It may smell sour and unpleasant.
Now you will need to feed this mix twice a day for two weeks, about 12 hours apart.
First discard about 200ml of the mixture, this may seem wasteful, but trust me if you don’t you will be over run with sourdough starter. Then mix in 100g of flour and 150ml of water. After two weeks taste this mixture, it should taste slightly sour and tingle slightly on your tongue. It should also look alive, with a few bubbles in it.
Now you can make some bread.
Start the night before you intend to bake. Take 450g of Unbleached White flour, 700ml of cold water and 250g of your Sourdough starter. Mix this together until more or less smooth. Cover and leave overnight.
Feed the remaining starter, 150g of flour and 250ml of water, cover and now put it in the fridge. You can now feed you starter once a week if you keep it in the fridge.
Next day: Add another 450g of flour to the mixture you made the night before and 2-3 tsp of salt. Mix the flour in until the dough is smooth. It will be very wet and sticky. Do not worry. Knead it for about 10 minutes, or with an electric mixer about 5mins. Then allow the dough to rest, for 10-15 minutes. Then knead again for another 5 minutes. Do not over mix with an electric mixer. Oil and generously sprinkle with flour 2 x 500g bread tins. The dough will be very wet and hard to handle. You can oil your hands to stop it sticking to them. Divide the dough between the tins, and sprinkle the top with flour, then leave in a warm draft free place for between the 3 and 5 hours, it should increase in size by at least 1/3rd.
Pre-heat the oven in the last hour of rising, to about 230 centigrade. Make sure that oven is at temperature before you bake! Then bake the loaves for 30 minutes without opening the door, after that remove the loaves from their tins and bake for another 10 minutes until all the crust is brown. Tap the bottom of the loaves, they should sound hollow. If they do they are ready and can be removed from the oven.
Allow to cool properly before cutting! If you don’t wait, the steam will escape and texture of the bread will change.
I have over the course of the six months or so that have been baking altered the types of flour I have used in the recipe. With sourdough changing flours can upset the yeast culture, so if you want to experiment, add new flours gradually to your starter. Or split your starter for different types of flour.
Here are a couple of links that I have found helpful