Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Rye Sourdough Starter

Sourdough, "sleeping" in the fridge

I’ve recently discovered the joys of baking with sourdough, again. And for the first time, I’ve made bread that is ALL sourdough, rather than adding in a little bit of yeast as well. Sourdough baking is a bit fiddly – it’s not something you can do in a hurry, and it really does require some time and care. But it isn’t hard! Anyone can do it! I promise!

It all started (this time) when I was going to clean out my jar of *very* old wheat starter from the fridge. I started rinsing the jar with hot water and about half way through, it started to look.. well, pretty good. So I fed it for a few days and oh yes – it was alive and well. At the same time, I started a new rye starter which also turned out to be really good. I find wheat a lot harder to get along with, so I really recommend ordering a starter from somewhere. I got mine from here.

Anyway – let’s talk about a rye starter. You can make one with just flour and water but I’ve had much more luck with this one which uses a little bit of honey and yogurt to get it going. I got this recipe from a fellow blogger, and it’s really quite foolproof. Do use a fairly big jar – you can see mine in the photo and when it was at it’s most active, it would bubble almost to the top. Don’t forget to save a bit of starter in the fridge. Feed it a little bit every week and let it sit out in room temperature over night to get bubbly again before moving it back into the fridge.

Rye Sourdough Starter
(printable recipe)

On day one
1 tbsp honey
150 ml fine-milled rye flour
150 ml tepid water
3 tbsp yogurt (about 10% fat, Mediterranean style)

Whisk it together and pour into a fairly large jar. Cover with a lid, but not completely. Keep in a warm place in your kitchen.

On days 2-4 (or 5)

Add a large spoon of fine-milled rye flour and the same amount of tepid water, and stir well. The starter should bubble and star to smell a bit sour but nice and fresh.

Continue like that – the starter will be ready to use on day 5 or 6.

Recipe in Swedish:


Marjoke said...

Was just at the point of looking for a rye starter when I read your post.
I've planned to make this one and take it with me to Sweden this summer.


mina said...

yeah!! i'm loving the rugbrød i've made with my sourdough starter, but i never knew what was in it. got it from a friend of my fiance. never tasted a better loaf. ^^

Katie said...

Love the sound of the rye starter - can't wait to see what you make with it. I tried to make a starter once and it was so active it exploded out of its jar and all over my fridge during the night! Maybe its time to try again :)

Amanda Crowe said...

Having failed with the apricot starter I decided to give a traditional rye sourdough a try, using your recipe. I got a nice bubbling after 24 hours, but the starter was dry.

Tara said...

What do I feed the starter when I'm not going to bake?

And then when I want to use it for baking, do I do all the same things again from day 1?

Thanks! I love your blog <3

Anne said...

Tara, to be honest I don't feed my starter unless I'm baking. I'm lazy that way - and my starter seems resilient. Sometimes it's not though, and then I have to start over. (My wheat starter seems to survive anything, but the rye has gone bad sometimes.) I take it out the night before, or two days before I want to bake. I feed it equal amounts of flour and water, approximately, give it a stir and leave it out. Next morning, same thing. And again at night, if it's not happily bubbling by then.

So, as you can see, I'm really not very exact about this. At all. But it seems to work :)

Tara said...

Thanks for answering my other comment Anne. Now I have another question.

You said that sometimes your starter goes bad. How do you know when it has gone bad???

I've made your starter and had it in the fridge for a few weeks, but how can I tell if it's still good to use? It smells strong but I think that rye starter is supposed to, right?

Thanks, Tara

Anne said...

Tara - it should smell nice and sour, but not like ammonia. And well, an obvious sign, but I've actually had starters go moldy after a while. Much longer than a few weeks though - more like months :)