Fermented sourdough starter is a living culture of wild yeast and bacteria that is used to leaven bread. It is made by mixing flour and water together and allowing the natural yeasts present in the flour and the air to ferment the mixture over time. The resulting starter can be used to make delicious, tangy sourdough bread with a complex flavor and texture.
Making a fermented sourdough starter is a simple process, but it does take time and patience. The first step is to mix together equal parts flour and water in a large, non-reactive container, such as a glass jar. You can use any type of flour, but it’s best to use a mixture of white and whole wheat flour. Once the flour and water are mixed together, cover the container with a lid or a clean dish towel and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, you will notice that the mixture has begun to ferment and bubble. This is a good sign that the wild yeasts are starting to colonize the mixture. At this point, you should discard half of the mixture and add an equal amount of flour and water to the remaining mixture. This is known as “feeding” the starter. Repeat this process every 24 hours for about a week, or until the starter becomes bubbly, active, and has a pleasant, tangy aroma.
Once your starter is ready, it can be used to make sourdough bread. To use the starter, you will need to “refresh” it by discarding all but a small amount of the starter and adding equal parts flour and water. Allow the refreshed starter to sit at room temperature for a few hours until it becomes active and bubbly. Then, you can use it to make your bread dough.
When making sourdough bread, you will need to allow for a longer fermentation period than with regular bread dough. This is because the wild yeasts in the starter take longer to ferment the dough than commercial yeast. The end result is a bread with a complex flavor and texture that is unique to sourdough bread.
In conclusion, fermented sourdough starter is a living culture of wild yeast and bacteria that is used to make delicious, tangy sourdough bread. It is easy to make, but it does take time and patience. Once you have your starter, you can use it to make bread, and it will last indefinitely if you maintain it properly. Sourdough bread is a great alternative for gluten-sensitive people, as fermentation process can break down gluten and make it easier to digest.