Bread Making without Baker’s Yeast
Begin your own sourdough starter!
When I was in middle school, my mom started some sourdough bread. Sourdough bread uses wild yeast to produce a tangy bread that has more flavors than ordinary sandwich loaf you buy in the store, but it takes time to develop that yeast — anywhere from 10 days to three weeks.
Unfortunately for my family, her attempt was a disaster. We left for vacation and when we came home, our whole house smelled like something had died. Mom had not properly fed the starter before we left, and then had not stored it in the refrigerator while we were gone to slow down the yeast growth. As a result, things were quite funky in our house for a while after that.
When this pandemic began and I couldn’t buy bread or active dry yeast in the store, I debated making bread using sourdough starter. I had tried once before but lost patience when I tried to make a loaf too soon and the bread was a complete failure. However, if we were to have bread in the house, I had to do something. My research into sourdough made me understand some of the mistakes I made. It was time to try again.
Tools You Need
To create a successful wild yeast starter (AKA sourdough starter), you will need to be patient and use the right tools. It works out best if you have a scale that can weigh your ingredients effectively.
The first time I tried to make a starter, I relied on using measuring cups alone, which can add too little or too much, and that will affect the success and strength (the ability to create rise in your bread) of your dough.
You will also need at least a one-quart jar, better yet a two-quart, like the one in my picture. You can use a smaller jar until about day 5, but at that point, you will start discarding and feeding the starter more, so you will need room for it to expand.
I have a 13.5 ounce jar from an on-line company that sells various versions of fruit, but mostly preserves. It worked well for a few days, until I had to start discarding and feeding more.
I also have some small, inexpensive stirring spoons and spatulas. My grandmother told me to never make bread in a metal bowl or use anything metal to stir it, so my stirring…