Yeast Starter also known as Sourdough Starter.

2011-05-20 15:43
Mountain Standard Time




The white "bloom" that you see on juniper berries, potato peels and grapes is the kind of yeast that is used for sourdough. I always make my yeast this way:

2 c warm de-chlorinated water
1/8 c Juniper Berries, Grapes, raisins, or potato skins (scrubbed)
1 c all purpose flour
Some people add milk or sugar, I don't.  It doesn't seem to work well for me.

To start, clean and scald a quart glass jar, add to it 2 cups warm (80-90^F) non chlorinated water* (chlorine can kill the yeast, direction de-chlorinate below) add to this 1/8 cup of juniper berries, or grapes, or raisins, or potato peels (I use the potato method). Cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth and hold it on with a rubber band or the ring from a canning lid (do not put a lid on, this needs to breathe) let this sit over night in a warm place. strain out the berries, or grapes or whatever and return the water to the jar. Add 2 cups of all purpose flour stir well. put the cheesecloth back on and let it sit in a warm place, stir it daily, the longer it sits the sourer the taste.
You do not have to worry about the wrong kind of germs forming in your starter, the yeast itself puts out chemicals that kill other forms of yeast and bacteria, if you did something wrong and killed your yeast, the starter will not smell sour, but will smell rotten and grow mold. Botulism requires an anaerobic environment and will not form as long as you do not seal the jar.
To maintain your sourdough starter, use or give away or throw away at least one cup each week, add one cup flour and cup of warm non-chlorinated water*. If you want to keep it without feeding it, you can dry it by adding a cup of flour without water then spreading it thinly on a clean, parchment paper or waxed paper covered cookie sheet. When the top is dry pull it off the parchment and turn it over. When it is dry you can break it up and store it in a jar. The yeast will go into a suspended animation state when it is dry. When you want to use it again, just add enough warm non-chlorinated water* to bring it to the consistency of thin pancake batter.

*to de-chlorinate tap water you can leave it sit in an open container for 24 hours, or bring it to a boil and let it cool to 80-90^F. The chlorine will evaporate.  (I usually just boil it, it's faster that way).

I will add a recipe for bread that uses this yeast in a day or so.

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