Friday, February 20, 2009

The starter that wouldn't die

Last August-ish Dixon brought back a sourdough starter from somewhere in the north west and has been making amazing bread ever since. At every family function he is there with super yummy sour dough. I need to add here that I am really impressed with his bread making skills, and his dedication to the mother sponge (starter).

Owning a starter is like owning a pet, somewhere between a gold fish and a pet rock. It has to be feed every day (if you keep it at room temp, or once a week if you keep it in the fridge) and in return you can make bread everyday or you can start another sponge to give to someone else. Dixon is a good man, he makes bread almost everyday for his family and the wider Provo/Orem area.

The process can take upwards of 24 hours but the resulting bread is worth it. The first time I made bread from his starter it was the best bread I have ever made in my life, hands down. I can think back to all the breads we made at school for banquets and catering affairs and I can't think of anything that touches this bread. Thank you Dixon.

I have made the bread a few times now and it is so consistent, the texture of the bread is light but chewy and the crust is crisp and thin. A lot of my homemade breads have a density to them that isn't quite what I am looking for. Not so with this bread, it is light but not airy and amazing with olive oil and balsamic or just plain.

One of my favorite things about this bread is it's simplicity, all you ever have to add is flour, water and salt, yep that's it. I haven't tried adding herbs yet or making it into pizza dough, I will let you know how that goes.

If you live with in driving distance and you want a mother sponge of your very own, let me know and I will so make you one. If not and you still want to try it you can make one yourself. These sites will get you through the basics and on your way to making bread, here and here.

The best starters are from coastal locations because of the unique yeast present in the salty air. However even if you do buy it by from a coastal city and bring it inland the local yeast in the air will eventually take over, changing the nature of the starter. I'm sure the one I'm using now has lost it's unique west coast yeast, but that doesn't mean that the bread isn't completely tasty.

The baby sponge, made from the starter.
The proofed bread dough.
The bread rounded and shapped for the final rise.
Oh the sweet, sweet bread.


oliver.and.emily said...

hey guys! i just linked from emilie & branden's blog, yeah. the bread is making my stomach growl.. it looks so yummy! and so pretty!

Moddy said...

that is so wrong to post pictures of your yummy bread and not offer to overnight some to your favoritest sister (okay so I'll take 2nd favoritest)
next time I'm in town I'm so going to want some of your starter.

miss kitti said...

MJ, totally beautiful bread. Yum! One more reason to wish we loved closer.

Emilie and Branden said...

Um, I can't believe you haven't shared some starter with me. So bummed!! Can I get some, or what?

Carrie Merino said...

oooo, I want some!! Are we considered driving distance?

Maudie Jane said...

If I come visit Kitti or she comes to visit me, I will bring some or send some.