<div><div class="wsite-image wsite-image-border-none " style="padding-top:10px;padding-bottom:10px;margin-left:0;margin-right:0;text-align:center"> <a> <img src="http://www.rachelmeyerfitness.com/uploads/1/7/3/9/1739499/1953412_orig.jpg" alt="Picture" style="width:auto;max-width:100%"></a> <div style="display:block;font-size:90%"></div> </div></div> <div class="paragraph" style="text-align:left;"><font size="4">The morning light beams into the kitchen window. I quietly tip-toe to the kitchen, attempting to not wake my 3-year-old early bird who regularly wakes up before the crack of dawn. <br><br>I'm greeted in the kitchen by a bowl of bubbly sourdough starter that has been 'workin it' while I sleep. It smells of sweet fermented flour and water; an aroma unique to the combination of those two substances, recognized only by the noses of those who undertake such odd endeavors. <br><br>I call mine 'Frank.'<br><br>Sourdough brings a satisfaction to baking, unparalleled to baking with it's equal, yeast. I suppose, equal in the sense that yeast also rises bread, but totally unequal in its ability to make a chewy and crusty loaf of bread as sourdough starter does. <br><br>This undertaking is not for the faint of heart. It requires a patience to create and it's baking requires equal patience with long fermentation; although I recommend wholeheartedly. <br><br>The process I lay out below is not one of complication; you will indeed have a bubbly sourdough starter if you follow my instructions, but just like your dog, you must feed it or else. <br><br>Before I give you the instructions, <u><strong>here are 3 tips that have proven to make this process a success for me </strong></u>(luckily, this is not my first rodeo with sourdough starter, so I've learned a few things among my many attempts). <br><br>1. Use bread flour. It has a higher gluten content so it will assist your starter in activating and rising quicker. I use King Arthur. <br><br>2. Put your starter in a warm place (on top of your refrigerator or inside the stove with the pilot light on; just don't turn your oven on with it inside like I did once...oops). <br><br>3. Stir vigorously each time you feed to help further activate the gluten. <br><br><u><strong>Here's what you are looking for in an "active" sourdough starter. </strong></u><br><br>1. It will begin to smell a bit sour--which is a beautiful thing!<br><br>2. There will be bubbles--also, a beautiful sight. <br><br>3. It will grow whenever you feed it. This is what makes your bread rise!<br><br><u><strong>Now, for your easy, 3-step guide to sourdough starter:</strong></u><br><br>1. Begin by putting 1/4 cup flour + 3 T water in a small sized or 2 qt bowl--stir well and cover with a loose fitting lid. Do this once in the morning and then 12 hours later in the evening before bed. <br><br>2. The next day whisk in 1/2 cup flour + 1/3 cup water--stir vigorously to help activate gluten. Continue doing this twice per day (every 12 hours) until your starter begins to double in size. <br><br>3. Once your starter doubles in size with each feeding, feed it 1 cup starter + 2/3 cup water twice per day to keep it lively. At this point, <em>every</em> time you feed your starter, you will discard <em>before</em> feeding it. (Discard 1 cup with each feeding to use in your baked goods). The only time I don't discard is when I want a whole lot more starter for a bulk batch of pancakes or something, otherwise, I discard 1 cup. <br><br>Note: If you don't plan to use your starter everyday, you can simply discard + feed and then place it in the refrigerator for up to a week. When you plan to use it, remove it from the refrigerator, feed it, and then it will be ready to use in 8-12 hours. <br><br>Stay tuned for my easy, peasy sourdough bread recipe next Wednesday!</font></div>