Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Adventures in Wild Yeast Catching

A year ago I was involved in a full fledged plan to change how we eat. I had been reading The Omnivore's Dilemma and watching documentaries like Food Inc. They completely changed my view of food and how we had been eating. I started buying organic and participated in our first farm share. Sad to say, but as time went on, I began to get lazy and forgot how important a change in our eating habits is for all of us.

Fast forward to recent weeks and how I have noticed how poorly I have been feeling. I realize how much of that is due to my diet. It is time to once again make an attempt to forever change how we eat.

One of the things I have decided to do is start making my own bread. I've been hearing about making one's own sourdough starter for many years, but was always too nervous to try. Yesterday I happened to read a passage in The Omnivore's Dilemma where Pollan mentions that there is yeast all around us and it is possible to simply "catch" that wild yeast yourself. This is how bread used to be made before brewer's yeast came to be. So, feeling adventurous, I decided I wanted to try and make a starter myself.

From all of my reading online, there appears to be many different ways to make your own sourdough starter. One of those involves using commercial yeast, but I fail to see how that is really making sourdough starter. Another way is to get some starter from a friend or purchasing a starter from a company. I have chosen to do it the old fashioned way by simply using flour and water.

There are many techniques, recipes, directions, and theories out there for the best way to make a sourdough starter. This is an experiment of sorts so we shall see what works best. I decided to make my starter in a glass jar. It can be done in plastic containers (no metal bowls), but I'm trying to stay away from plastic these days. I'm using organic stone ground whole wheat flour and filtered water.

I added 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of warm water to my glass jar and stirred with a wooden spoon (again - no metal spoons). I plan to run to the store a bit later and see if I can find some cheesecloth, but for now a clean dishtowel should suffice.

This is what it looked like after the mixing:

I'm storing it on the window sill for now. We'll see if it's warm enough to make things happen.

Our farm share begins in less than two weeks and I hope to be better about posting pictures each week showing what we got and how I used our produce. Stay tuned for updates in Adventures in Wild Yeast Catching...


  1. So interesting Carissa...Can't wait to see how it turns out! Glad I can stay in touch via your blog.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Missy! It's always good to hear from you. :)


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