How to make a Sourdough Starter

There was never a better time to get started on your sourdough adventures. As we are forced into taking it slow by a tiny micro-organism, we can cultivate our own community of beneficial micro-organism to bake delicious breads and ponder upon what might have been in a world more mindful of how we ate and lived.

Most of you have probably been following my sourdough journey for the last couple of years. But this is the second round. I made my first sourdough starter in 2010. But I was way ahead of the trend and it was a lonely journey that ended as might be expected. After a year of maintaining it, it was laid to rest in a final batch of pancakes. That’s what happens when you forget to name your starter and think of it as a pet. Do give this thought and come up with an appropriate name for this new pet that you are going to get soon.

Sourdough is dough that has been allowed to ferment or go sour. Wild yeast are floating all around us. They are on everything, fruits, grains, and vegetables, on every surface except highly processed foods. Given suitable conditions they start growing and dividing, a process we know as fermentation. To make your own starter from scratch all you need to do is harness this process in a medium of your choice – a mix of flour and water.

A good starter is the foundation of good bread. Other than to bake bread it can replace commercial yeast in any recipe. My starter Frothy is almost 4 years old. Over this time she has developed into a lively dependable starter that gives me consistently great bread.

Here is my method updated to include all that I have learned through maintaining it for over three years. You do not need a kitchen scale to get your starter going but invest in one if you want to replace yeast in your other bakes with sourdough.

Making your own sourdough starter from scratch

You will need the following:

750ml-1l capacity wide mouth glass jar with lid
whole wheat flour (atta)
filtered water
1 cm cube jaggery (preferably organic)
a cup, to measure flour
a spoon to mix Continue reading “How to make a Sourdough Starter”

Sourdough Scallion Pancakes

making-bread

Last summer I started my sourdough experiments all over again. Six years ago I had grown and maintained my first starter for quite some time but it fell out of favour one day and was finished off with nary a trace. In the intervening time interest in sourdough seems to have moved into the mainstream. When Pamela Timms shared images of the beginnings of her sourdough starter on Instagram, I got sucked right in again. It was the month of June and Delhi was at its hottest best. My starter bloomed overnight and fell never to rise again. Not given to quick surrenders I starting over, this time keeping the starter out in my cool bedroom at night and in the fridge during the day. In a few days I had Frothy smiling at me. She is very different from her spring-born sister from 6 years ago, as bubbly but less tart. I have had nothing but success with her. My sourdough bread game is still not topnotch but the journey to get there has been full of tasty steps.

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Bake your own Burger Buns

Bake your own Burger Buns

buns02

I don’t know about others, but I feel a sense of liberation when my maid calls her day off. My brain starts buzzing with plans of things I want to cook to make the most of her absence, dishes that I prefer prepping for myself even when she is there. It doesn’t include making roti. You’ll be surprised the lengths I’ll go to just to avoid cooking our daily bread. To keep me in good spirits Kumari, the maid, calls off often enough and I get to break the routine roti-dal-subzi meals. Like today.

In an ideal world, she’d take all Sundays off but I’m glad that she usually let’s me know ahead. This Saturday she informed me that she was planning to take Monday off. I started planning! 🙂 I finished off the leftovers last night. Today there will be pasta for lunch – the tomato sauce is simmering gently on the stove. I might fry some eggplant, if I feel inclined [later: I didn’t.]. Dinner is going to be vegetarian burgers with home-made buns. Lately, I have been on a pantry-cleaning mission and ingredients that have been around for a long time are getting special attention. Every bottle of spice, or blends, and every container of strange ingredients sitting around, is destined to be consumed before the summer is out. With the second fridge also chock-full, that might well be wishful thinking but I should certainly have a cleaned-out pantry before the year is out. Then I can look forward to stocking it up again with new ingredients from near and far.
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It’s time for some Deep Fried Bedmi Love

The first month of this year is history already.  How time flies!

After some fumbling this season, old man winter got into his groove here in Delhi.  The weather has been at its frigid best for the past 6 weeks even though we celebrated Basant Panchami  (the fifth day of Spring) last Saturday.  I even poured myself a glass of kanji while preparing dinner the other day. But, the thaw has certainly started and if you blink the short Spring will be over.

In the fast pace of 2011 many celebrations got left out.  No one got a birthday cake :shock:.  The blog anniversary was overlooked since there was no time to come up with a theme, announce a party, or be a proper host to all of you.  But, it is always party-time at A Mad Tea Party where we celebrate food as just that – nourishment; food that satiates, the kind that engages all our senses.  Mindful eating without dissecting what is on the plate.

bedmi poori

One-dish-themed blog-events are now commonplace.  The poori-party might have been one of the first of that kind but it was quite by accident.  None of the subsequent celebrations were a patch on that first party.  From that party on, I have made a concerted effort to fry poories more often.  Every time the son visits for holidays, poori-bhaji features on the breakfast menu on one of the days.  Just the once maybe, but it is sure to be there.  Then, for Ram Navmi I indulge the little girl in me who misses doing rounds of the neighbouring homes to gather loads of prasad be part of the ritual to revere the goddess in all girls, by cooking poori, halwa, and kala chana.  That adds up to at least three poori-frying sessions a year!  And if there are friends or family visiting (and it is cool enough to fry in the kitchen) then it is likely they will get some deep fried love!

Continue reading “It’s time for some Deep Fried Bedmi Love”