Here are some pointers we just received and
wish to pass along from a visitor from Alaska. Sounds like the
real deal. Our thanks for the suggestions.:
Hi, I just ran across your sourdough page and have
a few comments.
First, and probably foremost, I've always understood
that sourdough starter should never contain anything but flour and water
(or milk, in the case of San Francisco sourdough) -- no sugar, no honey,
and definitely no yeast.
Second, you may be working too hard,
letting it sit for several hours before using and before returning a
portion to the refrigerator. I've had my current starter since
the early '80's and made that only because I goofed and forgot to save
my previous starter, which was from Kodiak in the late '60's.
I used the potato water recipe to make new starter.
I keep the
starter in the fridge, take it out and mix it ALL with more water and
flour, and let it sit, covered, overnight on the kitchen counter (not
necessarily in a warm place, but not on the back porch). The next
day it has risen and is ready for use. Before adding any recipe
ingredients I return an adequate amount of the starter to its clean
container and put it in the fridge right away. It stays for up
to four months on occasion, but usually is used every couple of weeks
Mixing all the starter with flour and water, then
returning a portion to the fridge, keeps (I think) the starter fresh.
Some use just a portion of the starter, then add flour and water to
make up what they took. In my experience, this tends to make a
more sour starter which requires occasional "freshening" -- tossing
all but a small portion and mixing it with flour and water. This
is not necessary using my method of mixing all the starter -- but you
have to be sure to save some before you add recipe ingredients.
the other hand, whatever works for you is best. Good luck and
Bob Ginn, Sitka, Alaska
From Don Alexander's
Here follows several very fine recipes for sourdough
pancakes or flapjacks, take your pick 'cause they're all real good.
These cakes are especially delicious when cooked out-of-doors over an
open campfire when you're fishing, hunting, out gold prospecting or
mining. I'd honestly like to give the right folks credit for their recipes
but for the life of me I simply don't recall who gave what...it's been
a few years.
The sourdough starter is the basic ingredient
for everything you will make that's called sourdough whatever. Sourdough
is simply home-grown yeast! Given the hosts of flour and warm
water, the yeast spores break down the starch into sugar, permitting
fermentation to take place. In bread baking, the sourdough acts primarily
as the leavening or raising agent. The sourdough base is often called
a sponge and from it springs bread, biscuits and flapjacks. The sponge
has also been used to heal burns and wounds and even make a kind of
hooch. Sourdough fed generations of miners, trappers, mountain men and
pioneers--and, later on,
farm and city families.
There are two ways of getting sourdough
starter: make it or else get some from a friend. Starter can easily
be maintained for years, if treated properly. Sooner or later you'll do something
stupid and lose your starter. No need to fret, my friend, just mix up
another new batch. Keep the working starter in any kind of a coverable
container, crock, mason jar or the like, but don't ever store the
starter in a metal container. Before using the crock, mason jar, etc.
scald the container well to kill unwanted bacteria spores. Old timers
say that in cold weather the starter will lose some of it's potency
so revive it with a tablespoon of pure cider vinegar. The lid to the
container should never be tightly closed or sealed in order to permit
yeast spores to be attracted from the surrounding air...and allow the
sponge to vent gas to the atmosphere
The real sourdough starter, like the old timers
used, did not use yeast! The less yeast used the richer and headier
the sourdough becomes but the trickier the recipes are.
- Here's a recipe for sourdough starter made
from scratch without using yeast: Mix two cups of all purpose
flour with enough lukewarm water to form a thick batter. Let this
stand uncovered for four to five days, or until it begins working.
This basic recipe requires storage in a well scalded container.
An alternate is to use warm milk in place of the lukewarm water.
- Somewhere along the trail I picked up the
following method for making the sourdough starter: mix one cup of
flour with one cup of room temperature water. Cover the mixture
and let stand in a warm place overnight. Next morning add one cup
of flour and about a cup of room temperature water. Mix well, cover
and let stand in a warm place for up to twenty-four hours. Repeat
the adding of flour and water at least one more time then let the
mixture stand and work in a warm place for a day or so until you
see a lot of foam and bubbles on top of the starter. The starter
is now ready to use.
- Here's another method of making starter:
In times gone by, a lot of people made their starter by mixing
enough flour with water in which potatoes had been boiled to make
a thick batter... let stand a day or two or else until it smelled
Mix four cups of flour, two tablespoons sugar,
four cups lukewarm potato water in a crock or jar and let stand
uncovered in a warm place for several days.
- And finally, let one cup of milk stand uncovered
a day or so at room temperature then add a cup of flour, mix well
and let the mess stand a couple of days at which time it's ready
If starter is normally kept in the refrigerator
take it out several hours in advance of use or until it is at room temperature.
After each use be sure to replenish the starter
by adding enough flour and water to restore the mixture to its original
consistency and let the sponge work in the container at least a day
before storage back in the refrigerator. Note: a teaspoon of sugar may
be added to the starter during the replenishment.
(Special thanks to Sports Afield for their article
printed September, 1972 and based on "The Complete Sourdough Cookbook"
by Don and Myrtle Holm, Caxton Printers, Ltd., Caldwell, Idaho (c) 1972.)
- Here’s another starter recipe called "Herman"
as passed on to me by Mrs. Kim Kendall of the Peeples Valley community
in Arizona. Dissolve I pkg. of dry yeast in ½ cup of warm water.
When the yeast and water begin to foam mix in 2 teaspoons of sugar
or honey, 2-1/2 cups flour and the remaining water [2 cups]. Store
in a sterilized large glass jar (crock or plastic jar are OK too).
Cover with clear plastic wrap. No Metal is ever permitted
to come in contact with the starter. Keep at room temperature
for 24 - 48 hours. The mixture will bubble up and should be stirred
down and then placed in the refrigerator. Stir daily with wooden
or plastic spoon. On 5th day feed Herman: 1 cup flour,
1 cup of milk and ½ cup sugar and stir well. On 10th
day take out 2 cups of the starter for baking , then feed same ingredients
as on 5th day to keep starter going/working.
FAVORITE: SOURDOUGH, SOUR CREAM, BLUEBERRY PANCAKES.
This fine recipe came from Mrs. Edith Smith when I lived in Pampa, Texas
sometime during the mid 1970's.
Night before: remove starter from the refrigerator
and either get it to room temperature or use warm water. Empty all of
the starter into a large clean bowl and add: 1 - cup water, 1 1/2 -
cup flour and 1 - teaspoon sugar. Mix well, cover with several folds
of damp paper towel or a dish towel, to keep crust from forming, and
leave overnight at room temperature. Next morning: take out 1 - cup
of the replenished starter and put back in a well scalded container
for refrigeration for use next time. To the rest of the starter add:
3 - tablespoons sugar, 1/2 - teaspoon salt, 1/4 - cup Wesson oil ( or
such), 2 - eggs well beaten. Mix thoroughly with beater then add 1/1/2
- teaspoon baking soda. Beat thoroughly with the beater to make sure
all the soda is well blended. Let sit while you fry bacon or sausage
then fry the cakes/flapjacks.
Alternate: after saving 1 - cup of the starter,
add 1 - egg, 2 - tablespoons Wesson Oil, 1/4 - cup dry milk (or Pet)
and beat thoroughly. Then combine 1 - teaspoon salt, 1 - teaspoon soda,
2 - tablespoons sugar with a little water and blend together until smooth
with no soda lumps. Add this to the above combined ingredients and mix
well before frying on hot, lightly greased griddle. THIS IS THE ONE
I LIKE BEST! Note: If the batter is too thick it may be thinned with
Serving Instructions: As each cake comes
off of the griddle, add a spoon size glob of sour cream rather than
butter... on top of the very top cake in the stack spoon on blueberries
and juice then sprinkle on some powdered sugar. Will serve 2 - 4 hungry
folks. Enjoy em while their hot, Mmmm. good! This recipe for flapjacks
makes a cake that by my way of thinkin' seems to stay with a person
longer than the Regular Sourdough Pancake below. Ya gotta decide for
yourself which recipe is best for your galley.
SOURDOUGH PANCAKE RECIPE
Into a medium size clean mixing bowl pour one
cup of room temperature sourdough starter. Add two tablespoons of cooking
oil and stir well. Beat one egg and stir in to the starter along with
two tablespoons of sugar. Stir in three-fourths cup of flour then. Next
mix one teaspoon of soda with one-quarter teaspoon salt in a small amount
of water or milk and quickly stir into the batter. The sourdough batter
will now begin to foam and rise in the bowl. Let the batter stand while
bacon or sausage is cooked. Now fry the pancakes
in a skillet or on a griddle. Note: The amount of flour added to the
batter will determine its thickness, for thinner cakes add less flour.
Note: Bisquick may be substituted for the flour.
Butter each cake as it comes off the grill. Serve
em while they're hot with whatever syrup ya like.
Hope you enjoy these flapjacks 'cause they're
sure 'nough good eating; and, don't forget to add flour and water to
the remainder of the starter for replenishment.
Copyright: Don Alexander, Santa Fe, N.M. - April,
Copyright: Don Alexander, Yarnell, AZ., Update - January,1999
Any errors or omissions in ingredients or proper
credit for the recipes are strictly unintentional. The recipes
are published for your personal enjoyment. Please send any comments
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