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Baking With Sourdough Book
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Baking With Sourdough Book

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All you need to know about creating and maintaining a starter. Includes recipes. 32 pg.
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Perhaps the most common misconception is that sourdough should never be frozen. Because the prospectors believed this, they faithfully took their starter pots into their bedrolls with them at night so body heat would keep the starter from freezing. Even Irma Rombauer and Marion R. Becker, authors of the modern classic, Joy of Cooking, warn readers that freezing will kill sourdough starter. The fact is, heat over 95º will kill the yeast, but it can be kept frozen almost indefinitely and is perfectly usable as soon as it has been thawed. Freezing is probably the best way to maintain a seldom-used starter.

Another unfortunate misconception about sourdough is that it is finicky and that baking with it requires an almost scientifically controlled environment. Obviously that can't be true or it would not have flourished on wagon trains and at prospecting sites where no one had much control over temperature or time. It's hard to imagine an "sourdough" cutting short a successful panning session because it was time to bake the bread.

Another widely held, but mistaken, idea is that anything baked with sourdough tastes so sour it puckers your mouth. Actually, sourdough products can be as bland or as sour as you wish. 

On the other hand, one thing you may have heard about sourdough is true: Using it takes time. Fortunately it's not your time; because sourdough needs more time to work as a leavener, you must begin the baking process further ahead of when you want to finish than you would with commercial yeast or baking powder. That's the main way sourdough differs from other kinds. You have to give sourdough time to grow, you have to keep it alive, and - of course - you have to catch the wild yeast to have a starter. 

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