Hello friends! I hope you are enjoying your Thursday. Guess what I made the past few days?? Sourdough starter!! This has been an exciting and also long journey because making the right sourdough starter isn’t that easy actually. Many factors come into while making your starter so I listed a few below as well as an easy recipe to follow for those who are trying out sourdough starter for the first time. You will also find a NEW and exciting tsoureki recipe here.
Sourdough Starter Recipe
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water (preferably distilled water.)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water
Add the starter ingredients to a tall glass mason jar. Make sure the ingredients are well mixed and cover loosely. Store in a warm place for 24 hours. ( I store mine above my refrigerator since heat rises.)
You may see a few bubbles form, but if you don’t see activity that is okay. Remove half the starter, then add the “feeding starter” to the mix. Make sure to mix properly so there is no dry flour. Repeat the same process to store, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Rest for 24 hours.
You should see some bubbles, and the mixture should have a slightly fruity aroma. Repeat the same process by removing half the starter, then feeding it again. Rest for 24 hours while covering with plastic wrap.
Repeat the same process by removing half the starter and adding again the feed. You might wonder why you remove the starter? Well, yeast needs to feed on sugar, and most of the time the yeast will go dormant because the flour doesn’t have much sugar to feed on after a few days. This is why you would add a new starter.
Once the sourdough starter starts to smell a bit sour, you do not need to feed it any longer. At this point, you can use the starter day of, or cover and chill in the refrigerator.
Tsoureki with Sourdough Starter
If you are looking for a fluffy and tasty tsoureki this one is for you!
1 1/2 cups of sourdough starter
8 cups of all-purpose flour plus a half cup for counter work.
1/2 tsp. of salt
1 1/2 cups of milk- warmed
3 envelopes of dry yeast
3 sticks of unsalted butter-
1 3/4 cup of sugar
1 large orange- zest the whole orange (reserve juice)
1 large lemon- zest the whole lemon (reserve juice)
1 tsp cardamom
1 tbsp. of mahlab
5 eggs beaten
1 tsp. of vanilla
Egg wash- 1 egg with about 1/4 cup of water beaten
*optional almonds or sesame seeds for the top of the bread
Sift the flour with the salt in a large bowl and set aside.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk; make sure the milk isn’t too hot. Add sourdough starter, 1/2 cup of flour and 1 tablespoon of white sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Make sure the yeast is bubbling and foamy.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over very low heat. Stir in the sugar, orange zest, and lemon zest, juice of orange and lemon, cardamom, and mahlab. Remove from heat and whisk in the beaten eggs. Let it cool slightly.
Add your yeast mixture to a mixing bowl. Add your butter, sugar and egg mixture. When I used my mixer, I placed it on low speed to add in the flour slowly. Keep adding and your dough will be quite wet but smooth dough.
Place dough in the bowl and let it rise until doubled in a warm place. I would say from a 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Turn the dough out on to a well-floured counter and punch down. You will need to keep sprinkling the dough with flour to keep it from sticking. The dough will still be wet.
Separate your dough into 4 equal parts. Shape into rounds and allow resting for ten to 15 minutes. Now divide each dough into 3 pieces. Roll each piece out to long cords that are about a foot long. Braid the three ropes together to form a braided loaf. Place the braids on baking sheets to rise again.
Once the dough has risen to double, brush the dough with the egg wash and you can place blanched almonds on top or even sesame seeds. Gently press in a red egg towards the top part of the bread.
Bake in a preheated oven at 280 degrees. My oven temp was at 300 because my oven is a bit silly at times. Your oven temp will vary. Bake until golden brown on top for about an hour.
Thank you so much to Windy City Greekfor featuring us again in their 2018 Pasxa edition.