When I was a kid, we had a monster in the fridge.
A real one.
We inherited it from my grandmother. It was a sister monster to my grandma’s monster. Multi-generational monsters, if you will. When I moved away from home and started making old family favourites in my own kitchen, I created a monster of my own.
It was at this time that I learned that the “monster” I had imagined ravenously feeding off a mixture of flour and water in my mom’s refrigerator was what the rest of the world calls sourdough starter. Alas, the cheddar and green onion-studded “monsterdough biscuits” that mom used to make for us to dip into tomato soup on Sunday afternoons did not come from a monster at all.
Sourdough starter is a yeast, sugar, flour and water mixture that you allow to ferment and then store in your fridge as a replacement for yeast in sourdough bread, biscuit, waffle (etc…etc…etc…) recipes. It creates a distinctively tangy flavour and is a totally delicious variation on your usual recipes for bread, biscuits, waffles (etc…etc…etc…).
I guess maybe we called it a monster because every two weeks or so, you have to either use or dump 1 cup of your monster…I mean starter…and “feed” it with fresh flour and water. Like a little pet for your fridge. If you don’t have a reason to use your starter every two weeks and can’t bear to dump it out, you can share it with someone else – just tell them to “feed” the starter and there you go: more monsters. Just like my mother’s monster and my grandmother’s monster before it.
Here’s what you need:
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose white flour
Here’s what you do:
Dissolve the sugar in the water and sprinkle the yeast over top. Gradually whisk in the flour until the mixture is combined. Cover with a dish towel and set in a warm, draft-free place.
Let the starter develop 2-5 days, stirring daily to re-combine the ingredients as separation will occur. Once the mixture stops bubbling and starts to develop a sour smell, place in an air-tight container and refrigerate.
When you use a cup of your starter every two weeks or so, either for baking, tossing, or giving away, “feed” with 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water. Let the starter sit out on the counter at room temperature for 12 hours before returning to the fridge.
Stay tuned for my sourdough bread and sourdough waffle recipes!
Recipe courtesy of Annie’s Eats.