Potato sourdough starter – wild yeast!

Bread is something we all love. For me, the yummiest variety is sourdough. There’s something about the crusty goodness and robust flavour that I can’t get enough of. Add a healthy scraping of butter and I could eat it all day. There is nothing worse than buying a ‘sourdough’ loaf, getting it home and finding it is just cruddy white bread with flour on it.

On the way home this arvo, I picked up some bread for lunch and got another crap sourdough. Coles is stocking some amazing salted french butter at the moment, so that slightly improved it (thanks for the butter tip off, Steph), but on the whole it sucked.

The offending bread:

Anyway, it confirmed for me that embarking on my own sourdough starter was the right choice. I’ve been eyeing off this recipe for years and have never gotten around to making it. Basically, the gist of a starter is that you combine flour with some water and let it ferment. Each day you feed the starter a bit of flour and sugar and it becomes ALIVVVE. You continue this for about a week and it should bubble and start to smell. After that you can add some of it to your bread ingredients and make yummy treats like bread, pancakes, waffles etc. The starter can be kept in the fridge until the next time you want to use it – when you begin the feeding cycle again. I have even seen thousand year old starters at the health food shop!

The recipe I’m going with is an Alaskan potato starter. Apparently, in the old days prospectors didn’t have any yeast so they made ‘wild yeast’ out of boiled potato and flour. This pot of sourdough starter would see them through the winter and provide an endless supply of warm bread. I probably could have just made a straight flour starter, but figured this would be more challenging and interesting.

Tools of the trade:

I boiled a few potatoes until the skin came off, mashed them all up with the water and added the flour, and sugar. I chose to use raw caster sugar to give it a little bit more flavour. Also, I only had about a cup of plain flour, so added in wholemeal flour to make up the difference.

I wacked it all in this big old coffee jar (which I sterilised yesterday – odd, I know, considering what’s probably going to happen  – the opposite of sterile). You aren’t supposed to use metal with the starter so I used the glass jar and a wooden spoon.

Now I will wait, watch and feed my new little pet. I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes.

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8 thoughts on “Potato sourdough starter – wild yeast!

    • Good question! I was thinking I should road test some sourdoughs and report the results. You know, just for um, market research.

      I can vouch for Banneton Bakery (they have stores around the place, but I grab it from their stall at the Kelvin Grove Village Markets on Saturday mornings). I love their olive sourdough!
      Also, my usual first pick is La Vosh Patisserie at the Red Hill shops, they do a delish sourdough baguette if you can’t handle a whole vienna.

      • I am loving your blog!

        As for buying sourdough my suggestions are Ferny Hills Bakery (or something along those lines, I used to buy from their stall at Nundah markets when I lived there), Le Bon Choix or I picked up a nice one at the Rocklea markets a couple of Wednesday night’s ago, I am going back tomorrow

      • Thanks, I’m glad you’re liking it!

        It seems a few of the French patisseries do the best bread too. From memory I think I’ve even gotten a pretty good sourdough from French Twist.

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