Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Day 15: Time to Bake and Maintain the Starter

The starter is now ready to bake with. If you stick your hand in the starter the bubbles should crackle. You should see bubble form and pop. You should also smell a slight yeasty aroma.

So lets begin to make bread:

Measure out he amount of starter needed and then set apart 2 cups of starter You will want to keep a smaller amount of starter available to bake with so you will not need to give your starter regular feedings. Take one cut of the starter and mix with equal parts of water and flour to maintain the starter in smaller amounts and not double the amount. If your recipes need more starter then. You must now deep feeding the starter three times a day to keep it well feed and alive to bake with.

If you cannot bake everyday, which is most of us, and it may be a week or so until you are able to bake keep the starter in the refriderator. It will become dormant. The day before you want to bake reactive it. Let it come to room temperature for about 2 hours and then feed it a regular feedings for a day. If the starter has been dormant for 2 weeks or for months give it three days of regular feedings to get back to baking condition. If your starter does not show activity then it is no longer alive.

Another way to preserve the starter is to dry it out. Pour 1 or more cups of starter in a thin layer on parchment lined sheet and let it dry out for about 3 days. Once dry pull up and store in a freezer bag. To use the starter put the dried starter in was water stir. Once dissolved add four and water. It will take about five days to regain its strength.

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