simple   SOURDOUGH   starter

Mine's 35 years old and is sold at   Oxford Farmers Market Uptown

as sourdough spoons with instructions, or activated in 1/2 pint jars


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I put my starter in an old pickle jar that I cleaned. could I have killed it?

Probably not, as any clean glass jar or stainless or enamel container will do. 

The sourdough will separate and get a black liquid on top (called hooch) and look awful but still be just fine.
Dump hooch and all into a big bowl; add equal parts flour/water; mix well and let set at room temp overnight.
Use half in a recipe, store the other in container in fridge after thickening it up with a bit more flour.

Container should be able to hold twice as much as the amount of starter, and don't seal the lid tight as gasses will be forming.

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How often do I feed it and what with?

Mine is being fed with approximately equal parts of water and flour
each week when I bake for Saturday's market 

but I've stored it in fridge without feeding for as long as a month.

When it's ready to go back in fridge for storage, add a little more flour...
"Thinner to pour and thicker to store."
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Can I just leave it on the counter as long as it doesn't get too hot?

The warmer the sourdough starter is, the more it bubbles, the faster it grows/activates and therefore
 the more frequently you'll need to feed it.

If possible, feed (increase) it the day before baking and leave it overnight on the counter so it gets nice and bubbly.
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Do I have to remove some of it when I do feed it?

Depends on the size of the jar: the amount of starter should never be more than half the space of its container.
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You told me these things the other day but I want to get it so I remember.
Thank you so much!

You're welcome. 
Just relax and enjoy it and let nature do it's thing. 
All those detailed and fastidious recipes are pretty silly and certainly unnecessary.
Natural Sourdough has been doing it's own thing for a very long time...

Happy Sourdoughing!


SOURDOUGH FOCACCIA (skillet bread)

  1. Bring the storage container of sourdough from the refrigerator and scrape it into a big bowl. Since 1 cup sourdough will be taken out tomorrow to make this focaccia recipe, into the big bowl with starter goes an amount equal to that: 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 cup hot water (swished around in the empty storage container to clean it all out). Let the big bowl of starter sit at room temp overnight. Next day, stir it down and measure out and set aside the 1 cup to use for focaccia. Mix a handful more flour into the remaining sourdough in the big bowl, pour it back into the original storage container and set back in fridge.
    Remember: Cover but donít seal the storage container.
  2. Beat vigorously: the 1 cup set-aside sourdough, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 ĺ  cup hot tap water and 4 cups flour.
  3. Preheat oven and 2, 10 inch iron skillets to 450 degrees F. Take the skillets out of oven and set on top of stove to cool down. Liberally pour olive oil into each.
  4. Divide dough equally into the skillets and press out flat to edges. Drizzle on more olive oil and sprinkle each with a big pinch of dried oregano and Kosher salt. Run a knife or pizza cutter wheel across the middle of each skillet to divide round doughs in half. Let set 2 hours then bake 30 minutes on bottom shelf.
  5. Remove the focaccia from skillets to cool on racks and just see if you can refrain from munching down on their crispy/chewy/tender golden incredible sourdough flavor. Try slicing a half focaccia horizontally to make a big pocket which can be filled with any kind of spread and then cut into wedges...oh my!


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contact the artist  Debra Bowles © 2002