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Organic Sourdough Starter

Another unique product coming from the Harvest Haven kitchen…dehydrated organic sourdough starter.

What is a sourdough starter?

The quick version: a sourdough starter is an active colony of wild yeast and good bacteria cultivated by combining flour and water and allowing it to ferment. By feeding it continually and keeping it in happy conditions you will have a reliable “natural yeast” culture that can be used to leaven (raise) breads and pastries of all kinds.

The science: a sourdough starter is a symbiotic community of lactic acid bacteria and wild yeast. Both yeast and bacteria feed on the carbohydrates present in flour when hydrated with water and allowed to ferment. As you refresh the starter with new “food,” each microbe gets stronger and more vivacious, releasing gases (providing air and lift) as they consume. These two live microorganisms exist in harmony within your starter, creating an environment rich with lactic and acetic acid. These acids provide both flavor and nutritional benefit.

Breads that are made exclusively with sourdough are referred to as naturally leavened. Naturally leavened breads have a longer fermentation time than commercially yeasted breads, which allows the lactic acid in the sourdough to “unlock” the nutrients within the flour. This creates a more flavorful, digestible bread with more readily available nutrients. From The Basics Behind Sourdough Starter

Harvest Haven starter is made with organic flour and Grander water, both of which produce a healthy, vigorous product. This is the same starter we use to make our naturally-leavened bread that is so popular.

Because the starter is dehydrated, we can package it in small packets and ship wherever.

Instructions for rehydrating:

Combine the full contents of the package into a clean 1 quart glass or plastic container. Add 50 grams of all purpose flour and 100 grams of warm water. Mix with a spoon until all contents are combined.

Cover the container with a solid top (not airtight but you don’t want it to dry out), and allow it to sit at room temperature (22C/72F) for 12-36 hours. Depending on the temperature the starter will become active sooner or later. It needs time to rehydrate and reactivate the dormant yeasts and bacteria. The main thing to look for is activity like the picture below. You'll start to see bubbles and the contents will rise a bit, but not much at first. Once you see bubbles like this, continue to the next step.

Place another 1 quart container on a scale and press the tare button on your scale.

Transfer 150 grams of the starter mixture into this new container. Add 75 grams of flour and 75 grams of water to the new container. Mix, cover, and let it sit for 12 hours at room temperature. You can discard the starter from the original container.

At the end of 12 hours you should see more signs of bubbling and a more substantial rising level of the starter.

Your starter should now be out of dormancy and can be maintained daily by removing half the volume by weight and then adding that same weight in equal amounts of flour and water. This should be done every 12 hours.

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