If you follow my personal Instagram feed, you might have noticed a post a few weeks ago about a little competition that Kris and I are having over sourdough starters and sourdough bread. I made a sourdough starter a little over two years ago and for a period of time was baking sourdough bread weekly. I used this guide from Serious Eats to make my starter.
Sourdough bread is Kris’s absolute favorite. When we were traveling in New Zealand this past March, there was sourdough bread everywhere. Almost every time we were served bread, it was sourdough. On the trip Kris vowed to take over the sourdough starter and baking.
One of the reasons Kris wanted to take over sourdough duties is that I had a few mishaps with my sourdough bread…. I have an amazing recipe that I use from The Clever Carrot. Her sourdough bread method has worked for me pretty much every time. I say “pretty much” because my bread making skills went downhill this past winter. Honestly, (this is my excuse) I think our house was too cold to get a good second rise out of my bread. Also, I ran out of bread flour and was using all-purpose, which might have been a contributing factor. But, in any case, the combo of the cold house and AP flour left me with very dense, flat loaves of bread. They still tasted good but Kris wasn’t very impressed.
My ultimate goal is to figure out how to make sourdough croissants. When we were in New Zealand I had a spinach feta sourdough croissant, and it was one of the best things I have ever eaten. Like seriously, I still regret that I didn’t go back and get another one. I also want to make sourdough cinnamon rolls.
And you might be wondering how sourdough fits into my low carb eating. Interestingly, if you do a PubMed search of “sourdough” you’ll get quit a few hits. Sourdough is known to have a lower glucose response than bread fermented with baker’s yeast. Check out this study which found that sourdough bread improves post-meal glucose and insulin. And this study found that the fermentation process renders sourdough gluten-free. Pretty cool stuff. The whole point of eating low carb is to keep blood sugars low and a slice of sourdough toast slathered in KerryGold butter on occasion fits into a low carb diet.
As far as the starter goes, I generally feed mine with equal parts water and all-purpose flour. When Kris said he wanted to take over the sourdough, I divided it into three equal parts. One starter acts as our control, so I have just continued to feed it equal parts water and AP flour.
Kris did a ton of online research about feeding sourdough starters. His final conclusion is that every single site has different recommendations and there is no consensus on the best way to feed your starter. People use everything from AP flour to whole wheat flour to rye flour and liquids vary from water to milk to pineapple juice. On the other hand, some people add potatoes and sugar. The amounts used vary considerably as well.
For my starter, I’ve been using equal parts by weight of King Arthur All-Purpose flour and whole milk. Kris has been using some whole wheat flour, some AP flour and water. And as I mentioned earlier, the control is equal parts by weight of AP flour and water. I made the round in the pictures with my starter and Kris made the bread loaf. Kris has also successfully made rolls and a baguette with his starter but still wants it to taste more sour. More to come as we continue to experiment with sourdough .
So, now questions! Do you have sourdough starters? What do you all feed your sourdough starters? My kitchen looks like a science experiment with three starters, kefir, and kombucha! What’s your favorite sourdough bread recipe? Any special tricks or trips? I’d love to know how other people make sourdough!