if you have been reading this blog, you know i am a bit of a gardener. okay, i spend a lot of time in the garden. more than once, i have spent entire mornings that stretched into the early afternoon working in a garden. it isn’t hard to do if you have the right company and the ladies i work with out at the demonstration garden make it fun to be there-no matter how muddy and buggy it can sometimes be.
mud and bugs; sounds heavenly after all of this cold, miserable weather! to keep busy until the season changes, i spend my time indoors baking. one of my favorite things is sourdough bread, especially when it is freshly baked with some of my own organic grape starter.
making starter is a lot easier than you think. the hardest part is finding organic grapes. luckily for me, i was able to pick them off the vine in the garden and since i work in that garden, i knew exactly what the grapes had been treated with-absolutely nothing! if you aren’t lucky enough to pick your own, you will have to source them at a grocery store that has a good selection of organic fruit. you also want them to be as fresh as possible. a really good starter recipe is the one attributed to nancy silverton. to make my starter, i followed this recipe to the letter and five years later, it still works!
as a starter is fed and used, it needs to be replaced. an easy way to do this is to measure your flour and pour it into a small bowl. add your water and stir to form a thick dough.
this simple dough is all the starter needs! usually a feeding is all you need to get it ready to make a loaf of bread. a good, strong starter, like mine, can sit in the fridge for several months and still have the strength to leaven a loaf of bread. my most recent loaf of sourdough bread was a pane pugliese. the complete recipe and step by step photos can be found here.
so, until the weather shifts and it warms up, a lot, i will be in the kitchen tending to my starter and dreaming of muddy days in the garden with friends…