I have a Sourdough starter that goes all the way back to 2008. I did not create it but got a sample a couple of years ago – and I have managed to not kill it.
Which is astounding because I hurtle every form of abuse and indignation in its general direction; starvation, neglect, disinterest… etc. OK, maybe it’s not that bad because it lives on.
For those who don’t know what a sourdough starter is: In its simplest terms, it is flour and water (those are ingredients that you provide…) The environment (or the World around you…) provides the “natural” yeasts. It is easy to say that they “exist” within the flour that you provide, but yeasts (and molds) are everywhere around us.
And in my case, my Sourdough starter which was created in a neighbourhood around 12 km away from where I live must have evolved after it was relocated. Which is to say, while there are “yeasts” everywhere, they are not all the same and they each (collectively) impact different flavours on the different creations (breads, rolls, scones, even pancakes!) you come up with.
So: Sourdough starter is flour, water and a wild yeast that, yes indeed, creates a ferment. Ferment creates alcohol and gas, which is the leavening that we are looking for.
The ferment in the bread making process also fundamentally changes the flavour and the structure of the gluten in the finished product. I could devote 100 pages to what is going on with bread starters and natural bread making. It’s all on the internet but I will integrate my spin on it here if anyone is interested (use the comment field!) Anyway. Onwards.
This recipe is a “spiked” sourdough – meaning there is some powdered yeast that is going to accelerate the process – significantly – reducing some of the nutritional benefits of the longer “ferment”.
1 cup sourdough starter
1 1⁄2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar or 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 -4 cups flour (1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat.)
Lightly oil two 1/2 dozen muffin tins (or 3 for smaller rolls)
In a large mixing bowl combine starter, water, yeast, salt, sugar and oil.
Stir in flour, adding flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough is manageable.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead well.
Place dough in a bowl and cover, set in a warm place to double in size.
When double, punch dough down and with lightly floured hands, form into rolls.
Place in muffin tins and let rise until doubled then bake approximately 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
Last 5 minutes of baking, brush with melted butter and return to oven.
These are mad delicious right out of the oven – this recipe makes 12 big rolls or 18 slightly smaller rolls. You can freeze them as well, but trust me: They are not going to last!