Compared to our San Francisco starter, this Alaskan sourdough starter adds a much milder, almost sweet flavor to every bread it is used in.
What is sourdough
Sourdough bread is made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast. Sourdough bread has a more sour taste and better inherent keeping qualities than breads made with baker’s yeast, due to the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli.
About our Alaska sourdough starter
Alaska has a rich sourdough culture. Anyone who has ever been to Alaska has probably heard – or tasted – a sourdough starter handed down from the Gold Rush era. Sourdough is such an important part of Alaskan culture that people who have spent more than one winter in Alaska are allowed to carry the honor title of ‘sourdoughs’. This remote location brings some unique yeasts that give our Alaska sourdough starter an equally unique flavor.
How does the Alaska sourdough compare to San Francisco sourdough?
Compared to our San Francisco starter, it adds a much milder, sometimes almost sweet flavor to everything it is used in. If you want to experience an American sourdough but are not a fan of the fairly sour San Francisco style, we recommend trying this starter!
Content Alaska sourdough starter
- 5 grams of dried Alaskan sourdough
- It only takes about 1 week to activate once you start!
Why a dried starter?
- A dried starter has a long shelf life
- easy to ship / take with you, also abroad
- do not deteriorate due to transportation
- light in weight (shipping)
- you can buy it even if you do not plan to make sourdough bread that week
- you can keep some in hand in case your sourdough dies
- after activation, the operation of the sourdough is identical to fresh sourdough
Maybe it’s best to do this on a weekend (maybe start on a Thursday) when you’re in the area.
Read through this before you begin with an up-front idea of what supplies and ingredients you’ll need each day.
A note about metal: it is best to avoid metals when working with sourdough, especially aluminum and copper, which can react hard with the microorganisms and acids. Stainless steel is great for mixing or making bread, but opt for glass, china, or a food-grade plastic for storage.
Sourdough is a living organism and working with it has a learning curve. Just like a pet or plant, it will behave differently with different temperatures, climates, flour, etc. You will quickly learn the subtle rhythms and preferences, simply through simple day-to-day observations. You can even name your sourdough starter like many others do!
No matter how detailed this may seem, you don’t have to feel intimidated or concerned, as long as you care, life will!
You can bake with this starter once activated, in about 5-10 days!
- a clean, clear (easier to view) glass, plastic or ceramic pot or bowl or large cup (which can hold at least 2 cups, this little starter needs room to grow!)
- a wooden or plastic spoon to stir
- measuring spoons and / or scales
- a room with a reasonably stable (room) temperature.
- The starter (keep something to be sure)
- Whole grain flour.
- Keep at least a kilo handy. Whole wheat, spelled, rye are a better option than white at the beginning because the added nutrients help the yeast and bacteria get a better jump start. You can switch to any flour or flour later, if desired, after the starter is active and strong.
- Tap water
1. Take 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water and put it in a jar or bowl.
2. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the starter from the bag to the water and stir. Let the starter hydrate for about 5-15 minutes.
3. Add 1 tablespoon of whole wheat flour
Mix until evenly distributed.
5. Check if the consistency of the batter is good. The consistency should not be too smooth or too stiff to stir. Just nice and thick.
6. Cover your pot / bowl with something clean and breathable (cloth, paper towel, loose lid, loose plastic wrap, paper, etc.). Store somewhere out of direct sunlight, at room temperature.
After about 24 hours, this may or may not show signs of bubbling. Most likely there is a layer of water on your flower. If it looks really dry, cover it with a thicker cloth or a loose lid for step 2 today. If you see small air bubbles above or in the whole lot, it means that it is activated and ‘eats’.
1. Anyway (bubbles or not), feed another 1 tablespoon of flour (about 8 g) and 1 tablespoon of water. Stir the mixture well.
2. Put the cloth over it again and let it ferment for another 24 hours.
After 24 hours, it may already show signs of bubbling, and the consistency of the dough will be more pancake batter-like.
1. Now add 3 tablespoons of flour (or about 25 g) of 25 grams of water
2. Let sit again for 24 hours or until doubled
Repeat. Now your starter will likely double in about 3-8 hours (depending on the temperature)
DAY 5 – 7
Your starter is ready for use.
Online English spoken workshop ‘how to make your own miso’
During this online master class, Dutch foodwriter and fermentation expert ‘Meneer Wateetons’ will teach you how to make your own miso. Thanks to a special form of fermentation, two very modest and rather boring ingredients come together to form one of the most beautiful, complex substances on earth. Mister Wateetons tells you exactly how that fermentation works and what you need for it, how you can make miso at home from now on, how you can speed up the process of making miso, how you can vary endlessly on these two basic ingredients and what kind of cool things you can do with miso. Click here for more info.