Sourdough starter is the key to how to make sourdough bread. The sour flavor of sourdough bread varies from bakery to bakery, thanks to the starter. Making sourdough starter takes little time commitment and has the potential to expand the fresh baked section of a restaurant or bakery with interesting flavors, unique to the venue. The flavor of the starter will depend on the environment in which the business is found, as well as the sourdough starter recipe. Though some bread baking enthusiasts are disappointed, at first, by the flavor of fresh baked bread made with their sourdough starter, by experimenting with different sourdough starter recipes and storage conditions, most can create delicious bread.
The Right Sourdough Starter Recipe
The right sourdough starter recipe will depend on the taste preferences of cooks and customers and environment of the place it is being prepared. Sometimes it can take a lot of experimentation for a cook to come up with his/her ideal sourdough starter recipe. A sourdough starter recipe always includes flour and water as the basic ingredients. Flour and water, and even air, can be sources of yeast for starters. Starters rise because of the presence of yeast, microorganisms which break down the flour as a source of energy and produce carbon dioxide which causes dough and starters to rise, along with lactic and acetic acid which give the dough its sour taste. Sourdough starter recipe variations always include flour and water, and sometimes another source of yeast, such as whole grapes. The mixture is left to sit for at least 12 hours and up to a few days, until it bubbles and doubles in size. The mixture is then “fed” on a regular basis with additional flour and water to keep the yeast alive and working. Specific sourdough starter recipe variations give specific quantities for each ingredient. However, many restaurants and bakeries eyeball the quantities. Different storage temperatures, types of water, types of flour, and sources of yeast will yield different flavors of dough.
How to Make Sourdough Bread
Between the feeding steps, the starter will continue to grow, so it is important to either use the starter or remove some during the process. Sourdough bread recipes usually call for a certain amount of sourdough starter and use minimal other ingredients such as salt, water, and flour. The simplicity of the other ingredients allows the taste of the sourdough starter to be the dominant flavor in the bread. Delicious artisan breads, such as those made with sourdough starters, often incorporate additional ingredients such as chopped walnuts, olives, or sundried tomatoes, which add color and subtle flavors to the loaves.
Artisan bread can boost the culinary level of any bakery or restaurant. Providing homemade foods, such as by baking bread in-house, impresses customers and provides delicious, unique ingredients for dishes such as sandwiches or even in complementary bread baskets. Part of why homemade foods are considered gourmet and luxury, is the ability of cooks and chefs to fine tune their flavors to meet customer tastes and demands. Sourdough bread, and artisan bread in general, are excellent foods to prepare from scratch in order to create unique flavors to characterize a venue.