I have not been one to use white flour in a very long time. In fact, I can't recall the last time I honestly bought a bag of it from the store. I think it was about 5 years ago to make some recipe that "required" it. The white flour sat around for so long, that it turned into a block of white concrete in the New Jersey humidity! I ended up making the recipe that "required" it with whole wheat flour and it must have turned out okay because no one seems to recall a failed flour recipe!
Sourdough starter is one of those recipes that I will never make with white flour. Although some people may claim that you can't make the starter without it, white flour has not been around nearly as long as sourdough has. In fact, sourdough is closest to the biblical recipe as one can get these days. At least until someone discovers a recipe card in the mid-eastern deserts, that is!
It has been shown repeatedly that whole grains tend to have a better and often higher natural yeast content than any pre-ground, processed flour. This has also been my personal experience over the years. The starter I have created from whole wheat, faro or einkorn has been much more active, and healthier than anything I attempted "back in the day" with white flour. Because of this evidence, I much prefer to create our starter from the simple, old fashioned freshly ground whole grains.
Here is the recipe that I have gotten accustomed to using. It is very simple to create because it uses two ingredients that many people will have on hand in their food storage: Water and grains ground into flour.
Basic Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter
NOTE: Use this recipe for our Traditional Whole Wheat Sourdough
To begin your starter:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup room temperature, filtered water (about 70 degrees)
A glass jar, crock or bowl that can be easily, yet loosely covered. I like to use a glass quart size canning jar, a metal ring and a coffee filter. Place the flour and water into the jar and stir until very well combined, making sure that there is no dry flour left. Cover with the coffee filter and place the metal ring on. Let the mixture sit at room temperature (about 68-75 degrees is optimal) for 24 hours.
Day 2: There may or may not be activity showing as yet - activity would be little bubbles in the mix or there appearing to be more mix than the day before. It may just look like what you started with on day one. Either way, take 1/2 of the mixture, set it aside in a bowl (See below for ideas to do with the discarded starter so that you do not waste). To the mix remaining in the jar, add 1/2 cup of room temperature, filtered water and 1 scant Cup of whole grain flour. Mix well, recover, and let mixture rest at room temperature for another 24 hours.
Day 3: By day 3 you should be seeing some activity - bubbles, evidence of expanding dough. This is the day you will start feeding the dough 2 times per day. Try to feed it as evenly spaced apart as possible - 12 hours.
For each feeding, stir down the dough, then take a generous 1/2 cup of starter and mix it with 1 scant cup of whole wheat flour with 1/2 cup room temperature, filtered water. Stir thoroughly, cover, and set aside for approx 12 hours. Remember to use your discarded starter for something, or set it aside to use later with additional discarded starter.
Day 4: Repeat steps for Day 3.
Day 5: Repeat steps for Day 3. By the end of Day 5, you may start to see that the starter is “doubling" You should also see lots of bubbles, and it should have a tangy, tart, or “sour” but pleasant aroma. If it is not this active as yet, you may need to continue the feeding process for days 6 and 7. (On rare occasions, or in colder weather, it may take a bit longer to develop fully)
-- When the starter has reached the point described on Day 5, you will want to give it one final feeding before storing in the refrigerator. Feed as usual, mix well, let the starter rest for 4-8 hours to see a generous amount of bubbles breaking the surface of the starter. Now you may place it in the refrigerator for “permanent” storage.
Make sure to feed your starter at least once per week with 1 Scant cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup water, just as you have fed it during the process. By removing all but 1/2 cup from the permanent container, setting aside the removed portion to make a loaf of bread, rolls, or other recipe. To the remaining 1/2 cup add your water and flour. I like to leave it out on the counter for about an hour to rest before putting it back into the refrigerator, just to give it a little time to start its process.
Now you can enjoy fresh sourdough bread products any time you would like to!
NOTE: If I allow the starter to set in the fridge for a week, I often see a brown or dark liquid on top of the starter. This is a sign that your starter is HUNGRY! Feed it! It is best that you not allow it to get to that point, though, so that you do not starve it to the point of inactivity. This liquid is commonly known as "hooch" and is a naturally occurring alcohol. YES, this should be pour off and discarded before feeding your starter. I find that if "hooch" happens more often, it means I need to feed it more often.
More troubleshooting tips can be found here:
I am always a fan of waste-not-want-not, so I do not dispose of our sourdough starter when we are starting a new batch every spring. When the recipe says to discard it, I always discard it right into a bowl and make pretzels, bagels, or muffins from it. BUT my favorite is to make whole wheat crackers and have them with some cheese. Here's my favorite recipe for a tasty snack:
I think of all my gluten-free recipes, the Gluten Free Rolls is one of my most used and favorites. It is so flexible and quick to make. It does take a bit of time to rise, sometimes up to 2 hours depending on kitchen temps, but still its fast and easy. You can whip it up in a few minutes, and then shape it into whatever you want, let it rise while you do several other things around the house! Then bake and hide. . . . yes, hide. . . Once the rolls are done baking, you may have to hide them until dinner is served or there won't be any left!
I have used this recipe for hot dog buns, hamburger buns, rolls for meatball sandwiches, flat bread, pizza crust and my latest - focaccia! I wanted to share photos with you of the process, because this one was a bit different than just molding into the shape for the desired rolls. I will have to upload those later after I make another batch because it was so good with the basil, oregano, garlic, onion, and olive oil that it didn't stick around long enough for a finished photo.
In the mean time, what you will need to mix up the focaccia is:
The Recipe for Gluten Free Dinner Rolls and add
3/4 tsp dry basil
1/2 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
More or less to personal taste.
Add the dry herbs and spices to the dry ingredients of the Dinner Roll Recipe and mix well. Mix as usual and the set aside while you grease a baking sheet or stone. The dough will be soft. Olive oil works wonderful for the pan and adds great flavor to the bottom of the Focaccia.
Place the dough on the baking sheet. Wet hands and spread the dough out a little bit, then cover with a piece of parchment paper. Using your hands or a rolling pin on top of the parchment, work the dough out toward the edges until it is about 1/2-5/8 inch thick. carefully remove the parchment - it will likely stick, so pull back carefully to try avoiding tearing the dough. Allow to rise for 45-60 minutes (Some days I allow it to rise for up to two hours if it's chilly). Brush gently with olive oil and, if desired, sprinkle with parmesan. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-18 minutes. Cut into desired sized pieces and serve warm with soups, pastas, casseroles, or just enjoy!
Have you been looking for a simple yet tasty recipe for gluten free dinner rolls that your family will enjoy? We have a recipe for you that uses just 8 simple ingredients, and the end result is a delicious roll that is perfect with soups, salads, and pasta dishes. This recipe can be whipped up and left to rise in just a few minutes, then risen and baked golden brown, brushed with butter and served hot in just about an hour and a half. We have served them brushed with plain melted butter and even with fresh pressed garlic and melted butter, for a nice hot garlic roll. Italian spices added into the dry ingredients would spice them up a bit to go with the evenings Spaghetti and meatballs, or some Southwestern spices to go with a hot and spicy casserole. Let your imagination run away with them and enjoy!
GLUTEN FREE Dinner Rolls
1 Cup warm water (approx 100-110 degrees)
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 tsp Instant Yeast
2 1/2 Cups Gluten Free Flour
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds, ground (may also use 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
1 tsp Salt
1 egg, room temperature
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Mix together the warm water and 2 Tbsp. of the sugar. Add the yeast and allow to sit while you mix together the dry ingredients. Place the dry ingredients, including the balance of the sugar, in the mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly. With mixer on low speed, pour in water, sugar, yeast mixture, then add egg, and melted butter. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Mixture should be slightly gooey, but not too sticky. Add a small amount more of flour if needed. Grease an 8 or 9 inch round baking pan. Scoop 8-9 mounds into the pan to look like a pan of dinner rolls. (Hint: Scoop one into the middle and then 8 around the outside edges for even spacing). Dip fingertips into water and smooth out the tops. Cover with a dry towel and let rise in a warm place 45 - 60 minutes. During the last few minutes of rising time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. When oven is ready bake for 25-28 minutes until tops are golden brown. Brush finished rolls with additional melted butter and serve hot.
Brush with melted olive oil or butter to which has been added crushed garlic or garlic powder for garlic rolls. Also great hot right out of the oven and dipped into herbed olive oil.
Judi has over 20 years experience in food storage, herbs, essential oils, and prepping. She was a captain in the USAF-AUX, FEMA trained, Community Emergency Response Team member and NRA marksmanship award recipient. She shares her experiences with her readers offering tips and recipes.
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