The Step-by-Step Guide to Sourdough Starters
Baking Loaves, Baguettes, Pancakes, and More
By; Carroll Pellegrinelli
Published: October 15, 2019
Publisher: Rockridge Press
I am absolutely intimidated by baking bread. I have a bread machine and have made a few good loaves, but understanding the process of yeast, rising, kneading, etc is overwhelming to me. I thought the idea of having a sourdough starter available to whip up a loaf would maybe help me be less intimidated.
I had no idea how much time and effort it took at the beginning of the sourdough process. Unfortunately, I can’t commit to that right now with my sporadic schedule. I can’t guarantee I will be available on day 3 to stir or on day 5 to feed the starter or to even give the once a week feeding after that. It reminds me of Amish Friendship Bread but just a bit more steps. So, I didn’t give this an actual try yet, but I do think it is doable if I can make the time for it. I just need to count ahead and make sure we aren’t gone for the weekend in case that is a day I need to feed the starter. Sometimes the feeding is down to specific hours and so if this is something you want to do, make sure you have look ahead at your calendar.
The beginning of the book shares Pellegrinelli’s specific steps for starting your sourdough. She explains everything extremely clearly with tips, prepping suggestions, graphics, and photos to make sure you are doing everything properly. She also explains the science behind sourdough starter and the various flours you can use and how they will react.
Once you’ve got your starter, then you can use that in various recipes she shares. Loaves of bread that I am most interested in trying at some point include a Classic Whole-Wheat Artisan Bread, a Perfect Italian Sourdough, Rustic Oatmeal Honey Bread, Sourdough Baguettes, Ciabatta, and Pecan Waffles.
All of her recipes are very easy to understand and she includes a brief story or explanation with each one. The end of the book includes a glossary of terms, flavor profile charts, measurement and conversion tables, and a recipe index. There are not as many photos as I would like in a cookbook. Once you arrive in the recipe section, there are only photos at each chapter cover, and not of every bread.
For the beginning bread maker, this book is a great introduction and thorough explanation of starting the sourdough process. The best part of starting the sourdough is you have starter to share with a friend!
Carroll Pellegrinelli has been baking for as long as she can remember. When her father took up bread baking, Carroll soon followed suit. For almost 20 years, Carroll wrote about desserts and baking for About.com and The New York Times Company.
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