Starting Sourdough

Last week my grandkids dragged me out into the yard to eat grass. They said “try it, ‘buelo, it’s great, it’s sour!” They were eating what we used to call “sour grass “which is actually a clover-looking plant that grows in cool season around here. It’s scientific name is Oxalis, the family of Shamrock. The sour flavor comes from oxalic acid, A weak acid like vinegar. This sour taste the kids and adults alike are so attracted to made me start back to wanting to make sourdough bread and biscuits.

I got a commercial sourdough starter and began making bread. I sort of don’t really follow directions well, so at first my results were pretty awful. Oh, my family ate it all, well, what we didn’t throw to the birds or put in the dog dishes or use as doorstops and slingshot ammo.When we were in Fredericksburg I tracked down a known sourdough baker and pumped him for advice. He told me to be sure and feed my starter every day and use it a lot. Then I pulled out my Tassajara bread book, and Sourdough Jack’s book and even poured through chuckwagon cookbooks and finally The Joy of Cooking, my bible.

What resulted was that my wife suggested “why don’t you make your own starter like you used to, it was good and sour?” so I did. I chopped up a potato and mixed it in with water, flour, sugar and a little yeast, put it in a crock with cheesecloth over the top, and let it sit for a day or so. The result was wondrous! I still experiment, but next Thursday I’ll give you the recipe that works for me. It’s great holiday bread!

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