Sourdough Summer

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This summer we’ve had an extra mouth to feed everywhere we’ve traveled throughout the Yucatán peninsula. It’s not all bad, though. This constant companion is silent, housebroken, and never whines or complains. And perhaps best of all, it makes a delectable pizza crust.

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In an effort to improve our digestive health, we began our first sourdough starter almost three months ago, and our kitchen has never been the same. After looking through several online directions, we settled on the tips provided by King Arthur Flour (given our Vermont roots, we’re probably a bit biased). All you really need is a dedicated container with a lid (most people use glass, but we already had a plastic jar) and a steady supply of whole grain flour. One cup whole wheat flour and a half cup water gets things started. Then every day we “feed” the starter in the same way, one cup flour and a half cup water.

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One part of the instructions did make us feel uneasy, though. Once a day, you need to remove half of the starter before you feed it. Many people just compost or throw out the discard, but that felt pretty wasteful. Fortunately, there are a wealth of recipes available to turn the cast-off starter into everything from muffins and pretzels to biscuits and pancakes. Basically, every time we feed the starter we use whatever we take out in a recipe. It is a bit of a commitment, but it helps to know we always have the option to stick the starter in the fridge and just feed it once a week instead.

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For the moment at least, our sourdough starter is making its way into at least one baked good every day. Our favorite recipe, which we find to be the most versatile, is a flatbread recipe from King Arthur. We use just the flatbread (not the topping or filling) part, minus the dry milk. The recipe makes a tasty bread for sandwiches, and also serves as a spectacular pizza crust!

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With fall around the corner, our sourdough summer shows no signs of letting up. While the exact starter we are using at the moment won’t be leaving Cozumel, part of our new ritual upon moving into a rental will undoubtedly now include beginning a new one. Six mouths to feed is really not that bad in the end, especially when one helps to feed the others 🙂

 

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