Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's a Sourdough Special

August 29 - Day #4

(Starter, Reflector Oven, Biscuits, Dumplings, Pancakes, Corn Bread)

Sourdough Starter

Liquid layer on top:
Naturally occurring alcohol,
Before use Stir it in or pour it off.
Today we are learning the basics and many uses of keeping sourdough starter for bush craft cooking that would make anyone a happy camper. This is also thee most traditional and natural way for all your baked goods. Sourdough starter is just a mixture of flour, water and yeast. There is  natural bacteria and yeast in the air all around us, so if you only have the flour and water, leaving the container uncovered for a few days will allow the yeast in the air to become part of your mixture and the fermentation process. Whenever the recipe calls for a cup of your starter just replace what you take with more flour and room temperature water ( keeping a pancake batter type consistency, not too thick and not too watery ) this is called "inoculation" or "feeding" your starter. I have had the same container of sourdough starter for 4 months, some have had their starter for years.. If you can get a cup of starter off of a friend it would make it easier to get things going, just feed it to make more. Upon taking the lid off and smelling it you should understand why its called "sour"dough. Lastly if you aren't using it often, keep your starter in the refrigerator. It needs warmer temperatures to ferment and grow, there is a possibility of mold to grow on the top after awhile when not using it. No worries, just skim it off the top and stir before every use. If your sourdough starter freezes, it's ok, this will not harm the starter and is actually a good way to preserve it when taking a break from its use. I do not buy anymore bread products from the store, it's fun, it's easy and everything you make tastes satisfyingly delicious.

Reflector Oven 

You tend to appreciate your meals more when effort is put into the gathering of fire wood, creating the fire, preparing the meal and paying close attention to cooking the food that is going to give you the energy needed to stay strong and healthy. We do all of our cooking over an open fire and making sourdough bread definitely puts a smile on everyone because it's delicious and in abundance. To make a batch of biscuits for the group we use a "Reflector Oven".  Basically it's a metal (aluminum) rectangle with one side left open and a ledge on either side for your baking tray. The open side faces the fire and cooks like any oven but more fun!! May have to turn the tray around once or twice while cooking. There was plenty of Yukons Gold all semester to top it off :)

Sourdough Biscuits

• 2 cups sourdough starter
• 1/3-1/2 cup oil or fat
 • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
• Spice as desired

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Dump in starter and oil and mix. Add a 1-2 tablespoons of water to the soda, stir it up, then mix in. Drop biscuit-sized balls of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until they’re just starting to brown. Biscuits are our bread of choice in the bush because they’re so easy. We bake these in the bush all the time because there is no proof time, just mix and bake. They look great when they’re browning in the reflector oven. To make a loaf of biscuits, cut the recipe in half and bake in a 9” pie pan.

Sourdough Dumplings

Mix up a batch of sourdough biscuit dough. Scoop spoon- fulls of the dough into the top of a simmering stew, keeping them afloat by not dropping from a height. Cover quickly and don’t peek for 15 minutes.

Sourdough Pancakes

• 2 cups sourdough starter
• 2 tbsp. sugar
• 3 tbsp. oil or fat
• ½ tsp. salt
• 1 ½ tsp. baking soda

Mix ingredients, leaving baking soda until just before your batter is ready for the pan. Dilute baking soda in 1-2 Tbsp. water and mix into batter. Don’t beat it, just mix it in. Batter will bubble from the soda. Fry on hot pan or griddle.

Sourdough Cornbread

• 3 cups sourdough starter
• 2 tbsp. oil or fat
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 ½ cups cornmeal
• 1 cup flour

Use either white or whole wheat flour. Mix dry ingredients first, then add starter and oil. Mix well. Pour dough onto floured surface or leave it in the mixing bowl and knead the dough with your hands.  Place loaf in greased bread pan, or break up into smaller loaves and put directly on baking sheet. Set in a warm place for a half hour to four hours; the longer it sits, the lighter the bread. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. You can also test for doneness by thumping the loaf with your finger. If you hear a hollow sound, the bread is done.


Use your imagination, have fun and ENJOY!!!  :)

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