Yogurt Sourdough Starter
ready in: over 5 hrs
serves/makes: 1.33 cups
recipe id: 54252
cook method: stovetop
1 cup skim milk
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 cup all-purpose flour
The bacteria in yogurt are consistent in behavior and produce a nice moist loaf with a full sourdough flavor. When the yogurt is added to the warm milk, it provides an environment in which the bacteria can grow the flour provides the food.
There are two items that make this starter most successful when you begin. The first is that the yogurt and milk are fresh. This just means that they haven't been sitting in the refrigerator for days, becoming old and sluggish instead of healthy and productive.
The second key to success is the temperature at which the Sourdough Starter is incubated. The sourdough needs to be kept at a constant temperature between 80-90 degrees F. This can be done by keeping the container near a continuously warm fire, on the top of a refrigerator, or on the counter during the warm summer months when the weather does not cool down. The temperature affects the starter. If it's too warm, the bacteria will die; if it's too cold, the starter will develop mold. In either case, it's time to begin all over again.
In a 1 quart pan over medium heat, heat the milk to 90 -100 degrees F. Remove from heat and stir in the yogurt. Pour into a warm 3-6-cup non-reactive container with a tight lid. Let this stand in a warm place (80-90 degrees F) until the mixture is the consistency of yogurt, a curd has formed, and/or the mixture doesn't flow readily when the container is tilted (about 18-24 hours).
If some clear liquid has risen to the top of the mixture during this time, stir it back in. If the liquid has turned a light pink, discard and start again.
Once the curd has formed, stir in the flour until smooth. Cover tightly and let stand in a warm place until the mixture is full of bubbles and has a good sour smell (about 2 days). If a pink liquid forms, discard, and start the process again.
To store, keep it covered and refrigerate. To feed the starter, bring to room temp. Add warm skim or lowfat milk and flour to the starter in quantities equal to what you'll be using in the recipe-that is, if you need 1 cup of starter, then add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warmed milk. Stir well and cover tightly. Let stand in a warm place until bubbly and sour-smelling and a clear liquid has formed on top (about 12-24 hours). Use or cover and chill. Stir before using.
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