*  Exported from  MasterCook  *
 Recipe By     : 
 Serving Size  : 1    Preparation Time :0:00
 Categories    : Breads
   Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
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                         -DEBBIE CARLSON   (PHHW01A)
                         -KING ARTHUR FLOUR HINTS
   The following information comes from King Arthur Flour
   “A Short Course in Cooking With & Keeping the Elusive
   Wild Yeast”.
   What is a Sourdough Starter? “A sourdough starter is a
   wild yeast living in a batter of flour and liquid.
   Yeasts are microscopic fungi related distantly to
   mushrooms. There are many varieties of these tiny
   organisms around us everywhere. Wild yeasts are rugged
   individualists which can withstand the most extreme of
   circumstances. Some will make delicious loaves of
   bread; others will create yogurt and cheese out of
   milk; still others will turn the juices of grains and
   fruit into beer and wine.” “Active dry yeast, the kind
   we can buy in packets at our grocer’s, is a
   domesticated descendant of these wild relatives, one
   which has been grown for flavor, speed of growth and
   predictability. But domestic yeasts are much more
   fragile and can't be grown at home without eventually
   reverting to their original wild state.”
   “If you can imagine a world without any packets of
   active dry yeast, you can imagine how important your
   sourdough starter would be to you. Without it, you
   would be doomed to some pretty awful eating. It is no
   wonder that sourdough starters were treasured, fought
   over, and carried to all ends of the earth.  To the
   early prospectors, it was such a valued possession
   (almost more than the gold they were seeking), that
   they slept with it on frigid winter nights to keep it
   from freezing. (Ironically, freezing won't kill a
   sourdough starter although too much heat will.)”
   Fermentation (or the Microscopic Magic of Yeast): “As
   we mentioned above, yeast is a microscopic fungus.  As
   it feeds on the natural sugars in grain, it multiplies
   and gives off carbon dioxide (just as we do when we
   breathe). This invisible activity of yeast is called
   fermentation. When you make bread with wheat, by
   kneading the long elastic strands of wheat protein
   (called gluten) into an elastic mesh, you create traps
   for these carbon dioxide bubbles causing the dough to
   expand as if it contained a million tiny balloons.”
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