*  Exported from  MasterCook  *
 
                KING ARTHUR FLOUR - SOURDOUGH STARTER TIPS 1
 
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 Serving Size  : 1    Preparation Time :0:00
 Categories    : Information                      Breads
 
   Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
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                         CARLSON   (PHHW01A) -- KING ARTHUR FLOUR HI
 
 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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