Sweet Sourdough Starter

Sourdough bread is one of the best foods ever to come out of an oven. I have baked sourdough for quite some time, but I recently made a new starter for my baking. I was inspired to make this kind of starter after I had some bakery sourdough. That bread was some of the best ever, and I wanted my own sweet sourdough starter. This starter has been around for years, and it is commonly known as the "Herman" starter. It can be used to make sweet sourdough bread, biscuits, pancakes, coffeecake, and lots more. It takes longer to make this starter than any previous starter I have tried, so patience is necessary, but it will be worth the wait. I started this batch way back before Thanksgiving, and finally got to bake my first bread with it today. Yum - o. I've heard sourdough gets better the longer you keep the starter, but I don't know how it can get any better.

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Sweet Sourdough Starter

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup milk, lukewarm
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar

In a two quart glass or ceramic container (do not use metal), combine yeast, milk, flour, and sugar; stir well. Cover with cheesecloth or other loose covering. Let set in a warm place (about 80 degrees F) for 4 days to ferment. Starter should expand and be bubbly. It will develop a slightly sour, yeasty smell.

The starter is now ready to "feed." This is the beginning of the 10 day cycle for the starter.

To feed:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar

Mix flour, milk, and sugar together. Stir mixture into starter, cover loosely, and place in the refrigerator. Stir daily. (If you forget a day, it will do no harm.)

After 5 days, feed again and refrigerate. Continue to stir daily.

After 5 more days (this is the 10th day of the cycle) feed the starter again and let set at room temperature for at least a couple of hours or more. The starter is now ready for baking.

After removing desired amount of starter for baking, cover and refrigerate the remainder.

The starter will be all bubbly and will expand after being fed. Be sure not to seal the container tightly.
Also, keep in mind - starter is a living thing and it grows when fed. On baking day before you feed the starter, remove a cup of the unfed starter to use in another recipe, give away to a friend, or discard. By removing a cup each time, the feeding will be in proportion to the amount of starter. That will also prevent -- yikes! -- a mess in the refrigerator from overflowing starter.


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