Read to the bottom of the post if you want to enter the give-away.
A couple of months ago Sherm told me about the fine folks at Sourdough International. You can find their sidebar advert over there>>>>> The effort was started by Dr. Ed Wood, a pathologist who stumbled upon sourdough cultures in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. Dr. Wood proceeded to collect samples of sourdough from around the world, and now sells these to people like us.
Dr. Wood recently sent me some samples to review, along with his book, Classic Sourdoughs. The book is well written and easy to understand, but the best part is that it totally de-mystifies all of the bunk and hoo-hah that have grown up around sourdough culture. All this because we can trust Dr. Wood's training as a pathologist.
I tried the San Francisco sourdough culture. It is composed of a bacteria culture (which contributes the sour tang) paired with a wild yeast (which provides the leaven). The two working together make the magic symbiotically. The culture took off within the first 24 hours after hydrating, and within three days I was cooking. Here's a picture of my sourdough pancake batter after fermenting overnight:
The pancakes were much more chewy than baking powder pancakes. We added applesauce, and the tart apple made a nice compliment to the very distinct sourdough tang.
I also made sourdough bread today. Here's a picture of the culture after sitting overnight, ready to knead up with flour:
Dr. Wood is responsible for providing reliable cultures. His samples took off immediately. I am responsible for learning how to bake. This I am still learning how to do. The bread turned out reasonably, but not yet wonderful. Much of the challenge is being able to control the thermal environment. I live in a drafty old house and winter is setting in.
Naturally I have many more thoughts to share about sourdough, but let us end here with a challenge. Share with us a recipe or foodways tradition in your family that ties back to Mormon pioneers, at least one hundred and ten years ago. Identify the name of the person your tradition ties to, and a few details about that person. I'll post again in three days. Any comments following will be put in the running. The winner gets one of Dr. Wood's cultures, and a runner up will get a PBW apron!
On your mark, get set, GO!