Sourdough Leaven

Alan Reid, Red Beard Historic Bakery
Cook time 2-4 weeks

Ingredients

potatoes
whole rye flour
water

Sourdough Leaven

Method

1. Wash and peel organic potatoes – potato peelings are rich in lactose bacteria and yeast (sourdough culture).

2. Submerge peel in cup of cool water, add 2 tablespoons of whole rye flour and mix. Store in glass/ceramic/plastic container with loose-fitting lid (to prevent contamination from other organisms) at constant room temperature – eg in your pantry. Bubbles should form in mixture after two or three days.

3. Remove peel and mix in more whole rye flour to make slurry.  Use approximately 3 parts water to 2 parts flour: too thick and yeast and bacteria cannot migrate easily; too thin and their food is depleted too quickly.

4. For next week dispose of all but one tablespoon of mixture from cupful each day. Mix remaining tablespoon through fresh batch of flour and water – this is called ‘feeding’ your leaven.

5. After one week, start disposing of all but one teaspoon from cupful of mix each day – your culture should take 12-24 hours to reach peak activity. Bacteria and mould will take over if too much ripe mixture is transferred to fresh batch or if ripe mix is left too long. Allow one more week of daily feeding for mixture or ‘leaven’ to mature.

6. The night before baking, add one teaspoon of ripe leaven to fresh batch of flour and water. It should be ready to incorporate in dough in morning (see bread recipe).

 

TIPS:

Get used to the smell of your leaven – it should be sweet and pungent, smelling of apple cider when very ripe.

Feed your leaven at the same time every day so that you don’t forget it – last thing at night is best.

Don’t expose it direct sunlight.

Find uses for disposed leaven

 

THIS RECIPE IS COPYRIGHT REDBEARD HISTORIC BAKERY AND NOT TO BE REPRODUCED FOR ANY PURPOSE.