If you haven't already, please read my intro post "RB's Dutch oven cookin'
Sourdough baking is somewhat slower than many of the other methods used but after eating the bread and other “bakin’s” using sourdough starter, most people decide it is well worth the extra time and trouble. Sourdough is especially adapted to out-door cooking and cooking on the campfire is a treat to the ‘dude’ and a way of life for the working cowboy.
The first thing necessary for sourdough bread or other sourdough “bakin’s” is the “starter” or the basic dough that is kept in good working condition by the cook.
One of the most important items in making and keeping sourdough starter going is the container. The best one being an earthenware crock with a good lid, close fitting but not airtight. DO NOT use a tinned container as the sourness of the dough will cause a poison. The size of the container will depend on the number of people you are going to cook for and the amount of “starter” you wish to keep made up. For the following recipe a 3-quart to 1-gallon size crock is sufficient. If the container is too small, the sponge will run out when it starts “working.”
Directions for starter:
1 cake yeast or 1 package Fleischmann’s dry yeast dissolved in 2 pints (4 cups) warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 pints (4 cups) flour
1 raw potato cut in fourths
Mix in crock and let rise until very light and slightly aged. The time required for this depends on the temperature. If the weather is very hot the “starter” will be ready for use in 10 to 12 hours. If the weather is cold it will require more time for the starter to become ready to use. When the “starter” is light and bubbling it is ready to use. Do not let the sponge get too sour because this will cause the water to rise to the top and when this happens the bread will not rise properly.
Keeping the starter warm enough to work good in the wintertime is important, so I have wrapped the crock in a blanket and put a burning lantern in my teepee with my sourdough and myself. Of course the cowboys tel me I take it to bed with me. Sourdough starter is as temperamental as a woman so treat it like your wife—“with tender loving care.”
Sourdough starter works much better when it is stirred often so I tell the cowboys that I keep a frog in the crock to keep the sourdough stirred for me……
The next segment I post will be Sourdough biscuits and how to keep the starter alive.
RB's Sourdough Starter
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