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Making Sourdough Starter
A sourdough sponge, waiting in the refrigerator, means always having a way to make fresh bread - even if you are out of yeast. While some people think that the only way to get a sourdough starter is from someone else that already has one, the truth is you can make your own at home in just a few days. Once made, keep it in the refrigerator and feed it weekly.
Find yourself a half or gallon size jar with a lid. Clean pickle jars work well for this since they have a wide-mouth opening. You'll also need a square of cheesecloth big enough to cover the opening. If you don't have cheesecloth, a clean dish or washrag will do.
Measure two cups of flour into the glass jar. Add two cups of water (or milk, if you want the sourdough to be very sour). Place the lid on the jar and shake until the flour is completely dissolved in the liquid. Remove the lid and cover the opening with the cheesecloth. If you have a rubber band large enough, you can secure the cloth to the opening.
Place the jar in a warm area of your kitchen. If you happen to have a wood stove, place the jar behind the stove. Allow it to sit for two to three days, or until the mixture has a distinct, pungent sour odor.
Place the lid on the starter and store it in the refrigerator. Be sure to use at least one cup of the starter every week for bread. Feed the started by adding one cup each of flour and water, stirring to incorporate the additions into the existing starter.