It’s really so, so easy that I’m not going to complicate it with a lot of detailed instructions. It's a simple 4 day process at a consistent room temperature of 65F-85F
Recipe for gf mix Day One Mix one cup of gf flour with 1/2 cup water—stir together, cover and let sit out on your counter overnight. Contemplate the wildyeasts, yes, they live on the flours.
Day Two Add another cup of flour, another 1/2 cup water—stir, cover and let sit out overnight at room temperature. Contemplate gratitude for the role of beneficial bacteria in our lives.
Day Three Divide the dough in half and discarded half, do something with it! The remaining half, once again add one-cup flour and 1/2 cup water -- stir, cover and let sit out overnight at room temperature. Contemplate symbiotic relationships.
Day Four Divide the dough in half and make pancakes out of the discarded half. To the remaining half, once again add one-cup flour and 1/2 cup water – stir. Stop.
You should have a levain, starter. It should be pleasantly sour tasting, smell fermented and be puffy, if not continue the pattern for one more day. The warmer the room, the faster theprocess will be. Gluten free dough will not bubble up like a wheat starter but it will puff.
Key points to keep your culture active and healthy The starter is alive so treat it like a pet, meaning-- regularly feed it, talk to it and use it to make yummy food. It will train you think ahead, which is an important quality.
Keeping the starter I use an easy method called firm levain or 4 balls in a mason jar kept in the fridge.
Mix 1 cup active starter (what you just made) with 1 cups gluten free flour mix and 1/2 cup water. I do all of this in the food processor.
Mix together and form into 4 balls 1/2 cup each.
Store them in a mason jar in refrigerator. The balls will ferment enough to use in three days.
Use the last ball to remake another batch of four fermenting balls.
Feed and remake once a week to keep things active.
If you go on vacation mix up a big batch using 4 cups flour, 1/2 cup starter (= 1 ball) and 1 cup water. Keep in one giant ball in the fridge. This should keep for two weeks without feeding.
The balls ferment slowly but are very active. I only need to feed once a week!
The firm levain balls are very convenient to use. I crumble them up in my breads, cakes, cookies etc. using the food processor to fully mix ferment with the flours.
Wild Yeast Arise!
. I was teaching an alternative flours sourdough bread class, we came to the part where we catch the wild yeasts, and a grown man raised his hand, and seriously asked if we’d need to go outside. Luckily no one laughed, outright, but a microbiologist in the group came awfully close. I explained that we wouldn't even need to stand up because yeasts and bacteria live on and around us day and night. Lucky for us the wild yeasts that we want to cultivate live in close relationship to the beneficial bacteria that will help out with the flavor development of our bread.
What you’ll need
What you need to make a gluten-free levain starter(sourdough)I’m trying to get away from the term sourdough, because wild yeast starters don’t have to be particularly sour. Levain is the French term for sourdough.
Flours/Starches I use sorghum flour and potato starch. The sorghum is high protein and mild, and the potato starch really creates yummy food for the beasties.
Waterun-chlorinated water is best.Water hydrates the starches and helps to activate the enzymes, which release the sugars which allow the yeast and bacteria access to food.
Wild Yeasts: Microscopic one celled fungi Saccharomyces exiguus, are wild yeasts found on plants, fruits, and grains. Exguus just means wild. It’s really not one specific yeast but many yeasts which are specific to a location. The yeasts initially respire aerobically, producing carbon dioxide and water. When the oxygen is depleted, fermentation begins, producing ethanol as a waste product, which is what leavens our bread.
Lactobacilli are the beneficial group of lactic acid producing bacteria that acidify the dough, creating wonderful flavors. They help the enzymes to function by lowering the pH, especially phytase whose job it is to unlocks the seeds mineral stores. They keep other spoiling bacteria at bay and provide a host of health benefits for us.
Time. All of these interconnected players will need time to establish themselves, and create an active young levain that can be used to make delicious breads and a host of other foods.
Temperature room temperature is great for fermentation. The levain balls will ferment slowly in the fridge. Overnight fermentation should be at room temperature. 65-75F