Sour Dough Starters By Chef Michael Scott
How to care for the wild yeast starter (Mother)
Generally 2 cups of the starter is enough to keep on hand at any time.
When using the starter remove half of it and place in a bowl, this is called the
o Add equal parts flour and water to the original starter stirring to
o Each time you take some of the starter you must replace what you took
with fresh flour and water.
o If you do not use the starter for a long period you should feed it with
approximately ½ cup flour and some water once a week.
o Liquid will separate from the starter and collect on the surface; this is OK
as long as the starter receives fresh flour once a week.
o Keep your starter neutral using only plain bread flour, water and never
add salt to the starter.
To prepare the sponge for making fresh bread:
o Add 1 cup of flour and ½ cup of water to the sponge and let set covered
overnight at room temperature.
o The next day place 4-5 cups of flour in a bowl.
o Add 1 tsp. fine sea salt for every cup of flour and mix to combine, make a
well in the center of the flower.
o Place the sponge in the well with 2 cups of water.
o Stir with a fork to incorporate the flour.
o The dough should come together, additional flour or water may need to
be added to achieve the perfect consistency.
o The dough should be slightly tacky and clean the side of the bowl.
o Knead the dough until soft and elastic, roll the dough into a tight ball and
place in a bowl dusted with flour.
o Dust the top of the dough with more flour, cover with plastic wrap and let
proof (rise) until almost double.
While the dough is proofing prepare a large lidded cast iron (Dutch oven) by
heating the bottom part only in a 450° F
o When the dough is ready, carefully invert the iron pot over the bowl and
flip over so the dough turns out into the heated pot.
o With a pair of scissors, cut several slices in the top of the dough.
o Cover with the lid and bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes.
o Remove the lid and continue baking for another 10 minutes until golden
brown, (deep dark colors are suggested however be careful not to burn).
The dough can also be prepared on the back of sheet pan that has been dusted
with cornmeal so the dough can slide into the hot pot.
o When using this method be carful to keep the dough covered while
o The cover should not touch the dough as it may stick and cause the dough
to deflate when uncovering.
o Before sliding the dough into the pot, score the top with scissors or a
o Cover and bake as described as above.