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Master Food Preserver's

MFP Virtual Sourdough Workshops

On February 11, 24 and 25 the San Mateo & San Francisco Master Food Preservers, working with San Mateo County Libraries, presented three classes on Sourdough Bread.  The classes were a great success.  We had 589 signups and 392, 278 and 391 attendees for each of the three classes.

The classes were broken down into three parts over two weeks.   Each class started with a demonstration of the topic, a rehash of the last class and then opened up to a question-and-answer session with participants entering questions into Zoom chat. 


Class 1 - on Feb. 11th - was all about creating your own sourdough starter. 

First, we talked about different flours and how important non-chlorinated/non-chemically treated water was needed to create a starter.  We discussed volume versus metric measurements and stressed that metric measurements with a scale were the most consistent way to go.  We also discussed time and temperature.  It is important to know that your starter, leaven, and dough all need a consistent temperature to produce good results.

We walked the class through the basic formula for creating a starter.  Mix an equal part of water and flour together and let it sit overnight.  The next day discard half of the mix and add an equal amount of water and flour to the remaining starter.  Continue to do that for the next 12 days.  After 5-7 days you should see bubbles and you are on your way to creating a starter.

Class 2 - on Feb. 24th - was all about using your newly created starter to make a leaven.

Class 2 started with a rehash of creating starter, different flour types and what kind of water to use.  We then discussed the reasons they were making a leaven and not just using their starter.  The idea being that they just use a portion of their starter to make a fresh leaven and then continue to refresh their starter for the next time they bake.

To make the leaven we used a small portion of our starter, 10 grams, and added that to 100 grams of water and 100 grams of flour.  We let that ferment for anywhere from 8-24 hours.  An 8 hour or younger leaven will give you a less acidic bread while a 24-hour leaven may give you bread with more acidic flavors.

Class 3 - on Feb. 25th - was all about using your leaven to build your bread along with how to mix, fold and shape your dough.

Picture of sourdough boule provided by a class participant
Picture of sourdough boule provided by a class participant
Once again, the class started with a rehash of how to make a starter and how to use your starter to make a leaven and time and temperature.  It included how and when to mix all your ingredients together and how to handle your dough while it was fermenting.

We started by measuring out half of the leaven, 100 grams, and mixing it with 325 grams of water.  We then added 500 grams of flour and hand mixed to a shaggy consistency.  We let that sit for 30 minutes and then added 10 grams of salt and 25 grams of water and mixed by hand until fully incorporated.

At that point we used other dough that was prepared earlier to demonstrate how to fold and shape your dough.  We also discussed how to score your dough and how to bake it.



With thanks to the San Mateo County Library people for their help in hosting this and other workshops (link here).