Welcome to the Official Website for Richard Proenneke . American Naturalist
May 4, 1916 - April 20, 2003
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Order your Heirloom Sourdough Starter Spoon today!
Straight from Lisa Frederic's "Raven About Alaska" we are now offering the Original Heirloom Sourdough Starter Golden Spoons! This is the same Sourdough Starter that Dick Proenneke was given as a gift from his good friend Mary Alsworth when Dick set out to build his cabin at Twin Lakes, Alaska.
ABOUT SOURDOUGH STARTER
Sourdough starters are often kept alive for decades. The wooden spoons are dipped into the starter. The starter is activated by soaking the coated portion of the wooden spoon and is then blended with white flour. Once the mixture has a consistency of thick pancake mix it is lighty covered and set aside in a warm place.
Over the next two days stirring occasionally tiny bubbles appear as the sourdough begins "working." After a couple of days the mixture is full of bubbles and nearly doubled in size. More flour and warm water to again make a consistency of thick pancake mix and let it "work" for another 12 hours or so.
The starter is now ready for any sourdough recipe, but don't forget to save a small amount of pure starter - just a tablespoon will do.
For sourdough recipes click here
ACTIVATE YOUR STARTER
Soak the coated portion of the Golden Spoon in 1/2 cup warm water (not too hot - it could kill the yeast! Test the water on your wrist like a baby’s bottle.) A small jelly jar works real well. The dried sourdough starter will turn the water cloudy after a 1/2 hour or so, then you can blend in 3/4 cup white flour. The mixture should have a consistency of a thick pancake mix - add more warm water if you need to. Lightly cover the container and set it somewhere warm - 80 degrees is an ideal temperature.
Over the next 2 days occasionally stir your starter and soon you will start seeing tiny bubbles appear as the sourdough starts "working". The more patience you have at this point the better tasting those first flapjacks are going to taste! After a couple of days you will start to see that the mixture is full of bubbles and has almost doubled in size! Add another cup of flour and enough warm water to make a consistency once again similar to a thick pancake mix. Let this "work" for another 12 hours or so.
You can now use the starter following any sourdough recipe! Just remember to save a small amount of pure starter - even a tablespoon full will get you going. Personally I keep a small sourdough pot in the refrigerator. When I am interested in using some, I pull out the jar to let it warm up to room temperature overnight. I pull out a cup or so of starter - depending on the recipe - and put it in a bowl with the specific amount of flour called for. I "feed" the main sourdough pot in the morning with a cup or so of flour/water mixed to the consistency of a thick pancake mix. If I have time I let this sit on the counter for an hour or so before returning it to the refrigerator.
DICK PROENNEKE AND HIS
Many very good sourdough cultures come from Alaska. Because the wilderness is unspoiled by many of the farm chemicals, air pollution, etc. that are common in the "lower 48 states," the Alaskan sourdoughs have more active yeasts and molds that work together to make bread delicious. These cultures are valued by bakers all over the country.
In 1968 Babe Alsworth hauled Dick Proenneke and his plane load of gear to Twin Lakes where he would build his cabin. In his essential supplies was a tiny supply of batter from Babe's wife Mary from her own sourdough pot. And for the next thirty years Dick made something from the sourdough starter nearly every meal whether it be biscuits, flapjacks or cakes. Dick can be seen making biscuits and pancakes in the DVD "Alone In The Wilderness II."
Mary Alsworth grew up eating sourdough her mom had prepared as the local cannery cook in Pilot Point, Alaska, and when she married Leon "Babe" Alsworth part of her trousseau likely included some of her mom's sourdough starter. Babe and Mary settled in Hardenburg Bay and because of their famous hospitality, it has been renamed Port Alsworth. Travelers who found themselves stranded often sought out their home knowing there would be a warm bed and good food waiting.
Babe Alsworth was a well respected bush pilot and his kind deeds endeared him to countless people including Dick.
Dick lovingly guarded the small pot of sourdough because it not only represented a profound friendship with the Alsworth's but would be the basis of most of his meals in the upcoming years.
Dick often spoke of his sourdough, it was, after all his staff of life. This is the very same sourdough starter that coats "Alaska's Golden Spoon!"