Welcome to the Official Website for Richard Proenneke . American Naturalist
May 4, 1916 - April 20, 2003
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Just follow the steps in order and later when you feel more comfortable by all means experiment! Remember: there is only one hard and fast rule - do not mix anything but flour and water to your main sponge - ever! Keep it pure! You add all your other ingredients in a separate container to sourdough you have taken from the pot.
1. Assuming you have a good pot of sourdough stored in the refrigerator - pull it out and set it on the counter a day or even two before you want to make pancakes. Add 2 cups of warm water (baby bottle temp) and 2 1/2 cups of white flour. Mix thoroughly. It will be thick and lumpy, but will thin down during fermentation. Cover the container with a towel or plastic wrap (but do not put on a tight lid!) It will "wake up" in the warmer temperature and you should see a healthy sea of bubbles and foam by morning.
2. If you can wait two days your pancakes will have a fuller, more sour taste - but even after just sitting out overnight they will be delicious!
3. Take out 4 1/2 cups of the mixture - putting it into a large, non-metallic bowl. (use ceramic, glass or even plastic.)
4. Set the rest of your starter back in the frig so it will go dormant (unless you plan on using it again very soon.) You are done with it for now.
5. To the batter add:
. 1 egg slightly beaten
. 2 Tblespoons of cooking oil
. 1/4 cup dry powdered milk. (If you don't have any, you can use canned evaporated milk
6. Beat thoroughly.
7. In a small glass or bowl, mix thoroughly together:
. 1 teaspoon of salt
. 1 teaspoon of baking soda
. 2 Tablespoons of sugar
Sprinkle this over the top of the batter and fold in gently. This is the fun part! Watch how the batter foams and rises! This is a sign of a healthy sourdough. At this point it should have the consistency of meringue.
8. Let the batter rest for a few minutes while your lightly greased frying pan heats up. (butter or cooking oil unfortunately tastes better than olive oil here)
9. The batter should be fairly thin - (if not then your kitchen wasn't quite warm enough for the overnighter) - you can add a little milk or water now, but next time find a slightly warmer place to let the starter proof.
10. The pan should be hot enough to brown the pancakes fairly quickly and sizzle slightly when the fresh batter is dropped onto the surface. Silver dollar sized cakes are not only traditional, but they work best (some old timers are fanatical about this.) Cook each side just once - so have a little patience if you need to.
11. Butter, real maple syrup, peanut butter, yogurt with fresh fruit and the possibilities are endless. Dick loved to put his blueberries on as a topping.
Finally - ENJOY!
Keeping the sourdough starter fed and happy:
1. Remember, always keep the starter pure - nothing but flour and water goes into the pot!
2. When you need to replenish the starter in the sourdough pot because you have used some in a recipe - add a cup or so of a mixture of flour and water with the consistency of thick pancake mix. As long as you save at least a tablespoon of pure starter - you can rebuild the amount of sourdough in your pot by feeding it.
Sourdough Banana Bread
. 1/2 cup shortening
. 1 cup granulated sugar
. 1 large egg
. 1 cup mashed bananas
. 1 cup active sourdough starter
. 2 cups unbleached flour
. 1 teaspoon of salt
. 1 teaspoon of baking soda
. 3/4 cup of chopped walnuts
. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
Cream together the shortening and sugar, add egg and mix until blended. Stir in bananas and sourdough starter. Add orange peel or vanilla. Stir flour and measure again with salt, baking powder and soda. Add flour mixture and walnuts to the first mixture, stirring until just blended. Pour into greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 1 hour or until wooden pick comes out clean. Cool to cold. ENJOY!
Blueberry Sourdough Muffins
. 3/4 cup starter
. 1/2 cup of oil
. 1/2 cup water
. 1 egg
. 1/2 cup brown sugar
. 2 cups of flour
. 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Fold in 1 cup blueberries. Drop into oiled muffin tins. Bake 40 minutes at 375 degrees.
Sourdough pot - It can be as simple as a quart mason jar (with some kind of loose cover) or a ceramic pot with a loose fitting lid. You generally ony want to keep it half full, because once it heats up and expands - you can easily have an overflowing mess!
Sponge - The unadulterated flour and water mixture or starter that lives in the pot. It is the source for all your sourdough needs. You must feed this regularly or put it into dormancy by storing it in the refrigerator.
Feeding - This is when you add flour and water to your starter. Very different opinions are held on how best to do this as far as ratio of flour/water and starter. A very basic rule of thumb is - if you use a cup of starter to cook with, add a cup of fresh flour/water to feed the pot.
Proofing - Letting the batter ferment. When you mix starter with straight flour for a recipe and let it sit out for a period of time - you are proofing it.