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Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Start with a 1 1/2 quart container - glass, pottery, rigid plastic, or stainless steel. Warm the container by filling with hot water and letting it stand for several minutes; then wipe dry.
In separate container or pan, heat milk to 90 - 100 degrees. Remove from heat; stir in yogurt. Pour milk mixture into warm, 1 1/2 quart container and cover tightly. Let stand in a warm place (80 - 100 degrees).
Within 18 to 24 hours, starter should be the consistency of yogurt (a curd forms and mixture does not flow readily when container is slightly tilted.) If a clear liquid rises to the top, stir it back into the mixture. However, if liquid has turned light pink in color, this indicates that the milk is beginning to breakdown and the mixture must be discarded and begin again.
After a curd has formed, gradually stir all-purpose flour into starter until smoothly blended. Cover tightly and let stand in a warm place until mixture is full of bubbles and has a sour smell. This takes 2 to 5 days. If clear liquid forms during this time, stir it back into starter. However, if liquid turns pink, discard all but 1/4 cup of the starter.
Into the 1/4 cup of starter, blend 1 cup warm milk and 1 cup all-purpose flour. Cover tightly and let stand again in warm place until bubbly. Starter will then be ready to use. The starter can also be covered and stored in the refrigerator.
REPLENISHING STARTER - Every time your use your starter, replenish it with equal amounts of warm milk (90 to 100 degrees) and all-purpose flour. For example, if you remove and use 1/2 cup starter, blend into the remaining starter 1/2 cup warm milk and 1/2 cup flour. Cover and let stand in a warm place several hours or overnight until starter is again full of bubbles. Cover and store in the refrigerator. If you don't bake regularly, replenish your starter with equal amounts of warm water and flour about once every two months. The starter can be frozen up to two months. To thaw, let starter come to room temperature, then gradually mix in small, equal amounts of warm milk and flour. Cover and let stand in a warm place overnight. It is then ready to use.
Find recipes using Sourdough Starter under the BROWSE RECIPES link in the Breads and Breakfast category.
Please note that some ingredients and brands may not be available in every store.