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Before yeast was available in grocery stores, bakers kept colonies of yeast for making bread. These colonies were known as starters, and were sometimes passed on from generation to generation. You can make your own starter using commercial yeast, by using potato water (from boiled potatoes) to attract and feed wild yeasts present in the air around us, or by using the yeast found on the skins of organic grapes or organic raisins. Keep the starter in a one-quart crock, jar, or airtight container.
Wild Grape Starter SUBMITTED BY: Sharon "Use unwashed, organically grown red or purple grapes for this recipe. The white powder found on the skins of the grapes is yeast. If you wish, you can switch to bread flour on the 5th day. The starter is fully active and ready to use in 9 days."
1 pound grapes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1.Stem grapes into a medium mixing bowl. Crush with hands. Cover with cheesecloth, and set aside for three days at room temperature.
2.After three days there should be bubbles in the grape juice, indicating fermentation has begun. Strain liquid, and discard skins. Return to bowl, and stir in 1 cup whole wheat flour. Set aside for 24 hours at room temperature.
3.Measure 1 cup starter, discard any extra, and transfer to a 1 quart glass or ceramic container with a lid. Stir in 1 scant cup bread flour and 1 cup water. The mixture should resemble a thick batter; add more water or flour if necessary to achieve this consistency. Cover loosely with lid. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Repeat the following day. Some activity should be noticeable: the mixture should be starting to bubble. Repeat twice more. You will need to discard some of the mixture each day.
4.Starter should be quite active. Begin feeding regularly, every 4 to 6 hours, doubling the starter each time. For instance, if you have 1 cup starter, add 1 cup bread flour and 1 cup water. Alternatively, store in the refrigerator, and feed weekly.
Amish Friendship Bread Starter SUBMITTED BY: GINNY LEE "Make something special to share with a friend! This delicious starter can make a variety of breads. Do not use metal containers or utensils."
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3 cups white sugar, divided
3 cups milk
1.In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.
2.On days 2 thru 4; stir starter with a spoon. Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Days 6 thru 9; stir only.
3.Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread, give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2).
Editor's Note Once you have made the starter, you will consider it Day One, and thus ignore step 1 in this recipe and proceed with step 2. You can also freeze this starter in 1 cup measures for later use. Frozen starter will take at least 3 hours at room temperature to thaw before using.