I love the everyday miracle of yeast bread. Sometimes I bake just because I could use a miracle. Even more, I love the miracle of bread from a starter.

Yogurt-rye starter. A face only a baker could love

Yogurt-rye starter. A face only a baker could love

I haven’t ever bonded with the flavor of  Herman starter bread. There I said it. Something about the strong, sweet fermented flavor. Although it makes good French toast and PBJ, it’s not great with, say, herbed turkey.

Flipping through a cookbook, I found yogurt rye starter. Sour yogurt and tangy rye–a pretty sure bet not to be sweet.

Mine was slow to take off in my chilly kitchen, so I sprinkled in the last couple grains of yeast from the bottom of the Red Star bag. That worked and the starter took off.

The first couple of loaves tasted similar to regular yeast bread. Then the starter smell changed to “overripe fruit.” 

Two weeks and 4 loaves into the experiment, the yeast has changed again and is turning out the sourest sourdough I’ve ever baked. I don’t know what happened, but everyone who really likes sourdough is happy with these loaves.

For the rye loaf baked with this starter, go here

Yogurt Rye Starter
A starter mixture that makes lush, close-textured bread that doesn't make a lot of crumbs.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup plain yogurt
  2. 1 cup rye flour
Instructions
  1. Spoon the yogurt into a smallish bowl. Set the bowl into a larger bowl filled with a few inches of hot tap water. Stir the yogurt until it's no longer chilly. Stir in the flour and let stand for 2 to 3 days until the mixture is bubbly and has a pleasantly sour smell. (I covered mine with a loose-weave dish towel.) At this point use it, or cover and refrigerate.
  2. To use, take out a cup of the mixture. Replenish with equal parts skim milk and flour. Let stand at room temperature until bubbly. Refrigerate.
  3. You should take out a cup of the mixture every 10 days. Use it, throw it out, or give it away. You'll eventually discover why it's sometimes called "friendship." In my experience, most starters can be frozen. When they thaw, they revive, more or less.
Adapted from Great Whole Grain Breads
Adapted from Great Whole Grain Breads
The Project Kitchen http://theprojectkitchen.com/