Ok full disclosure here, I didn’t make my own sourdough starter for this soup. It takes about five days to mature a new starter and I left it too late for our scheduled weekend cook. Worried about missing our posting deadline I did the only thing I could think of and blagged myself a batch. I called up a local pizzeria who specialise in sourdough, told them my sob story and they gave me some of their twenty year old starter for free on the proviso that I brought my own container with me. I’m wary of naming my source for fear of them being inundated with similar requests, but will certainly become a regular patron now …the smells emanating from their kitchen were out of this world.
A sourdough starter is simply flour and water, matured and fed daily with more flour and water until the natural yeast in the flour brings it to life. It can then be kept alive by storing it in the fridge and feeding it weekly with more flour and water. You never use the full lot in whatever you’re cooking, and because you’re constantly feeding it it never runs out. It has a distinctive sour taste (hence the name) and is used in lieu of commercial yeast in sourdough breads, pizzas and some Eastern European soups.
It goes without saying that now I have a kickarse aged sourdough starter I will be keeping it going so expect sourdough recipes up on the TheTasteTrail soon.
You have several options for obtaining your own sourdough starter. You may already know somebody who makes sourdough bread, in which case ask them. Or you could do as I did and ask a bakery or restaurant if they can sell you some. Don’t be offended though if either of these methods result in a no; especially in the case of commercial establishments as the taste of their starter is likely an integral part of their brand. Essentially, if somebody has cultivated their starter over years and years I think it’s their prerogative to decline without side-eye and tutting in return.
A starter can also be purchased online, I know right. I found this one on amazon.
Or you could make your own starter, for which I’ve provided instructions below.
There is other stuff in this soup besides sourdough, namely mushrooms and potatoes, and I can tell you on good authority that all the faff of obtaining the star ingredient is well worth it.
- Either 300g sourdough starter or if making your own...
- 600g plain flour
- 600g lukewarm water (yes grams, weigh it)
- 1.5l lukewarm water
- 2 tsp caraway seeds
- 600g potatoes peeled and diced
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 320g mixed mushrooms ripped into medium sized chunks
- 2 tbsp butter
- 150ml sour cream
- 6 eggs
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
NUTRITIONAL CONTENT PER PORTION
- Calories | 393
- Fat | 14.2g
Serves | 6
Prep Time | 15 minutes ...plus 5 days for the sour dough to ferment (!)
Cooking Time | 40 minutes
if you already have a batch of sourdough starter proceed directly to 'cook day'
sour dough Day 1
- Stir together 120g of the flour and 120g of lukewarm water, make sure it is completely blended, you want a smooth paste. Scrape down the sides of the container cover loosely, and leave for 24 hours in a warm draft-free location
sour dough Days 4 to 5
- Each day, add an additional 120g flour and 120g water to the mix. Combine well, scrape down the sides of the container, cover loosely and leave for 24 hours in a warm draft-free location. Over the days your mix will start to ferment, bubbles will start to appear and it will smell a little sour. This is the natural yeast in the flour working its magic.
- Take 300g of your sourdough. The rest can be used to bake bread for another recipe.
- Put the potatoes in a pan of salted water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes then drain.
- In a large saucepan, mix the sourdough with 1.5 litres of luke warm water. Season with salt and stir in the caraway seeds. Add the potatoes, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Saute the mushrooms and onion in the butter until lightly golden. Stir into the soup.
- Decant the sour cream into a medium sized bowl and slowly trickle in a quarter of the soup, stirring all the while. Then pour the lot back into the soup pan. This careful introduction of the sour cream prevents curdling. Gently heat to eating temperature.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil and stir in the vinegar. Reduce to a simmer then crack in the eggs, cook for 3 minutes (longer if you don't like a runny yolk) and then remove with a slotted spoon.
- Serve the soup with poached eggs on top and sprinkled with chives.