Post 122: Jewish History: Celebrating The “Miracle Of Shanghai”, I am so sorry that I missed this. The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the “NGO Law” Sunday :Using Sour Dough Starter-the starter is a gift from Rebetzen Ruth Abramson

Jewish History: Celebrating The “Miracle Of Shanghai” I am so sorry to have missed this show.

Jewish History: Celebrating the “Miracle of Shanghai”

Between 1933 and 1941, as Nazi Germany occupied most of the Continental Europe and pushed eastwards into the Soviet Union, estimated 25,000 Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust found refuge in the Chinese city of Shanghai – in the “Designated Area for Stateless Refugees” in Tilanqiao district of Shanghai.

The Chinese port city was one of the few safe havens during the World War II that accepted Jewish refugees from across the world without requiring hard-to-get immigration visas. By the time the war ended, most of the Jewish inhabitants of the city had survived.




An art exhibition in Jerusalem celebrated this little know “Miracle of Shanghai”. The exhibition was titled “Jewish Refugees in Shanghai – Love Without Boundries”. The opening ceremony took place on Sunday, May 10, 2015 and the exhibition was open to public from May 10-25, 2015 at International Convention Center, Jerusalem (Binyanei Hauma). There is  a site to get information about upcoming events at Binyanei Hauma.

The exhibition was co-organised by Chinese Jewish Cultural Foundation, Shanghai Jewish Museum and ICC-Jerusalem. One of the organisers noted that period of Jewish exile in Shanghai has “left lots of touching stories which are unknown to most of people”. The curators have chosen art as medium to narrate this lesser-know period of Jewish history “in form of oil paintings and Chinese paintings”.

According to the organizers, creator of the paintings, Mr. Zhangping and the director of Yafo Capital, the sponsor of the event, Mr. Benjamin Peng, the two week-long event advocates “peace and love for people and the world”. Senior Israeli and Chinese government officials and business leaders took part in opening ceremony.








On the one hand, it appears that Israel’s ties to China are evident more and more each day, culturally and economically. However, we are on a slippery slope with America and Europe concerning the NGO’s that they support. Two attempts have been made by the Knesset to reign in NGO’s. The average person does not come in contact with the “civil rights” activists. Ask any soldier they will have loads to tell about them. A whole unit in the army has been developed to walk them around.

Ministers Approve Tax on Anti-Israel NGOs; Livni to Appeal. She didn’t have to because the measure failed in utero.

It was proposed that Anti-Israel NGOs to pay 45% tax on foreign donations.

By Tova Dvorin

First Publish: 12/15/2013, 3:30 PM


The bill, once enforced, would have imposed a 45% tax on foreign donations to seditious NGOs.

Groups affected by the tax would have to meet one of the following criteria: calling for boycott, divestment, or sanctions (BDS) against Israel or Israeli citizens; calling for the prosecution of Israeli soldiers in international courts; denying that Israel is a Jewish democratic state; incitement to racism; or supporting an armed struggle by an enemy nation or terror organization against Israel. And if you doubt the Israeli Tax Authority’s ability to do this, just talk to anyone who lives in the USA and earned fees for work in the USA. His bank account in Israel will feel the full brunt of the tax collectors efforts.

Supreme Court president Meir Shamgar, who expressed his displeasure regarding the financing of NGOs by foreign countries. Shamgar stated in 2012, “I think that support of political bodies by foreign governments is something that should intimidate any person who believes in true democracy,” and called foreign funding for organizations that are meant to influence the government “abnormal.”

Shaked, who initiated the bill, stated that “it would be too easy to take the bait and listen to statements which claim that this law violates democracy in Israel.”

“In fact, any person with healthy reasoning and a clear understanding knows that the opposite is true. In a civilized, democratic country there are choices which reflect the will of the people and portray, through voters’ decisions, the state’s outlook,” she continued. “It is inconceivable that a minority of extremists who don’t wish to give a ‘mandate’ to Israel, and participate in criminal acts of subversion against the state by financial means from foreign benefactors, will also receive tax breaks.”

“Undermining the sovereignty of the government is tantamount to failure to respect the will and decision of the people,” Shaked declared. “High taxes on foreign money to organizations that incite against IDF soldiers and incite to racism are the minimum that the state can and should do for itself.”

MK Ilatov, acting chairman of the Coalition, added that “Israeli NGOs may not receive benefits from the State of Israel when they are funded by entities whose sole desire is to meddle in Israeli democracy and to undermine national interests and security of Israel. These associations have anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish motivations, and should receive no tax benefits from the state.”

MK Avi Wortzman (Jewish Home), Deputy Education Minister, stated, “The law is a clear statement against all those organizations that operate under the guise of protection of human rights and in doing so crudely trample democracy in Israel.” Wortzman noted that “MKs from across the political spectrum support the law” and that most parties support the IDF, which is ridiculed by the extreme Left for “protecting Israel and its citizens.”

Nationalist MKs Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) and Robert Ilatov (Likud-Beytenu) are about to present a new bill that is based on the US’s Foreign Agent Registration Law, in an effort to make it more difficult for hostile NGOs to operate inside Israel.

According to Maariv-NRG, the bill would mandate greater transparency on the part of NGOs that are funded by foreign governments, and cancel the tax-free status they enjoy.

Two previous bills meant to make it harder for hostile leftist NGOs to operate in Israel were blocked by the same NGOs and their supporters.

The bill would create a mechanism that defines as a foreign agent a body that receives funding from a foreign state, following a commitment to advance that state’s interests, or the interests of people who are not Israeli citizens.

Such a body would have to report the identity of the state to which it gave its commitments, the details of the assistance it received, a full description of its commitments to the foreign entity and a full description of the activity it intends to carry out.

The body would have to note in all of its documents, and on its internetwebsite, that it is defined as foreign agent.

In addition, the tax-free status of foreign contributions to the body would be canceled. The foreign funds it receives would be taxed, thus removing an important incentive to such groups’ activities.

“These organizations, which operate with a lack of transparency as regards the goals of their activity, and under a guise of organizations that operate for the Israeli interest, are eligible for tax-free status nowadays, although the Israeli public does not benefit from their activities and the goal of the groups is to benefit foreign interests,” the bill’s explanatory notes say.

One of the two earlier bills that sought to limit the operations of radical leftist NGOs would have taxed donations they received from foreign state entities, while the other sought to block registration of the NGOs if they negated the Jewish character of the state of Israel. Both failed to pass.

The new version of the bill may be more in line with the recommendations made by NGO Monitor in the wake of the previous bills.

Instead of taxing foreign contributions, Israel should focus on exposing them, NGO Monitor suggested. The group called for “full enforcement” of a 2011 law requiring NGOs to reveal funding they received from foreign governments. The 2011 law was passed because “Both the secrecy of funding procedures and the external manipulation of civil society were understood to violate the accepted norms and practices among sovereign democratic nations,” the group stated. This seems to be similar to registration of foreign groups in the USA.

NGO Monitor has previously argued that groups which receive most of their funding from foreign governments do not actually qualify as NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations).

A 2010 report by NGO Monitor revealed that many of the best-known left-wing NGOs in Israel receive more than half of their total donations from foreign governments. Among the NGOs in question were the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Alternative Information Center (AIC), Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Ir Amim and Yesh Din.

Several of the groups that were found to have received more than half of their funding from foreign governments in 2009-2010 were involved in providing anti-Israel testimony to the Goldstone Committee, which went on to condemn Israel based in large part on the groups’ claims.

Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) reacted to news of the newest bill by saying that it was an attempt by the extreme right to harm public discourse in Israel. “Civil society is the watchdog of the public sector,” she declared, “and any harm done to organizations that operate for civil rights and citizens’ rights, harms the values that the state was based upon.”

“Civil society” is a phrase often used by leftists groups to denote the part of the public that supports them.

“Any country that seeks to contribute to these organizations must know that it undermines the character and stability of Israel,” Wortzman concluded, “and that [now], half of the donations will go to the State of Israel and strengthen the IDF.”


NGO’s operate with full legal sanction in the United States. One does not have to be a citizen to start an NGO there. Approximately 1.5 million NGOs operate in the United States. These NGOs undertake a wide array of activities, including political advocacy on issues such as foreign policy, elections, the environment, healthcare, women’s rights, economic development, and many other issues. Many NGOs in the United States also operate in fields that are not related to politics. These include volunteer organizations rooted in shared religious faith, labor unions, groups that help vulnerable people such as the poor or mentally ill, and groups that seek to empower youth or marginalized populations. Indeed, NGOs exist to represent virtually every cause imaginable. Their sources of finance include donations from private individuals (American or foreign), private sector for-profit companies, philanthropic foundations, or grants from federal, state, or local government. Sources of finance may also include foreign governments. There is no prohibition in U.S. law on foreign funding of NGOs, whether that foreign funding comes from governments or non-government sources.

Legal Framework for NGOs in the United States from the United States State Department

Starting an NGO

In general, any group of individuals may come together to form an informal organization in order to jointly discuss ideas or common interests, and they can do so without any government involvement or approval. If a group seeks particular legal benefits, such as exemption from federal and state taxation, it may choose to formally incorporate and register as an NGO under the laws of any of the 50 U.S. states. Individuals do not need to be U.S. citizens to create a new NGO.

Registration requirements, and forms of organization, vary from state to state, but are generally very simple, so that anyone can incorporate an NGO in just a few days at the state level. The process typically involves providing a short description of the organization, its mission, name, the address of an agent within the state, and paying a modest fee. Most states have a general incorporation statute that makes this process a routine matter, not subject to approval by the legislature or any other government official. This approach removes the risk that a government official might abuse his or her power in determining which organizations should be allowed to exist or not. In several states, certain NGOs formed for religious, educational and other charitable purposes must also register with a state charity official charged with protecting charitable assets and regulating the charitable solicitation of funds from the public.

Tax-exempt Status

Many NGOs in the United States are qualified as exempt from state and federal taxes. This legal status makes it easier for NGOs to operate as nonprofit organizations because they do not have to pay tax on the income (funding) they receive. If an NGO wants to receive exemption from income taxation from the U.S. Federal Government, the NGO applies to the Internal Revenue Service. There are many types of NGOs listed in the Internal Revenue Code that are eligible for tax-exempt status, and the type of benefits available depends on the type of NGO and the type of activities conducted. In general, NGOs organized exclusively for educational, religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary purposes, and certain sports, that are non-profit and do not play a partisan political role (e.g., by supporting candidates for election or attempting to influence legislation), can apply to receive exemption from federal income taxation on all income related to these purposes.

NGOs organized for political purposes receive limited tax exemption only for income received from contributions solicited from the general public, membership dues, or fundraising events. State governments often use the same standards for applying state income tax laws. Organizations seeking exemption from state taxes generally must file applications for exemption with the state tax authorities. Another feature of tax-exempt status is that contributions to some of these organizations may be tax deductible for the donor. This provides an important incentive for citizens and corporations to donate funds to these groups. It is important to note that the federal and state governments do not judge the value of an organization’s specific activity or mission in determining that these organizations are eligible for tax-exempt status. The U.S. government generally does not seek to influence an organization’s mission, determine how an NGO is structured, approve who runs it or serves on its board, or direct its financial management. Instead, U.S. law generally regulates organizations by requiring regular public disclosure – through filing of information returns with the government – of an organization’s funding, activities, and leadership. The regulations do not allow government officials to revoke permission to operate or tax-exempt status based on judgments about the merits of an organization’s mission, activities, budget, or leadership.

Freedom of Expression and Association in the United States

There is generally very little restriction on the freedoms of expression and association of NGOs under U.S. law. Although NGOs engaged in political activities may not qualify for the most preferential tax-exempt status, the U.S. government thus does not prevent NGOs from undertaking advocacy for political issues or criticizing the government. The U.S. constitution provides for robust protections for freedom of expression, and leaves open space for debate that is necessary in democratic societies, including protecting ideas that offend, shock, or disturb.

The United States has many laws and regulations on issues including immigration and visas, campaign finance and lobbying, terrorism financing, and money-laundering that may affect NGOs. However, these laws are applicable to everyone and to all organizations, not exclusively NGOs.

Foreign NGOs in the United States

The United States hosts many foreign NGOs that do important and valuable work in our country. Foreign NGOs can register in the U.S. by filing a simple form as a non-profit entity. Some operate as non-partisan foundations, while others are affiliated with foreign political parties and operate as think tanks and liaisons to U.S. organizations concerned with foreign policy. These foundations organize programs for their respective politicians when they come to the United States, and organize conferences, youth exchanges, and fellowships/scholarships. They also provide funding to and conduct joint projects with American NGOs. Funded entirely by foreign governments, these foreign party institutes do not have special restrictions on their activities in the United States, can conduct meetings and publish materials freely, and are not required to provide reports to other U.S. federal government agencies, provided they register and file tax returns according to the requirements described below.

As Secretary Clinton said in Krakow in July 2010, “We welcome [foreign] organizations in the belief that they make our nation stronger and deepen relationships between America and the rest of the world. And it is in that same spirit that the United States provides funding to foreign civil society organizations that are engaged in important work in their own countries. And we will continue this practice, and we would like to do more of it in partnership with other democracies.”

Regulation of Foreign Funding of NGOs and Foreign NGOs

Foreign Funding of U.S. NGOs As Secretary Clinton has said, “in the United States, as in many other democracies, it is legal and acceptable for private organizations to raise money abroad and receive grants from foreign governments, so long as the activities do not involve specifically banned sources, such as terrorist groups.” As a general matter, U.S. law imposes no limits or restrictions on the receipt of foreign funding by NGOs operating in the United States. Of course, laws that are generally applicable to all Americans may apply to NGOs, such as restrictions on receiving contributions from a terrorist organization. There are also restrictions on direct financial support of political candidates by foreign individuals.

Foreign NGOs Operating in the United States

Before foreign organizations are able to conduct activities in any particular U.S. state, they must apply for a license to conduct business in that state. This process is similar to the incorporation process for U.S. NGOs described above. Like domestic NGOs, foreign organizations can apply to the Internal Revenue Service for recognition as charitable or social welfare organizations under the Internal Revenue Code. Although such organizations are exempt from paying taxes on their income, contributions to foreign organizations are not tax-deductible (in the absence of a special treaty providing otherwise with the country of the NGO’s origin).

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)

This act requires any person or organization (U.S. or foreign) that is an “agent of a foreign principal” to register with the Justice Department and to disclose the foreign principal for which the agent works. Foreign principals can include governments, political parties, a person or organization outside the United States (except U.S. citizens), and any entity organized under the laws of a foreign country or having its principal place of business in a foreign country. FARA requires people acting as agents of foreign principals under certain circumstances to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts, and disbursements in support of those activities.

Some governments have misinterpreted FARA as restricting the ability of civil society to register and operate. On the contrary, FARA does not impose a tax, nor does it set a cap on foreign funding that an organization can receive. FARA covers all “persons,” including individuals, corporations, and associations. FARA also includes a number of exceptions, including for persons whose activities are in “furtherance of bona fide religious, scholastic, academic, or scientific pursuits or of the fine arts.” FARA also exempts from registration other NGO activities, such as certain solicitations of funds for medical aid, or for “food and clothing to relieve human suffering.”

NGO Relations on the Local and International Levels

Once an NGO has registered according to the requirements summarized earlier, the U.S. government does not interfere with how the NGO accomplishes its purposes. NGOs are free to recruit participants for their organizations as they wish, and need not provide notification to any government agency about its membership, activities, or outreach. Like other U.S. organizations and companies, U.S. NGOs must refrain from working with governments or individuals under U.S. sanctions, as well as with groups designated as foreign terrorist organizations, but otherwise, they are free to collaborate with foreign NGOs or foreign governments to achieve their purposes. There are no regulations that restrict U.S. NGOs from attending conferences abroad, finding donors overseas, or performing work internationally.

June 11, 2015

Yisrael Beiteinu renews bid to brand foreign-funded NGOs as ‘foreign agents’

Under bill targeting human right groups and NGOs identified with left wing, foreign-funded NGOs would be subjected to closer inspection.

By Jonathan Lis, HAARETZ

LibermanYisrael Beiteinu has launched another bid to restrict human rights groups and NGOs identified the left wing. Under a bill, which the party is pushing anew, groups and individuals who receive funds from abroad will have to declare themselves “foreign agents” and come under closer supervision.

Sponsored by Yisrael Beiteinu faction chairman Robert Ilatov, the bill, entitled “foreign agents,” calls to tighten the supervision on NGOs or individuals who receive funds from other states and tax the donations. It requires the NGOs, which it calls “foreign agents,” to submit regular reports to the state. The bill is also signed by former ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Sofa Landver.

Each NGO will be required to declare next to its logo on its official documents that it serves as a “foreign agent.”

“Numerous organizations in Israel are financed by other governments and groups. They portray their activity as for the good of the Israeli public, while in fact they are advancing ideologies and agendas against Israel with foreign funding,” Ilatov told Haaretz.

“It’s important for the public to know who stands behind these organizations and whom they represent, and what states advance agendas in Israel and for what,” he said.

According to the bill, NGOs and human rights organizations will have to report foreign contributions “so the public knows their activity isn’t objective as they say it is and sees that foreign entities’ interests are behind them,” he said.

The bill is the test version of a proposal Ilatov submitted in the last Knesset, with former MKs Ayelet Shaked and Yariv Levin.

Ministers Shaked and Levin are now the heads of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, so the bill is likely to be advanced. Ministers of Hatnua and Yesh Atid, who blocked such bills in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation in the previous Knesset, are no longer members of the coalition.

“Dozens of organizations in Israel receive money from states and state entities in exchange for their commitment to advance those foreign entities’ interests, or the interests of foreign citizens,” the explanatory notes attached to the bill say.

A member of Yisrael Beiteinu faction said “these organizations’ goals are not clear. Under the guise of working for Israeli interests these groups are entitled to tax exemptions. But the Israeli public does not benefit from their activity and their aim is advancing foreign interests.”

There’s a connection, once the seeds of the irish soda bread are sown, then they spawn more and more microbes..

The first step in this bread is to measure out a cup of your starter and mix it up with three cups of flour and cup and a half of water in a large mixing bowl.  It’s basically like feeding your starter twice as much as usual and therefore tripling the amount instead of doubling it.  This mixture is called the sponge.  (Make sure to feed your original sourdough starter after removing one cup – you can stick it in the fridge after feeding if you want.)

The Sourdough Sponge

You need to let this sponge sit out at room temperature for at least a couple hours, but it can be as long as 8 hours if you want.  You can even decide to refrigerate it after a couple of hours and continue the rest of the process the following morning.  The longer you let the sponge ferment, the more sour your bread will be.  The temperature of the room is also going to have an effect.  The warmer it is, the faster the sponge will ferment and vice versa.  I like to let the sponge tell me when it’s ready.

Sourdough Sponge Collapsing

After you mix up the sponge, it will start rising.  At a certain point, it will have risen as much as it can and it will slowly start collapsing.  You see how the surface of the sponge has wrinkles in the middle?  This is what I look for as a sign that my sponge is ready to be mixed into a bread dough.

Mixing in the flour

Now it’s time to stir in the salt and extra flour to make the dough.  I start by whisking the salt into a cup of flour and stirring that into the sponge.

Mixing the Dough

I then keep adding more flour, a little at a time, until it’s too hard to mix the dough with my wooden spoon.

Bread Dough on Floured Board

Next, I sprinkle flour over my kitchen counter or bread board (in this case, I used the board) and then scrape out the dough.  I then dust my hands with flour and start kneading.  The dough will be sticky, so you’ll want to have flour nearby to dip your hands into and you’ll need to sprinkle a bit on the board under the dough as the dough starts sticking.  Use only as much as you need to keep the dough from sticking – you want to keep the dough fairly soft.  For instructions on kneading, go here.

Kneading the Bread Dough

Although I said that you don’t need any special equipment to make this bread, a bench scraper is really very helpful.  Sourdough is stickier than other bread dough and the scraper helps to lift up the dough to sprinkle more flour underneath when it starts to stick to the board or counter.  It’s also very helpful when cleaning up flour.

You want to knead the dough for about three minutes and then let it rest.  I just cover it with a towel and leave it for about ten minutes.  While the dough is resting you’ll need to clean and dry the mixing bowl then spray or rub it with oil.

Bread Dough Ready to Proof

After the dough rests, you’ll continue kneading for another few minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Next, place the ball of dough into your greased bowl and turn it so that the top is lightly coated in oil.  Now cover the bowl and put it in a fairly warm spot.  If your kitchen is cold, put it on top of the refrigerator or in the oven (turned off) with the light turned on.  Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Dough is Doubled

One way to test if the dough has doubled is to push a couple fingers down into the dough.  If the holes don’t fill back in, the dough is ready to be shaped.

Dividing the Dough

Carefully dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it in half.  Again, abench scraper works well here, but you can cut it with a knife.  You want the pieces to be as equal in size as possible.

Shaping the dough

Next, shape the loaves.  You can form them into whatever shapes you wish, but I find round loaves (also known as boules) are the easiest.  For instructions on shaping, go here. Place the loaves onto a lightly greased baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.

Covered Loaves

You’ll want to cover the loaves while they rise.  You can used plastic wrap that has been coated in spray oil or get creative like I did.  I just used a big plastic container that fit over both loaves.  I did spray the inside of the container with oil just in case the loaves spread out while rising.  Again, let the loaves rise in a warm space until about doubled in size.  The dough will most likely spread out rather than up, and that’s fine. It should take close to two hours.

Loaves ready to be baked

If the loaves grow into each other, it’s not the end of the world.  Don’t try to move them, you may end up deflating your loaves.  They’ll be easy to separate after baking.

Ready for Slashing

At this point, your oven should be preheated to 450 degrees F.  The last step before baking is to slash the tops of the loaves.  You can use any sharp knife for this or a razor blade.  I decided to try this cutting tool.

Slashed Loaves

You can create whatever pattern you want.  It doesn’t really matter if you mess up – I’m notoriously bad at this.  The dough will be sticky so your best best is to be confident and just do it quickly.  Even if your slashes look horrible now, the bread will probably come out of the oven looking pretty good.

Baked Loaves

And even if they’re not the most gorgeous things you’ve ever seen – it will smell wonderful and taste even better.

Sourdough Bread Ready to Cut

If you can, wait for the bread to cool completely before cutting into it.  The flavor and texture continue to develop as the bread cools.  I’ll admit that I’m not very good at waiting for my bread to cool before cutting the first slice, so I won’t say anything if you can’t wait.

Weekly Maintenance Feeding for Refrigerated Sourdough Starter
  1. Remove at least ¼ cup starter from refrigerator. …
  2. Feed starter with flour and water: …
  3. Cover; let starter sit for 1-2 hours, until light and bubbly.
  4. Put a tight lid on jar and return to refrigerator.

Basic Sourdough Bread
adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 cup “fed” sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups warm filtered water
5 to 6 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons salt

The sponge: Pour the cup of starter into a large mixing bowl.  Add the warm water and 3 cups of flour.  Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon.  Cover this sponge with plastic wrap and put it aside to work.  This period can be very flexible, but allow at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.  A longer period (at a lower temperature) will result in a more sour flavor.

The dough: After the sponge has bubbled and expanded, remove the plastic wrap.  Blend the salt and one cup of flour.  Stir the flour and salt into the sponge then add more flour, a little at a time until the dough comes together.  Turn it out onto a floured board and knead it for 3 to 4 minutes.  Give the dough a rest while you clean out and grease your bowl.  Continue kneading for another 3 or 4 minutes, adding extra flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Add only enough extra flour to keep the dough from sticking.  Place the dough in the bowl, turn it once to grease the top, cover, and let it rise until doubled (1 to 2 hours).

Shaping and Baking: Turn the dough out, then divide in half.  Shape each half into a loaf, and place on a lightly greased, cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet.  Cover, and let rise until doubled (this can take up to 2 hours).  Remove the cover, slash the tops, and bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, until golden brown.  Turn the oven off, crack the door, and leave the loaves in for another 5 minutes.  Remove loaves to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.

How to Create a Sourdough Starter

If you don’t yet have your own sourdough starter, you’ll need to get one from a friend,buy one, or make your own before you can make this bread.  Of course I think you should make your own!

You can follow my adventure making a sourdough starter and find instructions f

Sour dough Ingredients blueberry muffins

1 egg 1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt 1/4 cup oil
1 cup sourdoughstarter 1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda 1/4 cup sugar or fructose
1/2 cup blueberries


Preheat oven to 425F.

Combine dry ingredients in small bowl. Stir in blueberries. Combine wet ingredients in medium bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ones.

Prepare your muffing cups by oiling them and dusting them with flour. Alternately, you may spray your muffin cups with Baker’s Joy or another oil that has flour in it, Mix the wet and dry ingredients quickly and spoon into your muffin cups. Depending on the size of your muffin cups, and how full you fill them, this should be between 6 and 8 muffin cups.

Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes.

Nutrition Information, Estimated
Per muffin (1/8 of batch),
made with light olive oil

Total Calories 189
Calories from fat 71
Total Fat 7.9 grams
Saturated Fat 1.1 grams
Polyunsaturated Fat .8 grams
Monosaurated fat 5 grams
Total carbohydrates 26.6 grams
Dietary fiber 1.2 grams
Sugars 6.9 grams
Protein 3.5 grams

Walnut Sourdough Bread
(Pain au Levain with Walnuts)

This is a delightful, earthy, bread. We’ve used it for making toast,Walnut Sourdough Breadgrilled cheese sandwiches, we’ve enjoyed it with preserves, with cheese, and even by itself. I’ve made this recipe as a boule or as baguettes, and enjoyed it greatly both ways.

This recipe is from “Bread Alone” by Daniel Leader.

This recipe is for two loaves, either boule or baguette.

2 cups walnut pieces
2 cups active sourdough starter
2 1/4 cups spring water
5 1/2 – 6 1/2 cups 20% bran flour (see flour note, below}
2 tsp salt


Preheat your oven to 350F. Arrange the walnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake them, stirring from time to time, until the walnuts are fragrant and lightly toasted. This takes about 10 – 12 minutes in my oven. WARNING – if you burn the walnuts, even a little, don’t use them in this recipe! Burned walnuts are nasty!

Put 3/4 cup of the toasted walnuts into a food processor with 2 TBSP of flour. Pulse the nuts and flour in the processor until they are finely ground. Coarsely crush the remaining walnuts. Set aside, and let the walnut flour and the crushed nuts cool.

Mix the starter and water. add 1 cup of flour and mix. Add the salt, ground walnuts, and just enough of the remaining flour to make a thick mass that is difficult to stir.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes, until the dough is firm and smooth. Add flour sparingly, but as needed.

Add the broken up walnuts a bit at a time and knead in until the dough is again smooth, another 5 to 7 minutes.

Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly oil ed mixing bowl, turn the dough, and cover with a Saran Wrap Quick Cover. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Gently deflate the dough, transfer to a floured work surface and knead briefly. Divide into two equal pieces, form the pieces into balls, cover and let rest for 1/2 hour.

Shape the loaves as you prefer, and let them rise again, probably around two hours.

Preheat the oven to 450F, which should take 45 minutes to an hour with stones in the oven.

When the oven is ready, slash the loaves and slide them into the oven. Put a cup or so of hot water into the bottom of the oven. Then let the loaves bake about 25 to 30 minutes.


A note about 20% bran flour. Daniel Leader feels that plain white flour is just too tasteless for many breads. I can’t argue the point. He feels that our American flours are lacking in oomph. And, again, I can’t argue the point. So, his answer is to not use bleached white flour and instead to use a flour with about 20% bran in it. He knows of a few suppliers that produce flours with about 20% bran in them. Sadly, the are largely not available to those of us in the hinterlands. For us, he suggests mixing 3 pounds unbleached white flour with 1 pound of whole wheat flour. This has become a favorite flour for me in the past few weeks.

In more recent months, I’ve come to the conclusion that pre-mixing this flour means you just have one more thing lying around your kitchen, one more thing you need to premix. It’s easier to just use white and whole wheat flours. Some of Daniel Leader’s recipes have you use 20% bran flour and then add more whole wheat flour. Sorry, life is too short to play those silly games. I’ll redo the recipe before long to just use white and whole wheat flour.

If you feel more info is necessary more  knowledge about sourdough baking can be obtained  from this book written by a Jewish woman:
(Picture from, where you can look inside the few first pages).

We buy the organic rye flour from Teva Hab’shor in the Negev.
They deliver organic produce and baking supplies to Yerushalyim.
1800-25-90-90, 08-647-1600
Success in your baking!


[Photographa: Donna Currie]

Ever since I posted the Sourdough Starter-Along series here on Slice, I’ve been getting a lot of questions. I’ve gotten them at Serious Eats, on my Facebook page, at my blog Cookistry, and in person. Based on some unscientific polling software (ahem, my memory) these were the six most commonly asked questions about sourdough starters, along with my answers.

My starter doesn’t look like yours. Have I done something wrong?

No, nothing’s wrong unless you’ve got mold growing on the starter, or unless you’ve got no activity at all after about five days. Starters are all different because the flour, water and environment are different at every location. That’s part of the beauty of a sourdough starter. It’s unique to you and it can be a little bit different every time you use it.

Also, the photos I posted were just one moment in time. After feeding and stirring or later in the day, the bubbles probably looked a bit different. In general, the bubble activity should be increasing every day, but sometimes things stall. And if the starter is very active overnight, it can wear itself out and look quiet in the morning. Shortly after feeding and stirring, it should become more active again.

What if my starter is bubbling but not rising up?

When the starter is active enough to rise up in the jar, then it’s ready to use. That might happen in as little as a week, or it could take longer before it gets to that point.

If your starter is still plugging along, bubbling but not getting increasingly active, I’d suggest dumping half to three-quarters of the accumulated starter, and then continue feeding and stirring the remainder. The removed starter can be added to a regular bread recipe to flavor it. I have recipes here and here for using not-quite-ready starter.

It also might be the case that your starter is rising, but you’re not there to see it. If you feed at night, it might be rising up while you’re asleep, and by morning it has fallen again, so it looks the same. It might be a good idea to feed at a time when you can check the starter in an hour and see what it looks like at that point.

20110101-sourdough hootch.JPG

What is the liquid at the top of my starter?

There are two causes. One possibility is that the starter is too wet, so you can add a bit more flour to it. It should be a little thicker than cake batter, almost like muffin batter.

The other possibility is that that liquid might be what’s referred to as “hooch”, which accumulates when a starter has been sitting around a while and the critters have gone dormant. As long as there isn’t furry mold, you can keep going—the yeast may have munched through all the available food. You can dump out half of the starter as I suggested above, and you can also increase the amount you feed. Feed a little more at each feeding, feed more often, or both.

Does the temperature of my kitchen affect the starter activity?

Yes, very much. The starter will be most active at warm room temperatures, so if you keep your house cooler in the winter, it might be less active simply because of the temperature. You can move the starter to a slightly warmer location. The top of the refrigerator is good, or if you’ve got some other appliance that’s a little bit warm, you can move it there.

You don’t want to get it too warm, so the top of the furnace or water heater might be overkill. Having it develop slowly isn’t a bad thing if you’re not in a hurry.

Why is my bread taking forever to rise?

You might have harvested your starter before it was fully active. After you’ve had a starter going for a while, you’ll have a better idea what it looks like when it’s fully enthusiastic. But a slow rise isn’t a failure. Just let it rise at its own speed.

If it’s a matter of bad timing and you don’t want to stay up all night waiting to put it in the oven, you can put the loaf in the refrigerator for a really slow rise, and bake the next day. Some sourdoughs rise slowly and don’t seem to want to double in size, but then they get tremendous oven spring. Yours might be like that.


My bread isn’t as sour as I expected. Can I fix that?

Sourdough starters develop more flavor as they age

Sourdoughs are all different, but the sour flavor that people associate with sourdough comes from the bacteria that produce different acids at different points in the process. You can create a much more sour starter by stopping the feeding and letting the starter go hungry for a while. You can do this for a day or so at room temperature, or put the starter in the refrigerator for a little longer. Sourdough starters develop more flavor as they age, so what you get from that first loaf isn’t what you’ll get after the starter matures for a while.

Also, you’ll get more flavor if the dough has a long, slow, cold rise. Rather than letting is rise on the counter, put the dough in the refrigerator and leave it there for a day or two before you form the loaf and let it rise for baking.

One thing to keep in mind is that all starters are different. The schedule you feed at, the flour and water you use, and the environment all change the way the starter behaves. Some are naturally more sour, they rise at different rates, have more or less oven spring, and produce different crumbs and crusts. That’s part of the fun of having a local starter.

And of course, the flour you feed your starter makes a difference. If you’re ready for it, you can start a new starter with whole wheat or rye flour, and see what new magic you can create.

About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. She launched the blog Cookistry and has now joined the Serious Eats team with a weekly column about baking.




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