One of the surprises after the Yeo Valley cookery demonstration I mentioned last week was the departing gift of my very own sourdough starter. I'd always wanted to have a go at making bread using this method, so here was just the encouragement I needed.
However, on getting it safely home, I was faced with the fundamental question of what on earth do I do next?
I looked through all my breadmaking books but they only referred to a more solid sounding starter, rather than the liquid form I had in front of me.
Thanks to the 52 Week Salad Challenge, I'd already become a regular Twitter and blog correspondent with Carl Legge. He pointed me in the direction of the very thing I needed re sourdough starters: in his article for Permaculture magazine :)
I'm keeping my starter in a large, clean old coffee jar. The picture shows a nicely active starter a few days after I started taking care of my new 'pet'.
Since then I've managed to:
- Keep my starter alive for a couple of weeks
- Learn it doesn't matter if the starter's 'feed' of equal parts flour and water is a bit lumpy when added
- Put my starter's progress on 'hold' by keeping it in the fridge
- Revive my starter a couple of times after keeping it in the fridge
- Frozen some active starter so I have some 'spares' which will keep for up to a year
- Learn the starter is much livelier on a warm, sunny day (I'm keeping mine on the kitchen windowsill until we get scorchio summer temperatures)
I've also made my first ever sourdough loaf, but that's a post for another day :)