Monday, 14 May 2012

I Have a New Pet - Called Sourdough


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 :)

7 comments:

  1. Our neighbor makes us this bread all the time! Wonderful gift from him!

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  2. It must the zeitgeist, I started a new starter (if you see what I mean) yesterday! I've had trouble keeping them alive in the past; eventually they go black, slimy and stinky - does your guru have anything to say about that I wonder? (Makes the *best* bread though - here's one of mine http://www.flickr.com/photos/turquoise_lisa/4929998398/

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  3. What a lovely gift! What is it called though? According to artisan bakers on the Hairy Bikers Bakeation you have to give your starter a name (I think theirs was called Maria). Mine's Idris and since I named him I haven't killed him. He's my pet that lives in the fridge (and he makes great bread!)

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  4. Am just recovering from the excitement of looking after Herman the German Friendship cake which involved much bubbling away in the kitchen. Will have to investigate bread next :)

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  5. Love it! Our starter is still figuring itself out...just as I'm figuring it our! So much fun!

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