So here’s another cycle of “long time, no see” and “I plan on being more regular from now on”… futile in the fact that I’m as reliable as Natalie Tran (though just as hilarious). So here’s my no-promise promise. I promise not to make promises on consistency and continuity. I’ll post stuff when I post stuff.
Now for the baking news: I have done things. Not much, but some. There are pictures that relate to stories from at least November, so hopefully I’ll get myself to write about it. What I did want to write about is my new sourdough starter.
For once, I did some research on the subject… which reminded me why I don’t usually bother with that much research. When it comes to sourdoughs, people will do things very differently. Cover your culture; don’t cover it; you must use this type of flour… t’was confusing. There’s a lot of content out there. There’s even a sourdough online community. In the end, I went for the simple culture used by the fabulous baker brothers.
In a nutshell, you start off with equal weights of flour and water. Put them together in a large container and messily mix them. Leave it in a warm place. Come back the next day, add more flour and water, mix it, and leave it ’till the next day. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Could you believe I screwed up?
I started on Saturday; it’s Wednesday and things have… happened.
I did the initial bit, messy mixing and all. It really just looked like a very wet attempt at a basic dough.
Because I live in the UK and it’s winter, I thought I’d give my new sourdough starter a good start in life by putting it near the radiator in my room (the kitchen doesn’t have a stable temperature). By day 3 it had grown so much that it leaked onto my carpeted floor. Carpet! It was a rude awakening (no, really: I’d just woken up). I cleaned it up, knocked some air out, got rid of some of the starter and fed it for the day. This time, I put it near the window (what is this “moderation” you speak of?). I also decided to name it “Fred”. It rhymes with “bread”.
It hasn’t grown since.
It was still developing a different smell: more yoghurty, somehow.There were bubbles. Just… no growth. I, however, persevered. I fed it, put it back onto its new carpet-protecting plate and set it near the radiator once more. You want to know what happened?
Still bubbles, still yoghurty. Deep breath; repeat. Flour, water, radiator. Yesterday, I left the jar’s lid ajar. I carried on with my life. After a long day, I walked into my room and accidentally stepped on the “carpet-protecting” plate, which not only ended in a puddle of sourdough on my carpet, but also a sourdough stain on my suede shoes. Just thinking of it makes me seethe in self-hatred.
I spent a good 30 to 40 minutes on my knees cleaning the carpet. I got carpet burn and getting them was not fun, for once. Ever tried cleaning sourdough? It’s thick. When it gets somewhere, it likes to stay there. The carpet seems fine. The boot seems to have a minor stain (and a hardened area) and I still kept the starter.
After this traumatic ordeal, I thought Fred could do with a treat. So, I gave it some sugar (as I learnt to do with activated yeast) and blindly added flour and water. I think I added too much water. I definitely forgot to take into account the water in the sugar crystals. Now there’s a thick layer of water over the culture and I’m afraid to open the jar. I’m going t give Fred a few days to get his shit together and if he doesn’t, I’ll throw him away, start a new culture and name it George.
Seriously Fred, pull it together!