Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sourdough Starter Pt. 2

How could something look so right and smell so wrong??? Well folks, sadly my first experiment with making my own starter has gone rotten. Not sour, as I'd hoped, but quite beyond it. Yesterday I opened up the bowl to feed it and got confirmation from Descartes that things were not as they should be - he pinched his nose and left the house as quickly as he could, tossing over his shoulder the words I already knew - "That stuff ain't right!"

I spent a good three hours on the internet last night trying to figure out if my starter is indeed a goner. Not only did I find that there are about a million ways to make starter, but also that there are many differing opinions about what starter should smell like. "Soury-beery" was my favorite. Alas, "it should smell sour, not bad" came up too often for me to pretend my starter was okay.

So I'm throwing it out this morning and, on the advice of many in the blogosphere, I'm going to get myself an established starter. If anyone can help me out in this arena, please let me know! Otherwise, I think I'm going to buy one of the old American starters (some have been continuously fed and distributed since the 1800's!) and fill my house with a smell that will not drive Descartes into the yard.


Julie said...

oh my dearie! I made it hear for the first time today! I'm so happy that you will be putting your beautiful self out there for all to see! I love reading about your baking and homemaking. I wish we were neighbors and could share some tea and fresh baked bread! (or wine! and fresh baked)

Jenny said...

I tried the wild starter process from NT too, and I liked it but it was way to strong for DH. It tasted more like sharp cheddar cheese and beer than sourdough bread. It definitely went through a super-funky phase before mellowing out.

Maggie said...

Jenny: Darn it all! Too bad I got your post a day too late, maybe my starter wasn't bad after all. Ah well, I can always try again, eh? Thanks for the feedback!


back2thewomb said...

My dear dear Phoebe! You and I are on so many of the same paths.

I'm so glad to see you loving your Nourishing Traditions as much as I do!!! My heart is filled with delight to see you exploring this life changing book.

I tried my first sourdough starter 2 or 3 years ago. Mine went terribly WRONG! I grew mold not wild yeast. I was so down and out after working on this for a full 7 days it took me 2 or 3 yrs to try it again.

Last Sept or Oct I had started the Sourdough Starter again and this time I made sure I did it right. I had done more research before I started and got myself a grain mill. Yes I have gone that far...I now grind my own grain. I will not go back to the old dead flour I used before. (Last year Syd and I actually grew wheat, oats, rye, barley, and quinoa in the garden too.)

You have to get the book, "Wild Fermentation" it will help you fill in all the blanks when you're trying to ferment for the first time. This book suggests that you add a mold fruit(like a raspberry) to help start the starter. I think that really did the trick cause I have the best sourdough starter as a result.

There is nothing better than serving your family and friends bread that you made from scratch, which included flour you ground yourself and wild yeast you harvested from your own kitchen leavening the bread. Talk about getting back to nature and getting in touch with the feminine.

So my dear friend and goddessmate, try it again. Cause just like most things we do, bread making like this is a living art. It takes practice and a love for the process.

I love the blog by the way! You as always are amazing.

Love, your Mirabai