Daily Archives: March 27, 2019

Further Fun(?) with Sourdough Bread

So. I’m trying to make sourdough bread again.
This is at least my third time trying this.
Basically, last time, I got pretty fed up with how heckin’ long it takes to make a batch of bread.
Like… I know the 18+ hours is mostly not “my time” – it’s time when the chef is inoculating, when the dough is rising, and rising, and rising… but for someone who’s used to starting the bread at 1pm and having it done before dinner? This is a LOT of time. Actually having to plan and schedule things levels of time.
Also, I was having a hard time getting the bread to rise enough, and to not kind of… crumble apart when cut and/or go moldy at the drop of a hat.
Seriously. I wasn’t sure what kind of bacteria I had making my starter bubbly, but…. the mold that resulted was a lot more multi-coloured than what I was used to. Which was concerning.
So, based on all of that, something was definitely going wrong.
Given that my bread is less a hobby and more a way of shaving $2/week off our grocery bill while making a semi-reliable offering to the household gods and ancestors… I put my starter in the back of the fridge and basically ignored it unless and until I had a batch of vegan baked goods to make and needed something to function as egg-replaces (for binding, not leavening).
 
However. Spring is springing, a friend in the neighbourhood is posting about her own sourdough adventures, and I keep waking up at 4am freaking out about How Are We Going To Survive When The World Ends???[1]
So: Sourdough bread.
 
What I did, was I dug my old starter (still kicking, despite the odds!) out of the back of the fridge, poured off the water, and then scooped what was left – about half a cup of starter – into a new jar in-which I had already mixed the following:
1 tbsp honey
1/4 C plane yoghurt
1/2 C milk
1/2 C water
1/2 C rye flour
1/2 C all-purpose wheat flour
 
That was the day before yesterday.
This morning, I fed it a tablespoon of rye flour and a couple of tablespoons of water, gave it a really good stir, and put it back in a sunny spot in the kitchen.
This afternoon? This afternoon, I discovered that my jar was bubbling like heck to the point of over-flowing.
 
So, in a small bowl, I mixed 1C all-purpose flour with 1C water[2] and then added about half of my starter. Which is hypothetically 4-8 times as much starter as I need? But also, I want this to work and I don’t want my starter jar to keep overflowing. So I used a lot.
This mixture is hanging out on my counter, and I’ll be quietly ignoring it – barring the occasional stir, before going to bed, for example – until tomorrow. At which point, I’ll be trying Step Two (The Levain) and Step Three (adding The Chef to The Levain hoping like heck that it all rises properly).
Fingers crossed, and we’ll see how it goes!
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] I’ve got a lot of friends who look at me and my wife and say that we’re where they’ll go if/when the zombie apocalypse hits. But realistically? Yeah, I can grow veggies. A bit. But how am I going to turn our humanure into nutrient-rich, pathogen-free biochar with some kind of a micro-sized gassifier (that I don’t know how to run, no less)? And without that, how am I going to (a) keep us from getting sick from shit-born pathogens, OR (b) keep our limited garden soil fed and fertile? …So the fact that I want to be able to keeping making bread without relying on freeze-dried yeast? Isn’t really going to be that relevant if I also don’t have access to wheat anymore.
See also: Reasons why I’m trying to get the hang of growing potatoes.
 
[2] From a previously-boiled kettle, so anything like chlorine or whatever has had a chance to evaporate.