Friday, 17 May 2013

Bread and water ...

I've been looking after my sourdough starter for nearly three weeks now.  Except for one day when I forgot to feed it.  I did feel incredibly guilty the next day when I remembered - and when I thought it was dead!  Happily it survived that small glitch and seems to be doing well.

For the first week or so, the jar resided in one of my thermal cooking pots.  The obvious problem was that I couldn't use the thermal cooker for anything else.

Starter - newly fed and watered ...
After pondering the issue, I switched to using an insulated bag (purchased for 50c from an op-shop). Although the insulation is much thinner, the starter seems to have coped with the change.

We are on tank water here - or would be if it rained. Until it does, 10-15cm of bore water is pumped into the tank every couple of weeks.

The bore water is perfectly fine for most applications though the taste and texture aren't particularly pleasant for tea/coffee (or drinking without additives). 

I've therefore been using bottled water for beverages - and for the sourdough starter!  I'm not totally spoiling it though because for the past two weeks I've only used room temperature water!

So. Is the starter ready to use yet? I'm not entirely sure. From my reading it could take 7-10 days for it to smell "good - sweet, fruity, yeasty, almost boozy - having lost any harsh, acrid edge". At that stage, I should feel "enticed" to start baking. There have been definite changes to the texture and smell of the starter. It does seem to have mellowed quite a bit (and given the less than optimum temperatures, I feel it is reasonable for the process to take longer than suggested).

There were a couple of days this week when I was nearly "enticed" to use it. It's probably not nearly good enough yet though - and I reckon it will be at least another week before any baking occurs.  I'm not too worried.  Even using organic flour and bottled water, it is still very cheap entertainment!

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