Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Day 6

Wednesday, May 2, 2007
When I came home from work, I was full of hope that today would be the day that my little late bloomer would burst into flower. No such luck. I reminded myself that we've had cool weather lately, so the kitchen has not been at 70 to 75 degrees, and things are just moving slowly. I said encouraging things to the starter, in a tone of forced cheerfulness.
After Jim took the picture, I decided that I needed to do something more than just gave fake affirmations to my lazy, ungrateful child, so I added some more rye flour, along with the bread flour, and I put the whole thing in a clean bowl. Then I went upstairs, out of earshot, and swore at the starter. Fortunately, I had yoga tonight, and I realized that swearing at sourdough starter is not a very zen state of mind. When I got home, I told her, sincerely, that I liked her just the way she is. However, I don't think I'll be baking sourdough bread this weekend.


Melinda said...

Demegrad (Justin) was my starter mentor, and gave me much encouragement and advice. My starter was slow but it got there in the end.

This may amuse you. I want to make my own crumpets. I have been trying to find crumpet rings that have the little handles. I can't find them anywhere. (And no, I haven't tried ebay yet.) I thought they would be an easy find here. No. I can get the plain rings but not the 'fancypants' ones in England.

evil cake lady said...

well i am glad to see fancypants being used internationally.

bbc, even if your starter fails to start, i have been enjoying your daily updates! i hope your little bubbly child picks up the slack and gets fermenting.

Doughadear said...

In a few days when it is in full bloom and you are ecstatic it will forget how unhappy you were with it.

June said...

This past winter, I tried RLB's method and had nearly identical results to what you have so far. I don't want to discourage you, but mine never perked up, except for a few bubbles on day 3-4, and by day 7 it was clearly not alive. I will watch yours anxiously! I hope yours will turn out better - and I will give mine another try if it does!

(FWIW, I live in the same area as you, too. Maybe it's something in the MN air...)

breadbasketcase said...

I'm pretty sure that my crumpet rings, which I got from Williams-Sonoma, didn't have handles. Maybe crumpet rings aren't meant to have them?

Me too!

Like childbirth?

Oh no! That's bad news. I really think it's the cold temperatures. I think the instructions specify a "room temperature" of 75 to 80. Maybe I'll put it outside this weekend--unless it rains. I haven't given up yet.

DEMEGrad said...

I still wouldn't worry at all. You have to understand that it takes a while to get a well balanced and healthy starter going. Many issues exist but the solution is almost always just keep feeding it and you'll know when it is good. There is very minimal amount of yeast which is present in the air and as such on the flour you used to begin the starter. Using the organic flour gives you the best chance to capture yeast, and even though I say that there is a minimal amount of yeast on the flour, it is certain that there is some there. The problem that gives people uncertainty in the early stages is the fact that the bacteria has a will double in population in an hour or so where yeast ( even commercial yeast ) takes about a day. Given that in these early stages of starter development the bacteria gives the impression of active yeast life because it (the bacteria) is able to multiple much quicker. But bacteria does many things where as yeast pretty much just eats stuff and produces CO2 and alcohol, so yeast produces much more gas than bacteria ever will. So my guess is so far the yeast population isn't quite far enough along and is not into balance with the bacteria population. Another issue that can arise is the fact that the yeast which does exist in your culture is producing CO2 and creating a bubble around itself and becoming no longer connected to its food source. So there may be fresh flour for the yeast to eat in your bowl there but the yeast can't get to it, solution is to stir the mixture and let it sit another day, then feed it again. Keep it going it'll work I promise.

breadbasketcase said...

Very intuitive thought was that maybe I should not feed it for a while but just mix it up and let it sit for another 24 hours. You've given me a scientific basis for my guess. I also remember reading somewhere that the more you bake, the more yeast you have floating around in the air. Since I haven't done much baking in the last few months, and everything has been stirred up, I think it's also possible that I don't have as good an environment for the starter as I would have six months ago. But I'm definitely not giving up.