Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What we're growing in the fridge

Meet the Borg. It's what I've nicknamed our sourdough starter. I'm not a Star Trek fan but hanging around Mr. Maricucu all these years has taught me a bit about all things Star Trek, Star Wars, Battle Star Galactica, Stargate and let's not even begin to discuss Firefly. Not all of it stuck mind you but enough for me to know that naming my jar of symbiotic organisms The Borg is very appropriate. Plus it's just pretty cool having something in the fridge that I've named.

I've always been a little interested in sourdough starters. Just enough to know what they were and that it was way too much work for me. I mean, who the heck bakes bread once a week? Well, now I do. I have another post for the bread baking day but for a year or so I've been baking our bread because it's a bit healthier but also because it's way tastier than anything we could buy at the store.

Once you're breaking out the yeast more than once a week your mind wanders to related territory like sourdough starters. Most websites warn newcomers to buy or beg a starter rather than start (ha!) their own. On the other hand's host has a video showing a surefire way of making your own starter that does not use weird additives like sugar, yeast or potato water. The method uses a slurry of flour and pineapple juice that reduces the risk of capturing anything besides wild yeast. Which means your science experiment will actually make bread and not grow mold like that meatloaf in the fridge. After the third addition you move onto straight water and flour. I began my starter in January and it's still alive and happily kicking.

When I take it out of the fridge it looks like this. See the bubbles on the top about to burst? Lots of bubbles under the surface as well which means plenty of yeast activity even in the fridge.

Then I feed it about 75 grams of water and 65 grams of unbleached flour (which approximately 1/4c water and 1/2c flour), stir, let it rest on the counter for 12 hours and it looks like this:

See all that wonderful growth? It smells well, yeasty. Kind of like a beer/vinegar mixture but pleasant and clean (unless you ask Mr. Maricucu who says it smells like feet. Sorry Borg, don't pay attention to him). Next step, stirring up a sponge and the beginning of bread . . .


Kay said...

thank you! I'm one of those bread making girls and I've been wanting an easy sour-dough starter recipe.

Found your blog from "A Year in Bread." Liking your style in what I've read so far. :o)

Marielle said...

Kay you're welcome and thank you for visiting my humble little playground! I'm glad that starter tutorial is able to help another person like me. I liked peeking in on your blog as well.