Sourdough Starter Feeding
Posted in Baking, Recipes
Forenoon watch, 5 bells (10:44 am)

I've used this exact method to get a dormant starter going so well that it nearly triples when I refresh it. If this doesn't get your starter up and running like crazy, then there's no saving it!

Warm up 1 cup of water about 20 seconds in the microwave. It should be warm, but not hot. Too much heat will kill your starter. If it's too hot for you it's too hot for your starter.

Add 1 cup of your starter to the water and whisk until uniform. Discard the rest of the starter if it's dormant. If it's really active, use it!

Put 1 1/2 cups of flour in a bowl with the starter and whisk until combined. It's okay if there are some small chunks of flour, but you want it as well-combined as possible.

Cover with plastic wrap and keep it out on your counter. If you have a warm sunny spot, that's even better, but it'll work at room temperature.

Repeat this process in the morning and in the late afternoon/evening for 3 days.

Once it's really active, you should refresh it every 2 days or so if you keep it out. If you refrigerate it, it should keep indefinitely.

Baking Day
Posted in Baking
Last dog watch, 2 bells (7:18 pm)

Today started out pretty relaxing, Lorien fell asleep on the couch because she wasn't sleeping well last night, and I woke up early and continued reading my book (Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide to Better Ideas). She finally got up and left, and I started refreshing my own sourdough starter I started last year (not the one I normally use). I'm bringing it up to full activity to test its flavor; it has one chance to be tasty or I throw it out in favor of another one I have lined up (still, aside from my normal go-to Giza starter).

So after I refreshed the starter, I made bread. Eight pounds of bread dough. I soon realized that my 8 quart container isn't big enough for that much bread to rise in, as it began a Napoleonesque expansion war. I had to tap it down several times before it blew the lid off my container. Even after I put it in the refrigerator. Eventually I decided to just bake a one-pound loaf.

Just as that came out of the oven, Lorien came home and asked me to start on another Strawberry Cream Cake like I made a couple of weeks ago. I just took that cake out of the pan and it is in the final cooling stages.

So I did a lot of baking today, and it was all from scratch. I even organized some of my dry goods into sealed containers. I moved both my cake flour and masa harina out of their rolled-up open bags into sealed containers. Also, it's time to get rid of my bread machine. I haven't used it in a very long time…

A Slow Starter
Posted in Hobbies
Afternoon watch, 3 bells (1:43 pm)

I recently got another starter from my uncle (I accidentally killed the last one—with insecticide believe it or not, but I digress…). I fed it, and took a bit out for a loaf of bread, but it came out really dense, and didn't rise much over the 12 or so hours I left it alone.

So I decided to experiment a little. I took out a cup or so and fed it some flour, water, and about a half teaspoon of sugar. Nothing happened for about the first day, but then it started picking up pretty good. Last night I put it in a bigger bowl and fed it some more. This morning it was still bubbling away happily. It is a bit slow, but has great flavor. I think I'll be ready to make up a batch later tonight.

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Experimental Sourdough
Posted in Hobbies
First dog watch, 4 bells (6:00 pm)

I have two batches (three loaves) of sourdough to bake tonight. They're rising for the second time right now. I made them up yesterday, my starter (a Giza culture) is a slow riser. They look good, though. I like my normal recipe, but I'd like to try to find an even better recipe—this is the first experiment. I'm going to start baking in another hour or two. If I remember, I'll take some pictures!

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