Now it is time to look at what has happened to the starter two months on. It is easier to get flour now, so that has made the whole thing so much better. Still, there were some struggles, but I feel Iike I have a better handle on it all now.
You have to start with the starter
There is no doubt about it, if you want to make sourdough bread you have to have a good starter. It is all dependent on it.
In my last post, I talked about the first two starters that I started. I have to say I was watching them and I wasn’t too happy. They did not seem to be doing what they were meant to be doing, so I thought, stuff it, I’m going to do my own. Which is exactly what I did.
I just made it up. Roughly followed what everyone else was saying to do, but really, I just went for it. I chucked in some flour and an equal weight of water. I did that every 12 hours for the first few days, then went to daily, or every 24 hours.
It wasn’t looking good. Talk about frustrating. After about 2 weeks I was ready to throw it away. Declare it was a waste and wasn’t working.
I am so glad I never did that. It is the best one I have now and I use it all the time.
Using it more now
I am now baking bread about 4 times a week, and it is the starter I use the most. It gets fed every day with white bread flour and water. When I want some to use I make a levain from the main one. It is working well for me.
It has been so good that I have actually dried some and put away so if I stuff up what I have I can go back to when it was good. I’ve also heard that people give them away. I’m not opposed to that idea but not sure anyone would want mine.
There are so many things I’ve discovered with making my own starter and I thought I would share some of them with you.
What I’ve learned
- You don’t have to be super careful with the feeding. If you put in too much water or flour, it won’t kill it. I’ve had the scales turn off in the middle of putting in flour, so I have had to just guess, and it is still alive.
- You don’t have to feed it at the same time each day. I tend to feed mine about 4 hours earlier than I want to use it. Sometimes that is in the morning, sometimes it is in the afternoon. Sometimes it is when I remember.
- You can change the quantities every time you want. I never know how much I will put in each day. I just go for it.
- Naming my starter, nope, can’t do it. Mine are named 1, 2, and 3. That is only so I know which is which.
- Apparently starting your starter off with a bread mix isn’t the end. It will recover and get better with time.
- The warmer the water you put in it when you feed it the faster it will grow. Obviously don’t put too hot water in, or you will kill it. If your hand can go in the water comfortably your starter will be able to enjoy it as well.
- You can use a jar with a lid. Just make sure the jar is big enough to deal with the rise. If it is too small then it might explode. I’ve had mine in largish jars and they have been fine. I always screw the lids down.
- All starters are covered, so no idea where the idea comes that the yeast comes from the air. I have read it comes from the flour itself as well. Not sure if that is true, who knows. Maybe it comes from the water.
- Don’t buy bottled water for it. Think of the planet and the wasted bottles. I boil the kettle put the water in a jug and wait for it to cool down. If it goes too cold, I add more boiled water.
- Flours are not all the same. White flour will be runnier than rye flour. They absorb different amounts of water. I tend to feed the rye and wholemeal starters with more water because of that.
That seems to be it. Really, you should just have fun with it.
Watching your starter grow
It is exciting to watch it grow when you want to use it. I tend to stick mine in the oven with just the light on. It is winter here right now, so if you leave it on the bench it would take forever. Might have to re-evaluate when the weather gets warmer.
When you start to use it you can see all the holes and bubbles in it. It is really fascinating stuff. Who would’ve thought that flour and water could make this?
When I was a kid we used flour and water to make a paste.
Recently I was loaned the FUJINON XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro from Fujifilm Australia. I have been playing with it a lot and I wanted to let you know that I have taken the photos in this post with it.
Being housebound and it being winter didn’t leave a lot of choices for macro photography. I thought it would be fun to try and take something different ones with the starters.
Other people have done these so I thought I would give it a go. Of course, it would have been ideal to do it with the starter on the bench, but oh well. Mine was tucked away in the over.
It was done over 3 or 4 hours and the timelapse consists of 340 images. It has been a while since I did one of these. I need to try some more.
Initially, I had planned on doing 30 frames a second, but it was like watching paint dry. I sped it up to 100 frames a second and it looks much better.
So here is my starter as it fed and grew ready for me to make some bread with.