Friday, August 18, 2017

I May Have Killed It...Or Not

I go through these phases. I think, "Oh I need to learn to do that!" Then I do it. Then I move on. Sometimes things "stick" and sometimes they don't. Knitting seems to have stuck. Scrap booking did not. Does anyone need any scrap booking materials. I have them.

A while ago I decided that I needed a home developed sourdough starter. I KNOW that I told you about it but for the life of me I cannot find the blog post that covered that. If I could just get my bahookie in gear and finish my spread sheet with all of my blogs over the past nine years I might have had better success than the whole floundering around and looking at years and trying to figure out which catchy title actually had the sourdough blogpost in it.

Where was I?

OH yes, sourdough. 

I went to all the trouble of growing my own sourdough starter (it isn't that hard) and using it for a while but then....then.... I have no idea why I decided that it would be a good idea to store the starter down in the basement refrigerator. I know for sure that I would never have thought to throw it out. It had use and as we ALL know I suffer occasionally from a severe case of BIMNISD (again, there is a blog post on this. There perhaps might be more than one. I cannot find them. Moving on.)

For whatever reason, at some point I stored my starter in the basement frig. My upstairs frig is very small and space is at a premium so that is most likely the reason why the starter ended up downstairs. But the result of the reason is that the starter went down into the basement and then just sort of stayed down there like a college student who has come home without a job, languishing in the basement. You know it is down there. You know you should do something about it but you figure, "I will take care of that tomorrow." And tomorrow never comes.

Every time I had to put something into the basement frig or get something out of the basement frig, I would see that container. It would sigh and suggest I use it. It would squeal with delight when I opened the door and then groan with depression when I passed over it.

Do I anthropomorphize things too much? Maybe.

This is probably the time to give you just a bit of sourdough starter knowledge. As the starter sits for any period of time and isn't regularly used a black looking liquid will form on the top. That is called "hooch" and it is exactly what you think. It is alcohol which is really the waste product of the yeast in the starter. It is also telling you that the starter is hungry and hasn't been fed. You can just pour the liquid off and then feed the starter.

Yeah, my starter had a black liquid on it for at least a year. So very appealing and, lets be honest, just a bit scary. After a certain point in time I just preferred to act like that container wasn't even there. I see nothing and move on. We all have that lingering science experiment somewhere in the depths of our refrigerators. Don't tell me that you don't! OK, maybe Heather K doesn't. I have seen her refrigerator and it is spotless and organized. But don't the rest of you tell me that there isn't something lurking. I will KNOW that you are lying.

What happened next is really all the fault of YouTube. I started watching videos produced by Simple Life Homestead (blog). Here is their YouTube channel. Why do I care? Well because Michelle of SLH was Cartoon Girl's BFF all through school. Two more different people there cannot be on the planet and yet. Bonded for life. I have been obsessively watching their videos and got to the series on Sourdough starter and I remembered.....

Yesterday was not a day at the office and I was in the midst of one of my "make all the things" jags so I gingerly brought the container upstairs to the light of day. And I opened the container. And it was so disgusting that....I didn't even take a picture of it. That is how funky it was in there. 

But I would not be deterred. Who cared if there was actually some fuzzy mold growing on the sides of the container? Not me. Mold is good for you. Just think Penicillin! Who cared if there was a whole boatload of hooch just floating sullenly on the top of the starter. That hooch is not the boss of me! I laugh in the face of unknown mold.

First thing to do was to drain off the hooch. That was just a pleasant job. Not quite Sam Tarly serving soup and cleaning poop gross (sorry all you non-Game of Thrones people) but it was still yuck! Then it was a matter of what to do with the sort of funchy growth on the sides of the container and the top of the starter. The starter itself was fairly solid, which I expected since it had been sitting for a long time. It wasn't dried out but was sort of the consistency of whipped cream cheese. It was also giving off a very "alcoholy" smell, also to be expected. I decided that the better part of valor was to just scrape off the top of the starter and then extract from the middle, avoiding the sides.
This is what it looked like once I had removed all that I thought was viable. Take a look at all the yummy stuff on the sides. All the rest of this was scraped out and discarded. Thank goodness!!

Then, because I am a nerd, I measured out what I had been able to safely extract and it came to about 1 cup worth of starter. I didn't want to use all of that in one jar so I actually then split it into two separate starters. Then, because I am REALLY nerdy sometimes, I weighed out each of the starters to see what was what. I came up with about 66 grams per starter. Then, because it is always better to weigh out your ingredients rather than just using a measuring cup (nerd alert again), I actually weighed out 66 grams of flour and 66 grams of warm water (times 2) and add it to each of the starters, stirred it around and covered them up. They did not smell all that promising. 

The initial process was completed around 11a. I kept an eye on them all through the day but not much happened. I fed them each again at 8p, covered them with a towel and went to bed. And this morning........

Bubbles, it has nice bubbles. That is good. And it smelled less alcoholic and a bit more sourdough startery. We might have lift off people. I discarded half of each of the starters, fed each of them with another 66g of flour and 66g of warm water before I left for work and I put them in a place that is warm and draft free. If they are in the least happy I may, just may, try and bake with one of them tomorrow. If not tomorrow then it will more likely be on Tuesday. 

This must be how Dr. Frankenstein felt........ before the monster tried to kill him that is.

I will keep you posted on the progress but I am optimistically excited about this.

But now I have two starters and I really only need one.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my, I think even I would have pitched that nasty stuff and I am a "use well past the use by date" kind of rebel. Glad it worked out for you - after all, the pioneers didn't even have refrigeration - but folks didn't live so long back then....


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