Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Sour Dough Starter That Ate My Kitchen!

Here is a picture of a "summery" flower wreath that my gal made me!

I have had a busy week. I keep meaning to blog, but life is getting in the way!

I love to bake, in fact I bake all our bread , and I love to try new recipes, but it just so happens that I am lethal to sour dough starters. My friends are so sweet - they just keep supplying me with new starters after I kill one off!

I recently let a starter that my friend gave me last year die a slow death. I had baked with it rather regularly because it made a great cinnamon bread and the kids loved it for breakfast. But as the weather gets hot, I tend to use the oven less and thus the dough was forgotten.

Last weekend I was feeling like baking again for some reason and realized I had no sour dough starter. I had no time to go and beg for starter from one of my friends who bakes, so I decided to try my hand at making my own starter.

I have tried this before, without success, but I decided that was the past and I would try again!

So I carefully followed the recipe and then threw in some other ingrediants that sounded good  :) and a little extra yeast and then set it out on the counter to let it grow the yeast I needed to make a good, lasting starter!

I proceded to get the kitchen spotlessly clean and was about to relax at the computer and blog (brag!) about my accomplishments that day, when my youngest came downstairs to ask me what was all over the kitchen counter!

Here is what I came up to see:

Well, actually that was taken after I started to clean it up, but you get the idea! That starter was all over the place. I calmly cleaned it up and put it into a HUGE bowl so that it couldn't escape again.

After a couple of days on the counter, I figured that I better feed the stuff so it didn't die on me again. So right before I went to bed, I "fed" it and put it into some pretty canning jars again. I love the way that looks sitting on the counter. It is just so "homey" !

Well I had just settled in with a good book, when my hubby came into the room and asked me what on earth I had done in the kitchen! You guessed it, the stuff went crazy again! So I cleaned up my counter and the starter went back into the "prison" bowl!

The next day, I decided it was time to use some of the starter up and make some bread. So I mixed it all up. That bread rose like a champ, so I punched it back down and I put it into the bread pans. I felt so happy that all the craziness had been worth it!

Guess what - It wouldn't rise! Grrrr - I baked it anyway and no-one will eat it except me 'cause it looks flat. They are so spoiled!  

It tastes good, but it is obviously very upredictable to work with sour dough. I have to get the hang of it though because it is almost time for the Fair and I would love to enter a good loaf of sour dough!

Anyone have any good tips for me ????


  1. Sorry! Nope, never had experience with any dough other than Play Doh! BUT, that wreath your gal made you is Awesome! How sweet :)

  2. lol! Jenny, I love Play doh too- We have had tons of experience with that kind of dough. The wreath was just too sweet, so I had to post it. My DD is very creative and I love it when she makes me something!

  3. I have been baking sourdough for a couple of years and made my starter from scratch without any commercial yeast. Actually, once it the yeast are activated, they are very hard to kill off...but the trick is the starting.

  4. I tried starting it once by catching the wild yeast, but it didn't ever "take off", so this time I did use a commerical yeast. I hope I will get the hang of it, otherwise I will have to "beg" some starter from one of my friends who are so generous!

  5. I question the need to "catch" wild yeast. Yeast is everywhere *including* already present in the flour, so all you need to do is cultivate it. I did mine in winter with my house temperature around 65 degrees, which was a challenge. I used a mason jar with cheese cloth over it and kept it warm in a cooler filled with some warm water, which I replaced every morning and throughout the day as necessary. I also added equal amounts of filtered water and flour each day (Don't use tap water. Spring water is even better!). As I recall, it took about two weeks before the starter actually looked and smelled as it is supposed to when it is ready, but in the summer it might take less time. The trick is not to be fooled by the first bubbling in the first few days as that is a harmless bacteria that will die off in just a few days.

    Commercial yeast, as you have seen, still needs to be cultivated for sourdough as well or else it will not work either. It is highly active, but also tends to fizzle out quickly. Personally, I have never used for sourdough. I always felt that the two differing yeast varieties would compete too much for the same food and since wild yeast is slower to cultivate, it would never get a good start to bring the fullest sourdough taste. Once started wild yeast is more manageable and predictable, I think. Still, sourdough is an art, as I said in my post, every loaf is a bit different.

  6. Oh, I just saw your comment on my post. Thank you for such a sweet compliment.

  7. Browsing around from TOS Crew. I am pleased to be following you via GFC.

    This post had me smiling from the title to the flat bread. I think I'll skip sour dough for a little while, though. =) I have enough trouble keeping up with my simple "friendship bread" starter.

    I've nominated your blog for the Stylish Blogger Award. You can learn more about it and pick up your award here:

    I'm looking forward to stopping by, again, soon.



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