Sourdough Saga – The Resurrection
When last I wrote, it was a sad entry in the sourdough saga. After one missed feeding, my sourdough starter had seemed to die. No rise, no bubbles, no pleasant sour smell, there was just nothing except a vinegar type stink coming from the jar. It appeared that Armondo (perhaps the greatest yeast warrior to ever live) had fought valiantly, but had failed to protect the yeast colony and was overcome by a fire breathing dragon. (you should really read the past entries to get caught up.
If you’d like to read the journey that has taken me to this point in time, here are the posts:
It was really quite tragic. After a month of feeding this cousin of wallpaper glue, it seemed that all of my effort had been in vain. Well, not entirely in vain, I did have some nice bread along the way, but part of the enticement of sourdough bread is the starter. There is a bit of nostalgia in the idea that I can make a loaf of bread using the same starter that I began a year ago, or (long term thinking) that I could pass it down to my children someday. I know, that’s a little weird and perhaps over the top, but a charming lady from Australia was telling me that her starter has gone around the world with family and friends. That’s kind of cool in my book. It’s on page 78, line 43 in the chapter on things that are cool. Look it up when you’re bored sometime.
Well, I didn’t want to give up on my starter quite so easily. I had read that they can be revived most of the time, so I continued to feed it just like normal for the first couple of days. I put part of it in the refrigerator, just in case I wasn’t able to revive the living portion. I transitioned to unbleached white flour because it was less likely to introduce any other harmful invaders into my already weakened yeast colony. Day three, it’s looking pretty gloomy, and I’m getting desperate. I typically keep a pretty clean workspace, but when I’m weighing my starter feeding on my handy little kitchen scale, it’s not totally uncommon for a drop or two to make a getaway and land on the scale. Unfortunately, I had cleaned the scale earlier in the week. I checked it out, and there were two specs of dried starter that were about the size of raindrops. I really don’t know if this is what worked, but I scraped them off and added them to a fresh feeding of starter. … End of day three, still no sign of life. I have given up. My poor little single celled organisms have all perished, and it is entirely because of my negligence. I crawled down the hallway into bed. I broke a few bottles and threw the shards down first though. It seemed like the right thing to do when you’re responsible for an entire habitats collapse.
I probably slept really late the next day because I couldn’t bare to go back into the office and look at the cold lifeless lump of dough staring me in the face. Eventually, I knew that my computer and work were also waiting for me in the office, so I gingerly made my way down the hallway of broken glass and broken dreams… This time with a broom though. You have to know when to move on.
When I arrived in my office, I tried not to look at the jar, but I couldn’t help it. I tried to fight back the tears of failure and regret, which was made surprisingly easier by the odd outline of a few bubbles visible in the starter through the glass. Turns out, the fire breathing dragon wasn’t a fan of sourdough yeast, and spit Armondo back out. He suffered for several days in an intensive care unit for yeast burn victims. It was touch and go, but on the 3rd day…. (I need a big choir, and a televangelist voice) … on the third day, he finally started to open his eyes. (or whatever the yeast equivalent of eyes are… probably better just imagining them having eyes) That night, he was feeling well enough to do what yeast do best. Eat, Multiply, and make gas. By morning, there was an exponential revival of yeast guys. All thanks to the valiant effort of one noble and brave yeast man… Armondo!
(This is Armondo rising from the yeast grave that I drew for him… I’m not much of an artist with pen and paper, so you have to use your imagination. …a lot of it in fact.)
That’s been a couple of weeks ago now, and everything is thriving. I’ve also started keeping a backup in the refrigerator because of the advice of the previously mentioned lady from Australia. Here is a link to her facebook page which is full of some pretty amazing loaves of sourdough bread. I think I’m going to have to beg and plead with her to share one or two of them with me. (Thanks – Jo)
Here’s the link to Jo’s sourdough ‘Mother’ and bread pictures. You should really check it out. Quite impressive!