Sourdough Diaries – Episode 6-7

Sourdough starter

Day 6:

Hey friends, Sarah here. Sourdough Diaries number 6. So after yesterday’s feeding I didn’t get rid of the discard. Actually I experimented a little bit. So here’s the one that I fed with you yesterday. Nothing. I’m very disappointed. So I don’t know what’s going on. I did put it in a warmer place but it wasn’t draft free, so I broke my own rule there. But what I did with the discard was I fed it but I didn’t add any more water – well I had a little bit of water – but I just fed it was much thicker. So it’s kind of like cake batter consistency. And I took a picture of it for you this morning, so you could see how much more activity it had compared to this one.

So what I’m going to do is I’m going to continue experimenting there’s a few things I think that’s happening here. Besides the fact that I’ve used chlorinated water for the majority of the process, that’s an issue.  Another issue is I think that maybe I haven’t been using enough flour to begin with, or giving it enough food. But also all of the yeast that is on the flour itself. So, the more flour in theory, the more yeast goes into our starter.

So, what I’ll do here – so this is the texture of the starter that’s going well – it’s kind of like cake batter instead of pancake batter. So I like this better, it had a better result. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to divide it. I’m still going to feed this one just so we can see if it’s going to come back to life again I’ll add a little bit more flour to it but I’ll do that off camera, so you know what this looks like.

Now I’m going to feed half of it just the same way I taught you except with just a little less water, and then I’m going to feed this half the same, except I’m going to add a little bit of molasses to it. Now my theory here is that, maybe the yeast needs a little bit more food. Why am I not just using sugar? Well, sugar is completely lacking in nutrients. So I’m not going to use sugar. I’m going to use molasses, because even though it is made with sugar cane, it’s the byproduct of the sugar making process, and it is very nutrient-dense. Now, I’m not going to use honey either, because honey has anti-microbial properties. And so since yeast is a microbe I want to make sure that is alive. And although it’s safe to put honey in your bread when you’re making bread with commercial yeast, and even later when you’re making sourdough bread, you could totally put honey in it. At this early stages when the yeast is not very strong then it’s wise to keep all of those anti-microbial things out, including our chlorinated water.

Also if you didn’t have molasses maybe maple syrup would be – like real maple syrup, not the high fructose corn syrup substitute – real maple syrup from a maple tree. So, I’m going to add two spoons of flour, and add two spoons of flour in this one too. Maple syrup – real maple syrup – has some nutrients in it as well. So I think it would be a good substitute, it’s not as dense, especially minerally, it’s not as dense. I don’t know if minerally is a word, but it’s fine. So in this one I’m just going to put just a splash of molasses, it’s probably a teaspoon is all I want to add. Now get my distilled water and very carefully I just a little bit at a time so that we don’t over-water it. And we’ll see what this does.

So I hope that you are all still enjoying this process even though it looks like we’re failing, we’re learning. And also I have made many sourdough starters in the past but I’ve never made one with all-purpose flour. I hope we can still be friends. I was just trying to make this the most easily available and accessible to the majority of the population watching this video. So, if you have whole wheat flour, or rye flour you are probably leagues ahead of us right now. Which is ok, which is really great and I hope you are.

So, here’s where I’m going to stop with my texture. I’ve got my molasses all mixed in, and it’s like that, maybe brownie batter or cake batter consistency. And it’s a little bit tan now because of that molasses. So, we will see what that’s going to look like tomorrow. I’m very excited – I like to experiment in the kitchen. And also it’s okay to make mistakes because you learn every single time. So I’m going to stir this up and put all three of them to bed and we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Day 7:

So we did a lot of experimenting yesterday and I’m happy to see some activity that’s going on in all of what we’ve covered so far. So I guess we’ll start with the one that wasn’t doing so well yesterday because it was very thin. So I thickened it up, I just added flour to it and stirred it and I left it alone. And there’s a bit of activity that I can’t see from the side, but I did take a top view picture of all three so you can see that. So I’m not going to give up on it, I’m just going to let it rest again. So then, the thicker starter experiment with one and divided it in two – this is the one that I just kept with flour and water, and it’s got some happy bubbles on the surface of it which I’m pleased with. So I got some hope that it’s good, And so the one that we added molasses to it’s got the same amount of happy bubbles as it’s kind of twin here.

So I’m very pleased, and this also brings me to think that maybe I have just been giving them too much love and attention, instead of just letting them, and giving them a little bit more time to grow on their own, I’ve just been given some more food, and some more water, and just loving them to death. And that’s what I do with all my houseplants and so all my houseplants die. I want to just leave these alone. I’m not even going to feed them today. I want to see how much more activity they’re going to get. I might not even stir them. Just going to let them hang out in the room.

So, instead of putting a blanket on them this time I’ve noticed the tops getting a little dry, and I don’t want them to dry out because that will hinder the growth.  So, what I’ve done is just let the lids rest on top, not screwing them on at all. And if you’ve got one of these two part lids – you’ll see me do this later to this is how I keep my sourdough starters – I will put the rubber side up and then I will put a little cap on it so that it doesn’t seal, because like I said, the yeast needs to breathe and circulate. And if we were to seal our sourdough starter really tightly shut it would be – it could be very aggressive when we open it up again. It’s almost like a shaken bottle of soda.

So there you are, this is what I’m doing today. I hope that you all are well and I hope your sourdough starters are thriving. Now if you noticed that your sourdough starter is doing so well that you notice it double in size, then awesome, I’m very happy for you. And what I want you to do is put it in the fridge for a while, and then let me catch up to you. Because that’s exactly what you want to see. You want to see so many bubbles and you want it to double in size. That’s how you know you’ve got a healthy starter. So let’s all get to that point and then we’ll make some stuff together. So I hope to see you soon. I’ll check back in tomorrow and see what the progress is on these. So take care.