This is a sad post.
I love my sourdough starter. I care for it like a baby, feeding it a couple of tablespoons of flour and water everyday, scooping off any nasty grey bits once in a while, keeping it warm by the oven or slow-cooker when I bake or make stews. The day feels better when I see it happily bubbling away or smell its sour scents in the morning.
The past summer, I smuggled it back to Singapore despite the liquids allowance for hand baggage, because I didn't want it to die of suffocation or extreme manhandling in my check-in luggage. I didn't realise it until after I cleared security, but I was actually holding my breath, praying the bored officers wouldn't ask about that odd jar sitting in my handbag, and then opening it up to reveal.. toxic gunk that could be used to start a (stink)bomb. And then I had to smuggle it back to London in fall. I know, I'm nuts.
This time though, I FORGOT. How stupid can I get! I've been feeding it hearty meals the past few days to get it healthy and fit for the journey (and to use up my whole spelt flour). AND THEN I FORGOT. I doubt any starter, even one as strong and happy as mine, can survive 3 months in the British summer without a feeding. Yikes.
What to do?
I'm making a new starter. It's actually pretty simple. You only need 2 ingredients- flour and water (plus 1 optional secret ingredient).
How to make your own sourdough starter
wholegrain flour (as fresh as possible. rye is especially easy to start with.)
water (filtered or spring or at least dechlorinated by leaving tap water out for a few hours for the chlorine to evaporate)
natural pineapple juice (Star tip from The Fresh Loaf! The wild yeast you want to capture from the air prefers a slightly acidic and sweet environment.)
1. Day One: Mix 2 tbsp of flour with 2 tbsp of pineapple juice.
2. Day Two and Three: Repeat. Just add on. You should get a bubbly mixture that smells slightly yeasty.
3. Day Four: Scoop out and discard some of the mixture, leaving behind about 1/4 cup (no need to be exact). Feed now with flour and water. You can feed maybe 1/4 cup of each daily, or 2 tbsp of each twice daily (I find this more effective.)
4. Repeat till you get a bubbly lively yeasty smelling sourdough starter that slightly expands (i.e. you see holes in it), usually by Day Seven. It may die or go flat halfway but it'll spring back to life ultimately. A warm kitchen is the optimum environment.
5. You can now use it for your baking or cooking, or just leave it in the fridge and take it out once every week to feed with a bit of flour and water for a couple of days to keep it happy. (I have even left mine in hibernation for a month before and it's bravely survived.) But since it's still a baby, I suggest keeping it out for a couple more weeks with daily or two-daily feedings to boost its flavour and strength.
It will take a while of pampering for it to be as brilliant as its predecessor. The best sourdough starters have been passed down for centuries, from baker to baker's son to baker's grandsons. I'll leave my future generations a jar of sourdough starter ("you mean that's all there is in Grandma's will?!" )
Meanwhile, here's one of my favourite recipes which my little hero has made with me in the past:
and bread of course, but I've not done a post on that.
Sourdough Honey Whole Spelt Loaf
Thank you, and farewell.
This is part of Simple Lives Thursday.