Sunday, November 11, 2012

Catching a yeastie beastie!

I love sourdough bread. It's a favorite of mine and the fact that it's lower on the Glycemic Index means that for me a slice of sourdough bread requires a smaller amount of insulin than other breads and the chances are lower that I'll get an unexpected high blood sugar reading after eating it. But I don't like buying loaves of it because I only eat a couple of slices a week and the bread eventually gets tossed into the trash. I started reading about sourdough and starter and learned about "catching a wild yeast". I know, there's quite a bit of debate about whether the yeast is in the air, the flour or both but regardless, I thought it would be fun to try sometime.

Conveniently, on Thursday a friend of mine posted to a forum we're both on about her starter made with wild yeast. She listed the steps and shared a picture and it sounded so simple even I could do it so I bit the bullet Friday.

I mixed one cup of unbleached flour and one cup of warm water in a glass bowl. I wet a kitchen towel with hot water, squeezed out the excess, wrapped the bowl in the towel, and set it on top of my microwave.

This is how it looked on Day 1 after being mixed.

When I was home, I stirred it every four to six hours, wet the towel again, wrapped the bowl in the towel and put it back on the microwave. 

On Day 2 I noticed a few small bubbles in the mix. Not many but a few. I continued the stirring, towel wetting, and bowl wrapping routine every four to six hours. I wish I'd gotten a picture of that but I'd had a long day at work and was too tired to do much but what I absolutely had to.

Today is Day 3 and when I checked the bowl this morning, this is what I found. I hold the secret to life! Itself!  ('scuse the reference to The Rocky Horror Picture Show but this moment seemed fitting for it)

The friend who posted about her starter is sick and unable to answer questions so I read her posts about the starter and gathered from them what I needed to do next. I added a pinch of flour and a pinch of sugar to the mix, stirred it, wet the towel with hot water, squeezed out the excess, wrapped the bowl in the hot towel, and put it back on the microwave. A few hours later I found a growing, yeasty smelling mess of stuff in the bowl. Success!

I'm not sure what to do at this point. I've gone to several sites and read about making starter this way and some say to discard half of what's in the bowl, feed the remainder and and leave it out for another couple of days. Others say to just feed for a couple of days without discarding any. For now, I'm going to leave Adam (that's what I've named this starter since he's my first) alone and will stir and feed him tomorrow morning before work. 

I hope I don't return home to a blob of yeast taking over my kitchen!


Kirsten said...

There are many great resources for sourdough. I grind my own wheat (or use barley). We use sourdough primarily because both my children have sensitivity to wheat - but sourdough is okay. Here are a few of my favorite sourdough resources: Northwest Sourdough
Sourdough Home
And a few good recipes:
Enjoy trying new sourdough and building on your starter.

CookinsForMe said...

Kirsten, thanks for that information. I failed miserably and tried it three times. I decided to put it away and try again later. :)