Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back to the drawing board

If anyone out there has any sourdough starter experience, I'd love to hear from you. I made the starter, then fed and nurtured it like a good mama. Everything was going along fine.


I was able to get two delicious loaves from the experiment.


The recipe came from here. A nifty little book lent to me by a friend.


Here's the author. Don't you dig the Carol Brady vibe?

Anyways, the other morning I was all prepped to make a couple more loaves. I went to scoop out some starter only to find that it had turned into a moldy, disgusting, oozing mess. I couldn't stop gagging long enough to photograph it (not that you'd really want to see it).

So my question is - what happened? I did everything right - I think.

My second question is - fridge or counter?

After researching sourdough starter on the internet, some people said keep it in the fridge, others said no way, that will kill it. I kept mine on the counter, because for me, out of sight is out of mind.

I'm not ready to give up, so any advice would be most appreciated.


In the meantime, I returned to "old faithful", pictured above.


Works every time.

Still want to learn sourdough, though.

29 comments:

Beth Stone said...

Hi Jodi,
I've been making sourdough bread for the past 8 years using the same starter I got from my Mamaw, who had been using that same starter for the last 40+ years?!?! Here's what I do - after I feed the starter, I leave it sitting out (lightly covered) on the counter for at least 6 hours (or overnight). Then I put it back in the fridge until the next feeding. It's worked well for me, and I've never had any problems with mold. I feed mine about once a week.... I hope that helps! Good luck!

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Sorry this happened.......I myself don't care for sourdough bread (or anything) but I don't think the fridge will harm your starter. The Tassajara Bread book by Ed Brown is a really good book which your library may have. I like the sponge method where you start the bread the night before and finish it the next morning.

Jodi said...

Beth, thank you. I love that you're using the started that originated with your mamaw. That's exactly what I imagine when I think of sourdough starter. It's looking like the frig is the route I might need to go. I was hoping to leave it out because I'm afraid I'll forget to feed it if it's hidden away in the frig.

Jodi said...

Kristi, considering you don't like sour anything, thanks for taking the time to comment. I love sour everything--bread, pickles, candy, you name it. I'll be on the hunt for the Tassajara Bread book at the library. Thanks again.

monix said...

Hi Jodi, I refrigerate my starter and I haven't had any problems. Obviously it has to be a smaller quantity than you can get in your lovely crock. My English fridge is probably a lot smaller than your lovely American one, though.
Maureen

Ostriches Look Funny said...

Yikes! The whole concept of bread you have to feed freaks me out a little. I guess it's the BLOB IN ME! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

ohangelina said...

my great grandmother made the best sourdough yeast bread ever. i can still smell it.... and she always refridged the mix. ive got to pull out my thumb and get your package off yikes jodi, boy am i slow !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
xoxox

Amy said...

Dad gum it. Wish I had helpful advice. I do adore the artisan bread book! Also adore this walnut bread recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/walnut-bread-10000001932611/

Hope your mystery gets solved!

Jodi said...

Maureen, we've had English friends stay with us who commented that our American frig was huge. And I have American friends who comment how small it is considering how much I like to cook. Go figure. I know it is not large enough to keep the stoneware crock in. I'll definitely have to use a smaller container.

Jodi said...

Miss Ostrich, the starter's alive..it's ALIVE, IT'S ALIVE!!! Therefore, it must be fed.

Jodi said...

OhAngelina, no worries :) xx

Jodi said...

Amy, Dad gum it, I wish you had, too. Well, it's okay if you didn't. I just wanted to say Dad gum it, too. Yep, the artisan bread book is great! THanks for the walnut bread recipe.

Leslie said...

SO GLAD you didn't photograph the mold ;)

i'm a fast-rise yeast girl, so no hints from me (but just like the little red hen's helpers, i'd love to taste it once you get it baked!)

Jodi said...

Leslie, then come on over!

Quotidian Life said...

Jodi, I never got as far as you got--I tried to make my own starter this summer and while is showed signs of "starting", it never really did. I've purchased a dry San Francisco SD starter, the sourdough of my childhood, and I plan to try to activate it this fall. I'm sure I'll do a post if it actually works! Until then I'm only commiserative help.

Jodi said...

Melissa, I've heard of San Francisco Starter; I hope it works, and I'm excited to hear about it. BTW, I will always be indebted to you for the preserved lemons recipe.

Melissa said...

I do mine like @Beth Stone does. I leave it out at room temp. awhile after I feed it, (like overnight) to sort of reactive it... I also take it out and bring it to the warmer, working, bubbling stage before I use it. But in between times, I refrigerate it and feed it once a week.

Don't feel too bad about the batch gone wrong. Sometimes a new starter picks up some weirdness. It seems like the older a sour is, the more strength of spore it has, and the less likely it is to turn into something *other*. Try, try again! Hugs from here.

Jodi said...

Melissa, thanks--will do. Hugs back :)

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

I admire your perseverance in making homemade bread of Any kind. I LOVE sourdough bread, but I've never made my own, so I have no advice to offer regarding the mold problem. I'd be happy to taste-test your loaves, though, when you perfect the recipe! :)

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I love almost everything sour, Jodie! Just not sour dough. And I'm not eating bread anymore, so it's not a problem for me!

After I first read my comment I thought it sounded as though I didn't care for ANYTHING on planet earth, but I knew you'd know that was not so!

Southern Gal said...

My mama and I made this for years and always kept the starter on the counter. If it would be a while before I made any I would put it in the refrigerator until the next time to feed. Of course I would gift starter to others when they asked for it. I can't imagine it molding?

Jodi said...

Michelle, you'd be welcome to taste the bread anytime. But I encourage you to give it a try - baking bread is not as hard as it appears.

Jodi said...

Southern Gal, EUREKA! So it CAN be kept on the counter. Can you define "a while"? Does that mean more than a week, and did you bake daily?

Jennifer said...

I tried starter once and it never grew :( Now I only purchase my sourdough loaves. But I hope you find the answer, Jodi. Toasted sourdough with butter and honey from your very own hives - just imagine! (excuse me while I drool :)

Southern Gal said...

Well, Jodi, it's been a while and I got confused. I called my mama so she could refresh my memory. You only keep it on the counter for 12 hours after you feed it then put it back in the fridge.

I'll give you the recipe for the starter we used just to keep it confusing.
1 package of dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water - mix together and let sit for a few minutes.
Add 2 Tbs. sugar
2 1/2 Tbs. flour
2 cups warm water - stir together.

Cover jar with gauze and let sit for five days. Refrigerate for 5 to 7 days. Take out of the refrigerator and feed the mixture with
3 Tbs. instant potatoes
1 cup warm water
3/4 cup sugar

Feed the starter and let sit out on counter for 12 hours. Take out one cup of starter and put the rest back in the refrigerator to feed in 5 to 7 days.

Now to make the bread go here to get the instructions: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sourdough-bread-i/detail.aspx

If you don't want to make the bread, you pour out one cup of starter and give to someone else or you can make another jar of starter or pour it down the drain. I hope that helps and doesn't confuse you.

Jodi said...

Southern Gal, woweee, talk about southern hospitality, thank you for taking the time to type all that out. It wasn't confusing at all, in fact, you cleared some things up and answered some other questions that I had. I wish you were my neighbor - I'd bake you a cake :)xx

Jodi said...

Jennifer, toasted sourdough with butter and honey? Now I'M drooling! Gotta figure this bad boy out.

Southern Gal said...

I wish I were your neighbor, too! What kind of cake? ;)

One more thing. You can leave the starter out for 8 to 12 hours. You'll see it working and know when it's ready.

Southern Gal said...

Oh, and toasted sourdough bread with butter is why I don't make it anymore. I couldn't resist it and put on quite a few pounds because of it. So beware!

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