I’ve started some sourdough starter. I tried to convince myself that it’s a crunchy sort of thing to do, not needing store-bought yeast anymore, but really I just love sourdough. And I like the idea of having something strangely alive bubbling on my countertop.
There’s also something nostalgic about it. My girls keep telling me a little story about Betsy Ross’s dough starter:
When she was a girl, Betsy Ross was making bread for her mother. Like most women of her time, Mrs. Ross had a lump of starter that had belonged to her mother. Every time they made bread, they would save a small piece as starter for the next time. Each family’s starter often went back for generations.
After the bread was finished, young Betsy couldn’t find her starter for the next time and suddenly couldn’t remember if she had reserved any. She looked everywhere. Poor Betsy was distraught at the thought that her family’s starter was gone, never to be recovered. They could beg some starter from a neighbor, but each family’s starter was unique and her family’s bread would never taste the same again.
Finally, Betsy turned over the kneading bowl and breathed a sigh of relief. Her precious lump lay there, just as she had left it.
See? Maybe someday my great-grandchildren will treasure a lump of my starter. This could be an historic day.
I searched the internet and wasn’t surprised to learn that there are a hundred theories and a thousand methods for getting your own sourdough starter going. I also asked Marci about hers, but in my characteristically impatient spontaneous manner I didn’t wait for her answer. I used this recipe for my first attempt. I read enough to know I shouldn’t be surprised or disappointed if the first attempt turns foul and toxic, but it’s easy enough to start over if necessary.
In spite of the fact that some say do not use yeast, I decided to start with this recipe because the author says that it works faster. I’m using fresh ground whole wheat flour because I read somewhere else that it’s a good source of the particular bacteria required by sourdough, though the same site recommended switching over to all-purpose flour for subsequent feedings once the new pet has acquired life. [long evil mad scientist laugh, trailing off into the night]