Mad Scientist Mom

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]


  1. LOL!!! Well, I feel dumb. I am having one of the brain days though. just yesterday I finally understand why they started calling Chuck E Cheese by that name. It took me 20 years to realize that he was a mouse. they used to Show Biz pizza.

    Very cool that you were homeschooled and now passing that legacy to your children. I am hopeful that my children will do the same. My 6 yod always tells me that she’s going to have as many children as God will give her and homeschool. At least there is one.

    Ok, I will try not to be so literal in the future. hehehe!!!!

  2. Karen,
    I think Sally was teasing about that – I assumed she knew we already did both. We’re second generation on both counts, as a matter of fact. My mom had 11 of her 14 children at home, and I was homeschooled after the 5th grade.

  3. I just mixed a sourdough starter for myself last night. I am doing it with just water and fresh kamut flour. If this doesn’t work then I am going to try it with fresh rye flour. I have been reading about how healthy sour dough is from several books that center on Weston Price traditional living. I am really hoping it works. But I’ll try again if doesn’t work.

    I am really enjoying your journey into crunchiness. You are inspiring me to start back up some my crunchiness that I let go after my last baby was born. Just curious. someone mentioned that you better be careful or you’ll be homeschooling and home birthing. Would happen to already be that crunchy? 🙂

  4. I have to say this actually grosses me out! I hate how sourdough tastes and the thought of using starter for generations is just creepy. This is one crunchy area that I don’t think I’ll be pursuing!

  5. Just make sure you use a big enough container, it will get bigger as it grows….. and cleaning the mess off the windowsill when it overflows is not much fun….. 🙂

    That was the last time I tried…. I don’t really like sourdough all that much anyway… 😛

  6. I can’t wait to hear how it goes. I tried to start a sour dough years ago but it never took and I’ve been meaning to try again ever since.

    You better watch out with all this crunchiness – soon you will be homeschooling and homebirthing, that would really be over the top!! 😉

  7. And really, how cloth would that be to have from scratch sour dough bread baking in my solar ovens?

  8. I want some. Once you get it working I want a lump for my family, k? You do all the work and I just smile and ask nice. That works, right?

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