With a description like this, how could I resist trying my hand at this ancient art? And so I did.
A year ago, I tried multiple times to get a starter going from scratch, with each attempt turning out to be the equivalent of a science experiment gone really bad.
All of the information I could find on making starters were catered to those in temperate climates, with the recommended temperature for cultivating the finicky mixture of natural yeasts and lacto-bacteria being around 23°C - a temperature only possible in Malaysia with air-conditioning. Which I don't have.
Which ended up with hyperactive mixtures of fermenting goo that bubbled up too quickly and turned rancid even quicker.
This week, I was suddenly struck with the mad fancy to try again what I had failed miserably in. I stumbled across a forum post by a sourdough baker who said that in the heat of summer, he keeps his starter cool by placing the jar in a bowl of water. Of course I had to try that!
Fast forward a few days, and I now have a very happy, healthy, bubbly, and non-puke-smelling starter. I almost feel like a proud mommy.
But of course, the real test of a good starter - Will it rise bread without the use of commercial yeast? I put my starter to the test.
And, as you might have guessed from the picture above, I succeeded! While it didn't rise as much as I had hoped it would, it definitely rose and had the most marvelous, complex, rich taste.
|Look at the delightfully irregular air bubbles created by the sourdough starter! You'll never find this kind of rustic authenticity with commercial yeast.|
I can just imagine how perfect it'll taste with some homemade pumpkin soup - love!
It's ridiculously easy to make me happy. Give me simple domestic pleasures - food, pets, company... coupled with a touch of nature - a purple sunset, a walk in the park, a light breeze - and I'm in my idea of heaven.