Here are some misconceptions about sourdough starter:
- it needs to be refreshed every few days
- it dies if left untended in the refrigerator
- it has gone bad if it separates
- it won’t work if it takes more than 3 days to refresh (reactivate)
- if you can’t use it on a schedule, it needs to be disposed of
I made beautiful sourdough bread today from starter that had been sitting in the back of the refrigerator for 7 months. That’s right. Just sitting there in a glass pint jar with a plastic screw on lid. (I’ve use the Ball brand lids for years)
To be very clear, I had not done anything to the sourdough starter for that long. I may have opened the lid to look at it once when we moved to our new house, just to make sure there wasn’t any mold. But I did not stir or add anything or drain it.
When sourdough starter sits for a while, it tends to separate into a thicker, gooey part that settles on the bottom and a more watery part that has a black tinge to it. It looks pretty unappealing. This is NOT an indication of a problem. I have used sourdough starter that has separated that way many, many times.
Two of my daughters recently refreshed started that had been kept in the freezer for over 2 years. It may have been as long as 4 years. It was starter I had given to my dad. This starter took 4-6 days to get bubbly again, but they both made their own batches of bread from it.
By now you should be getting the picture that you do not have to tend sourdough starter every few days to keep it alive. The main reason for doing that would be that you want to bake something with it that often. If that is not your baking schedule, you can let the starter rest. You can let yourself rest.
Today’s project was flatbread, so I let the kneaded dough rise 12 hours over night. Here is what it looked like in the morning:
I punched it down to get it ready to gently press into the half-sheet pan for baking. It went back to almost the same size it was before rising, so you can see that it is very active starter.
The flat bread is my version of English muffins for breakfast, although I did have one of the freshly baked squares for my lunch today. The rest of the baked flatbread was separated according to how I had scored it before baking, then put in the freezer. It is easy to thaw a square for 20 seconds in the microwave, then slice it and toast it.
To read more about the complete process and the specific recipe I use, click on the link below:
Basic Sourdough Bread Making for Ordinary People Part One
Don’t forget to check your germinating seeds!
I almost always have something that is sprouting by the third day after planting seeds in pots. Today was no exception. From now on, I will check for sprouts every day.
It has been pouring rain, so it is going to make it challenging to give them sunshine. I do have a barely covered porch to work with.
Fortunately I have other trays, so I can put the sprouting seeds in another tray and leave the unsprouted pots in the warm house. I will have to complete my labeling, because on planting day I could only find enough sticks to label rows in some cases. But I found another stash of old popsicle sticks in the garage, so labeling can commence. I can recognize a lot of seedlings, but some look alike and I’d also like to know exactly which pots don’t sprout.
I still have a couple of cool weather crops to plant, but the weather forecast indicates I will need to spend more time indoors tomorrow. That will give me time for some sewing projects. There is no need to be bored at home!