Saturday, November 21, 2009


Mine is being tested. By a container of flour and water that isn't cooperating.

About two weeks ago, I finally started my sourdough starter. I need one for the BBA Challenge. There is an entire section of the book devoted to sourdough recipes and it's quickly approaching. I've been dreading this whole section and process from the very beginning for a couple of reasons, the first being that I don't particularly care for sourdough bread. Go ahead. Mock me. Jeer at me for calling myself a bread baker and not liking sourdough. I can take it. So having to mess with a starter is like rubbing salt in a wound and probably why I'm even more grumpy about the fact that it doesn't seem to be working quite right.

There are plenty of tutorials on "how to start your starter" and I followed a really good one from Paul at Yumarama. He went into great detail, with step by step, day by day instructions for the first week of getting a starter started. And it seemed to be going swimmingly. But for the last 4 or so days, my starter has been seriously trying my patience and adding to the resentment I'm harboring about "having" to make sourdough bread.

"But making a starter is so easy!" You know what's easy? Taking a teaspoon or so of the SAF instant yeast out of the container in my fridge and mixing it with the rest of my bread ingredients, that's what. BAM. Done. No futzing around with building up a starter, feeding it the right amounts so you have enough for the recipe and enough left over. No schedules, no wondering if it's going to work. That dry, granulated yeast hasn't let me down yet, by golly. Its needs are simple and it makes no demands of me. We're pals. But that container on my counter? Traditionally, people name their starters and after the last few days, I've settled on mine. I've decided to call it "Tim". Why? Well, my boss's name is Tim and like my boss, my starter is a pain in my ass.*

I know, I'm such a whiner. I totally own up to that. I'm practically stomping around with my bottom lip sticking out, saying, "Buhhuhuht I don't WANNA start a starter." *foot stomp*

This is why I don't have kids. I'm petulant enough—I don't need the competition. And let me tell you, the patience thing? Yeah, I'm not good at that, either. So I'm TRYING to get past the annoying toddler stage of this whole thing, both my attitude and the infancy of the starter itself, and just look at it for what it is: a learning experience.

So I guess I'll put on my big girl pants *sigh* and muster the patience to get my starter through its growing pains — or NOT growing pains, as is the case right now. And if someone wants to fill me in on why my starter reeks of a chemical, nail polish remover kind of smell, I'm all ears. I've Googled the bejeezus out of it and it seems like it's a feeding issue, but I've been feeding the damn thing twice a day.

Wish me luck—and lots of patience!

*Don't worry, my boss would laugh if I told him. He's got a sense of humor and gives as good as he gets.


  1. I followed the method in the book and made skunk water, then I tried Paul's and had great luck. I think a lot of it is luck, not really science. Love the pick of a name!

  2. I have no words of wisdom on how to fix "Tim", but you are funny! Good luck and I can't wait to see the pics!

  3. I think you should feed Tim some of that good yeast you have! I think the stuff is too smelly to keep around anyway. Can't wait to see how the rest of the story goes.

  4. I don't want to jinx it, but I think Tim might be bouncing back. The bad smell is almost gone and it grew like crazy today. Woo hoo!

  5. I'm with you on this one. I'm dreading the sourdough thing, too. I've tried it unsuccessfully in the past ~ got tired of 'babysitting' it. *sigh* I'll have to see where my big girl pants are...


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