Meet Glop

He is my sourdough starter. He is almost a full 24 hours old now. You will be seeing a lot of Glop and his tasty tasty offspring in the near future.

How did I make him you ask! Why I will gladly tell you.

1)You can buy a sourdough starter from places like King Arthur Flours or any local store that carries sourdough starter.

2)You can try to catch “wild yeast” from your home. This one seems a little sketchy for me. I know I’ve “caught a lot of stuff ” that has then grown in a bowl of food and I certainly wouldn’t want to eat it. Also, I’ve seen enough nasty stuff get a hold of my cell cultures working in even the cleanest lab.

3)You can start with a little bread yeast and let it go wild. Woohoo! Sounds like something they’d show on late night. Anyways, moving on…

I’m doing a little of 2 and a little bit of 3. Yeast is tough stuff once it takes hold. By spiking my starter with commercial yeast, I’m hoping that I’ll create an environment that will keep some of the nastier stuff in the house from taking hold and will promote the growth of the natural bacteria you’d normally find in sourdough.

You will first want to start a sponge, which consists of 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of white flour. To this add 1 cup of filtered (or otherwise non-chlorinated water) and about 1 tsp of bread yeast. Start this in the evening before you go to bed. Get a spatula or spoon (either plastic or stainless steel, don’t use other metals or wooden utensils). Make sure everything in clean, you can always pour boiling water over the bowl and everything else to sterilize everything. With your spatula, whip everything together, you want to incorporate some air.

Let your little buddy sit out, uncovered if you are brave, for 12 hours. You will get spongy mass that is thick with bubbles form. Congratulations, you now have a new pet. You must feed it every 12 hours and clean up its messes. Don’t worry, you only need to do this for a few weeks. After your new friend gets sour and strong, you will be putting him in the fridge where he will only need to be fed once or twice a week. After the first day or two, you can loosely cover your pet’s jar with plastic wrap. You will hopefully have caught some wild lactobacillus. This is a good bacteria that helps give sourdough its flavor along with your yeast.

To feed your new pet you will need a clean whisk, some filtered water, and flour. If you go to check on your little pet and you find that it has stopped bubbling and has formed a layer of brown or gray liquid on top, this is good! Don’t throw it out. This is called the hooch (insert juvenile comment here) and consists of the fermented alcohol byproduct that your little pet is excreting. Whisk your hooch back together with everything else in the jar. Pour off 1 cup of your pet and either throw it out or bake something with it. It won’t really taste sour yet, but it should be good for basic bread.

After you have taken 1 cup out, put back in 1/2 cup of flour, and around 1/2 cup of filtered water. You want pancake mix consistency, so don’t pour all the water in unless you need it, you can always add a bit more flour or water if you mess up. Your pet will be pretty forgiving. You will want to do this morning and night for at least 2 weeks, or until you get a good sourdough smell going. It should be sour, but not nasty smelling. If you grow anything pink or foul smelling or looking, toss it and start anew.

The only other thing, is to remember to clean your pet’s home once in a while. You can transfer all of your pet to a clean bowl during a cleaning and rinse and then scour his old jar before returning your freshly fed pet to his home. Also, your pet can occasionally go for a full 24 hours without a feeding, but don’t go much longer than this. I killed my last pet because I waited almost 2 days between a feeding. The yeast got weakened and an opportunistic bug got in. Sad making 😦

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