Monday, December 15, 2008

sourdough starter

I've toyed for years with the idea of having a sourdough starter for a pet. Not being a devoted baker I never followed through, but I now have one, acquired from Northwest Sourdough and rehydrated on 12/12. This variety is called the Northwest starter; I also bought the San Francisco starter but will wait on that one until I see how this goes.

Before its first feeding on 12/13 there was no noticeable activity other than a couple of small bubbles. Here it is on 12/14 before its second feeding:

I did not expect that kind of activity so soon! It had nearly doubled in size, too. I'm going to be pretty alarmed the day it calls me Seymour. It doesn't really have a sour aroma at this point.

After I have a little experience with this I think I'll start one or more from scratch so I can make some flavor and behavior comparisons. A guy named Mike Avery has a sourdough site with a Sourdough Starter Primer that has a ton of good information. His How Many Starters Do You Need, Anyway? makes it clear that the starters you catch can have very different traits. The Sourdough Myths page is also helpful.

Getting started with brewing and sourdough has afforded good opportunities to explain the behavior of yeast to the boys. They find it pretty fascinating. Well, I guess I do too.


joe said...

I used to have a wonderful old starter named Herman that came west from OK. Made the best pancakes! Herman died one winter of exposure.

I've tried making starters a few times without any success.

Steve Poole said...

There's apparently a readily available starter that came out west on the Oregon Trail. I wonder if that's Herman's ancestry too. You can get it for free at