Reviving a VERY old sourdough starter
I guess I’m wired backwards from the rest of humanity… for some reason, when the weather heats up, I start to think about baking. Why???
Anyway, the kids’ trip to Calgary tomorrow has reminded me of the effort I went to last summer to obtain a living sourdough starter – something I had found impossible here in Toronto, but very easy at the bakery in Calgary, which had a nice sourdough herb olive bread and happily shared some starter with me.
A few months ago – quite a few; the jar said FEBRUARY ( :-o), I converted my runny pancake-batter sourdough to the Maggie Glezer “preferred” firm starter. Firm starters are apparently more maintenance free (revive better; keep better), and are just as effective as a runny starter. You only need to keep a little bit around and not much of it to start a new batch of dough.
So here’s what I found in my “stiff starter” bowl when I retrieved it from the downstairs fridge.
I should have frozen it – that’s what I would have done if I’d known I wouldn’t use it for SIX whole months. But I found this post, where some commenters say to chuck the thing (after only 2 months!), while others say it’s worth a try. And I find myself firmly planted on the “worth a try” side. I will only waste a few days’ worth of flour and water on this experiment, and what have I got to lose???
(And I figure photo-documenting the whole thing will encourage whatever yeast is left in here to perform its heart out for the camera.)
Anyway, the starter wasn’t mouldy, which was a good sign. It had a bit of “hooch” on top, but not much (probably because it was a fairly dry starter to begin with). I poured off most of the hooch and stirred in the rest, thus completely side-stepping the “what to do with hooch” controversy (many say pour it off, others say mix it in; I do a bit of both!).
To start reviving the starter, I followed Maggie Glezer’s 15/30/50 refreshing formula and added 15g of the stirred VERY OLD starter to a clean container. 15g is not much; more of a SMEAR on the side of the container:
Now I added 30g of water:
And 50g (okay, 51!) of unbleached flour – she calls for bread flour, but all I have is (Canadian) all-purpose:
Stir, stir, stir, with a spatula until it’s mostly mixed; a very shaggy dough.
Close it up and leave it! I’ll feed it again – 15/30/50 every time – tomorrow morning…. and keep you posted if and when it shows any signs of life.
Ta ta for now!!!
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