Cultivating a starter, Sourdough starter discards, The Sourdough Journals
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Cultivating the starter: Day 10

The starter is starting to percolate! Yesterday, I forgot to add apple cider vinegar to the starter, but it doubled just fine and nearly doubled again after the second feeding last night.  In the photo above, you can see the tiny bubbles permeating the starter.

This morning, when I mixed the starter, I remembered to add the vinegar in hopes of encouraging even stronger growth in the next twelve hours.

My biggest problem with the starter now is the rapidly growing batch of daily discards, which I use every way I can.

Starter, starter everywhere

First, a confession. Having made sourdough starter a few times before, with more and less success, I decided to experiment with two batches this time, one begun a few days after the first, so I could learn from, and correct any mistakes. Fortunately–or unfortunately, depending on how you look at the ever-burgeoning jar of discards–both batches are doing very well, and right on schedule.

My discard jar is now up to the brim–a full quart.

Day 10: "Discarded" starter jar, bubbling and full

Day 10: “Discarded” starter jar, bubbling and full

It’s my fault, of course. I decided to try another experiment: Feeding the discard jar a little flour each time I dump more starter. I wanted to see whether the bubbles would grow even if I wasn’t dividing it into equal portions every feeding.

Yup, I’ve got bubbles, more bubbles than in either of the batch jars. Some of the bubbles are several times the size of the others. What’s that about? Is the yeast working overtime? Or is it bacteria? It smells sweetly sour, not putrid or rank, and the color is good.

Day 10: "Discarded" starter jar from the top, full of bubbles and froth

Day 10: “Discarded” starter jar from the top, full of bubbles and froth

So far, this week I’ve used several cups of discards in my baking. First, I experimented with biscuits until I came up with a recipe for some of the best biscuits I’ve ever made.

Last night, I adapted a favorite coffee cake recipe, substituting one cup of sourdough for some of the flour and all the liquid. The coffee cake turned out so-so. That’s good news for using more of the discards, because I may have to make the recipe several times, tweaking as I go, until I get a fabulous cake. Look out neighbors! Experiments coming  your way.

Hmmm. What’s this in my yeasty crystal ball? Hot sourdough pancakes Saturday morning. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

I’ll let you know how they turn out.

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