Tuesday, August 03, 2004
I do believe that's a bubble! (dark spot on the edge)
I started a starter – or I’m hoping I have. Today is Day 4, which is a make or break day for the starter. I’ve been following the directions given in Nick Malgieri’s book, “How to Bake”, and on Day 4 he tells you that if the starter has not begun bubbling, you should start over.
When I started, I was a little worried about what might take up residence in that blob of dough. I hunted around on eGullet a little and am now reasonably reassured that the good bugs (i.e. wild yeast and “friendly” bacteria) will win out over the bad. Apparently the acidic environment that is formed is inhospitable to the things you don’t want, including commercial yeast.
What is interesting but confusing is that there are so many conflicting instructions for starting sourdough out there. The only things they all seem to have in common are: flour, water, and periodic feedings. The proportions vary - mine is one part water to two parts flour but many are equal parts. The timing varies with some calling for feedings as frequent as eight hours apart. Even advice on temperature varies – Nick Malgieri calls for room temperatures between 60 and 75F, but many others call for warmer temperatures. I turned down my thermostat for that little blob!
So today I had to decide – feed it or trash it? I’ve seen a few bubbles on the surface, but I’d be hard-pressed to call it “bubbly”. However, while my starter is not all bubbly on the outside, I would say it is on the inside (sort of like me), so I am granting it a reprieve for now.