The newest member of my household arrived in a jar last Saturday, and the first thing I did was starve it for a week. Quite the warm welcome, I know, but luckily everything seems to be fine.
My friend Jordan gave me some of his sourdough starter, and I have a lot to learn. It’s no ordinary cooking ingredient—this thing needs to eat. Sometimes it likes to be in the fridge, and other times it prefers the counter. And I could very well be responsible for killing it.
My favorite source for the science of cooking is Shirley O. Corriher’s Cookwise. I pulled it out yesterday and read up on starters. Apparently, sourdough starter is a symbiotic relationship between yeast and bacteria. So I guess there are two new members of my household.
I really like the idea of a starter—a little boost from a friend to help you towards your goal. I wish there were starters for other household projects. I could have used a laundry starter this weekend. And a starter to clean my barbeque, which is overflowing with ashes. And there are many weeknights when a simple dinner starter would come in handy.
I fed the starter a few times this weekend to get it good and bubbly, and made a nice little loaf of bread today. It's pretty good, and quite lovely to look at, but there are a few things I'll change next time. Maybe I’ll advance to pancakes and muffins, but for now I am working on bread. And on not killing the starter.