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Starter and Hooch

sourdough starterI thought it might be nice to make my own sourdough starter.

I’ve had a recipe for sourdough pizza on my pinterest “to do list” board for quite a while. So It seemed like this was the right time to get started on a starter….

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and the internet made it seem soooooo easy.

One part water, one part flour, let it sit for a long time, repeat every day for nearly a week. That pretty much sums up what I read on several different blogs and websites.

So I did that. The good news is that I didn’t grow any mold. Yay! No mold! And, my concoction didn’t turn any strange or questionable colors.

Unfortunately, It also seemed very “alcoholy” and very thin.

I felt as if my refrigerator was now home to a badly brewed, foggy batch of hooch (as in a moonshine type substance) rather than a vibrant and happy sourdough starter.

And yet….the internet said it should now be “Ready to use.”

So I tried out a recipe for easy no-knead sourdough bread using my newly brood hooch.  As you may have predicted, the dough came out very very VERY wet and sticky, in which case I had to modify the “dust” the dough with flour part of the recipe into “douse” the dough with flour. And “sprinkle” corn meal into “spread a large amount of” cornmeal.

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To my surprise, it turned into a pretty good looking loaf.

The taste…..well….It wasn’t bad. And it definitely wasn’t great either.  The fact that the cornmeal had seeped into the dough (due to it’s soft stickiness), creating pockets of unincorporated cornmeal IN the bread didn’t help. And the sourness just seemed……not awesome.

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I placed the hooch back in the refrigerator and decided to do more research.

I found a recipe and technique on Breadtopia that sounds pretty cool and promising. It also includes a video. That’s always helpful.

http://www.breadtopia.com/make-your-own-sourdough-starter/

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And I also got a new library card allowing me to borrow the book Breads from the La Brea Bakery. The starter recipe in this book is a 14 day fermentation process that, based on the pictures, looks pretty hoochy for the first 4 days (which I’m pretty sure that’s normal, as long at it evolves into something more pleasant).

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Since I only get to borrow the book for 3 weeks and I would really like to try out a couple of the other recipes I have decide to use my hooch as a starting point and skipped to day 10-14 “building the starter.”  This also allows me to skip the part about wrapping grapes in cheese cloth smashing them and placing the little package into a container of flour and water for 4 days, or the five days following during which you should do nothing but keep a close eye on it because “Mold may appear” And no, you apparently don’t throw it out if mold grows, you just pick it off and add a cup of flour. WOW! that seems cool. I’m personally not that brave. But, hey! I’m sure it’s fine.

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starter wearing a shower cap! :-)

The book also taught me that a shower cap is a great bread baking tool!!!! Isn’t that cute?

Well, as you can see from the pictures, the starter has some bubbly action taking place. And it’s consistency is now closer to pancake batter. Keep your fingers crossed. It will be fed three times a day, and functioning as the centerpiece on my dining table for another day and a half. Hopefully at that point it will be much healthier than before.

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And now, despite being past the excessive hooch producing stage,  my starter has clearly managed to acquired a nickname.

Good luck Hooch!

P.S. Hooch is still pretty liquidy. But, I’m thinking that may be sorta normal. If you have insights on the matter, please feel free to share. Thanks!

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5 comments on “Starter and Hooch

  1. Great info!! I love sourdough bread, and a friend of mine gave me a good recipe that I use. I never thought of pizza dough with this — what a great idea! And all your tips are so helpful! I’m definitely going to try this.

  2. What a great idea the shower cap is! Good luck with the starter

  3. Good luck Irene, I hope your process is successful. We know there is nothing better than good sourdough bread. I think I’ll head over to Boudin’s right now.

    • hahaha. Thanks Tom. Enjoy your Boudin’s.
      Made some bread on Saturday. It came out much better than my first attempt. Seems to be coming along.

  4. If you want, I could also bring along some of my starter to share…It has been very loyal and willing to put up with endless neglect for several years now…

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