A sourdough starter is something of an elusive creature- At least to me, that is. A creature that creates unparalleled artisan breads, that one can store in the refrigerator for decades as long as it stays fed; it sounds more like a fairy tale than an actual ingredient used to raise loaves. Hoping to see the magic first-hand, I was thrilled when Bazu so kindly offered me some dried starter to work with about a month ago. While I couldn’t wait to get my wild yeast prepped and baking, the timing was not in my favor. It arrived just as we had begun to clear the chametz out of the house for Passover, and then I was trapped on campus for another couple of weeks. Storing the starter in the freezer with fingers crossed, it was only yesterday that I could “activate” the little beasties… Although I wouldn’t exactly call them active now…
I knew things had gone awry as soon as I unwrapped the plastic. What had once been a dry powder was now a wet, sticky dough. Hm, not so good… But maybe it still works! It was frozen, after all, I reasoned with myself. Dutifully mixing in fresh flour and water, letting it sit over night, and then pouring off what appeared to be hooch in the morning, I hoped for the best. Of course, it wasn’t actually bubbling at all… but then, what do I know about sour dough? Plans for my first batch of sour dough English muffins continued as scheduled.
Mmm, doesn’t that look good? “Look” being the keyword, because the last thing you would want to do with this pucks is actually taste them. Yes, they look so puffy and nicely risen, but trust me, it’s all a facade; Deep within each brick lies not airy bubbles, nooks and crannies, but instead a solid chunk of gooey dough. I should have taken the numerous hints tossed out before getting my hopes up, but alas, one bite of this disastrous dough makes it undeniable: The sourdough starter is dead.
Maybe sourdough and I were just never meant to be.