El Reno, Oklahoma
I have been married for 27 years to Victor and have 4 children. The two girls and two boys range in age from 25-10 years. We are pleased to still have one grandparent from each side of the family ... More about Margaret
I live in Minneapolis, in 1.5 story craftsman bungalow with beautiful woodwork, but a tiny lot. Sharing this space is my husband Brendan, 'baby' (5/07) and 'new baby' who is expected to join the fold in August. More about Sareen
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
My name is Gina, and my husband's name is Patrick. We have three children, ranging in ages from 1 to 5 years. Our household also includes my mother, who is living with us from September to May. More about Gina
Early January may seem an inauspicious time to begin an "eat local" project in Southwest Michigan. As if to underscore that point, nearly a foot of snow fell in Kalamazoo on January 3. More about Donna
St Louis, Missouri
My first father-in-law taught me to garden in the mid-1960s. Over the next few years, with a family of five to feed, I read everything I could find about nutrition ... More about Cher
Four years ago my five children, one husband, two dogs, one cat and I moved to the rural South from a large northern California city. We went from .12 acres to a rambling 57 acres. More about Vera
Posted at 6:29 PM on January 9, 2009 by Vera Schabicki (3 Comments)
I have tried for many years to make a sourdough starter without adding any yeast, and baby let me tell you,some foul smelling concoctions have traipsed through my kitchen. Last month I finally succeeded.....I had a wonderful smelling functional sourddough starter that made truly delicious whole grain breads, moist, crispy crust, flavorful, you know, good bread.....the problem with sour dough turns out to be the same prolem I have with sprouts....this process needs more commitment and attention than a new boyfriend....and being a bit of the frazzled sort I sooner or later reneg on my commitment (hmmmm,maybe that is how I failed so miserably with my fifteen year old)......this time it was the week between christmas and new years, we were planning a nice new years day get together (totally local, black eyed peas, greens from the garden, Van Cheeseman brought his signature lettuce mix, Stan's country store sausages, homemade corn and sourdough bread with War Eagle grains, home brewed beer, Mozzarella from Mr. Helwigs milk), and an overnight party for all the kids, somehow in the preparations I accidentally left the big vat of sourdough tucked in a corner, I could have sworn it was in the fridge.....hopefully the truly interesting fuzzy colorful remainder will be good for my compost pile...oh and the smell.....I am trying again, because some day my children will be well educated, my house will be clean, I will make dinner on time, do Yoga and go to bed on time (hope springs eternal) and I will have a lovely antique crock with sweetly scented sourdough next to my verdant (not slimy) sprouts.......then Martha Stewart will come to my house to admire what a good job I have done!!!
My only other little story is about apples...one bad apple really does spoil the whole bunch girl, so if you have a lovely little box of apples neatly wrapped in individual newspaper packets, check on them once in a while, it is really hard to get it out of the house without making a mess once they all turn to liquid......it is hard to believe that just a couple of hundred years ago this kind of stuff was innate knowledege to most of our ancestors.
Best regards, Vera
"How to Sweeten the Pot
When your starter is not in use for some time, a liquid called "Royal Hootch" will form and sometimes a mold. Scrape off the mold with your wooden spoon, and stir in the hootch. Place batter in your large bread bowl. Add 2 cups lukewarm water and 2 cups unbleached flour. Stir thoroughly. Remove all lumps and set asicde in a warm spot in kitchen for 12 or more hours until bubbly. Next morning replace in your washed crock and re-store in refrigerator or use a couple of cups for breat...you are on your way again.
Always remember, your starter is your friend. It should stay with you for a lifetime. To the Pioneer Woman, it was her most valuable possession."
These are the instructions I got from Josie Kean when I learned to use sourdough 35 years ago. Josie was raised on the 3C Ranch in Ely, Nevada, and she gave us instructions and recipes that she got from her grandmother who told her they were really old.
That stinky greenish liquid that rises is the hootch, so called because some of the pioneers would deliberately let it rise and then drink it. Talk about local "likker". Be sure to stir it back in, but you scrape off the mold. Any mold you miss comes out in the lump removal instruction. This is just a regular part of sourdough baking. Pioneers didn't have refrigeration, and hootch will rise in the refrigerator if you let the pot sit unused long enough, which I do every summer.
Since I tend to wander off and leave my sourdough batter, too, I always put a cup or two of starter back in the crock before I start the new batter.
Happy baking. Once you get a good sourdough you never go back.
Posted by Kathy | January 10, 2009 10:31 AM
Thank you for that thoughtful comment and advice......I love reading about pioneer women and such a close personal connecton is very nice to hear about.
My starter had a very unpleasant smell, I tried scraping the top layer off and seeing if it was salvageable, but the aroma was really repugnant. I hope to do better with the next one, your specific instructions about resurrecting it is much appreciated.
Best regards, Vera
Posted by vera schabicki | January 11, 2009 1:46 PM
I know it stinks beyond belief, and seems unusable but "sweetening" the pot really works.
I have read your posts with great interest. Just keep growing stuff until you find what grows well where you live, then learn to cook it a million different ways.
Thanks for all the time you put into the project.
Posted by Kathy | January 11, 2009 7:31 PM