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My Frustrating Experience with Sourdough - Part 1

I decided to write this all out because making sourdough was super frustrating, but once I figured it out it was SO WORTH IT. I'm always here if you have any questions!

As I was going through one of my recipe books the other day for lunch ideas, I found a delicious BLT sandwich which required a ‘fancy bread’ as I like to call it. It wasn’t sourdough bread, but it was different than just the ‘regular white bread’. We did not have any bread of that kind on-hand so I finally decided it was time to try my hand at making my own sourdough bread.

After doing a little bit of research I was really excited but also extremely nervous to make it. There was so much that it required. Making your own sourdough bread starter is like having a tiny bread child. Like did you know that you have to feed it every single day from birth until day 7 and beyond that? And you must name it too?! But I decided I was ready for the challenge.

I went to the store and grabbed all the ingredients and supplies. Then the hard task started finding a name for it. SQUISHY. I shall call it squishy and he will be mine (anyone remember where that’s from?). Afterall, sourdough starter is supposed to be squishy right?

So here is how the starter went down:

Night 1 – The scale came in a day early so I was able to make it a day earlier than I was originally planning. I put the two ingredients together and waited for them to do their magic in the next 24-48 hours while I did a little bit more research about the starter I just made.

Night 2 – No activity tonight, so I moved it closer to the fireplace. I re-read a lot of the information that I found online to understand more questions I have had.

Night 3 – Fed it for the first time! It was nerve wracking at first because I didn’t want to mess up, but I am hoping that it will have activity by tomorrow!

Night 4 – Fed it again. Tons of activity again but went down a lot quicker during the day today. Added 2 tbsp of whole wheat flour to it this time since when I mixed it, it was still a little soupy. Smells like sourdough bread tonight!!!

Night 5 – It didn’t rise and fall like before tonight. Not exactly sure what went on this time to make it not do anything.

Night 6 – Didn’t rise and fall again :/

Night 7 – This is where I kinda gave up on counting the days because it seemed endless, like I would feed this stupid piece of squish until eternity. But shhh don’t tell it that.

Night *who knows how long its been* - Finally got it to rise and fall again! I looked at the recipe again and it looks like it need to be fed twice a day, and close to heat. So I moved it as close as possible to the heat and will start feeding it twice a day.

Day *lost track* - Starting to finally see a happy sourdough! Happy means that it bubbles/rises and falls regularly.

Night *100* - I tried the float test (if it floats in water then it is ready to go), and it didn’t pass so I am going to keep feeding it on this schedule and see if it changes.

Night *1,000 days later* - Still not passing the float test, so I will just try and bake a bread with it and see how it goes!

Spoiler alert, it took a long time to get the bread making down right. Overall the whole sourdough bread process was so frustrating for me. I made a ton of mistakes, like for example I should have used organic flour from the beginning for the starter, and I should have fed it more often in the beginning to get it started quicker, and even keeping it closer to heat would have helped it so much. I thought that writing it all out may help some of you guys who are brave.

The float test isn’t always super accurate, and if it is past the day 7 and its rising and falling then just go ahead and make a loaf of bread and see how it goes. Putting it right next to the fireplace (heat) helped a ton. It likes to be WARM, and fed ON TIME.

I decided to include a super simplified recipe so you could give it a go yourself. Let me know if you do!

I am splitting this into two different posts because I have a whole rant and issue about the sourdough bread itself. Let me tell you ahead of time that it too was a big pain until I finally figured it out but once I did it was SO WORTH IT. Homemade sourdough bread it seriously so good.

Always have

Grit. Grace. Gratitude.

- Shyann

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