In my Journal entry from January 16, 2021, I mentioned that Mom gave me a sourdough starter for my birthday. I wanted to start making sourdough bread again but hadn’t taken the time to mix up my own starter. So, this was the perfect birthday present! Now that my sourdough is ready to be baked with, I have dubbed Saturday’s “Sourdough Saturday.” Bread is almost an all-day process, so I thought this was a fitting title!
Oh, did I also mention that I thought the starter my mom gave me wasn’t ever going to become active, so I made a new starter? Then I feed my mom’s starter, and it came to life in a big way, so now I have two starters to maintain! I wouldn’t suggest this if you are strapped for time. I am just having a hard time throwing one away. It seems wasteful! But I’ll get into what I am doing with my starters in a minute. To simplify things, I’m going to call the starter Mom gave me “Counter Mother” since that is what sourdough starter that is kept on the counter is called in the sourdough world anyway (It is a bizarre term for sourdough!). And the starter I made will be called “Refrigerator Mother” since I’m going to keep it in the fridge from now on.
This week was the first time my starter was active enough to bake with. Bread takes 6-7 cups of starter and, I didn’t have that much. I decided to make rolls and bagels instead. For the rolls, I used my Refrigerator Mother. For the bagels, I used my Counter Mother (see how that could be slightly misconstrued?). What I like about bread-making is, even though it is almost an all-day process, you really only spend half an hour to an hour in the kitchen actually making the bread. And freshly baked bread smells lovely and tastes even better! Rolls are made using the same process you would use for bread. You mix up the dough and let it rise for two hours. Then you form the rolls, put them in the pan, and let them rise for another two hours. Finally, you bake them. I started with the rolls first because they have to rise twice.
Bagels are a little different. You mix up the dough and let it rise for two hours, then you form the bagels. You boil them in water for 4 minutes before brushing them with an egg/water mixture and baking them. It is a bit more of a process than rolls, and it didn’t help that my Counter Mother wasn’t quite active enough to be baked with yet. I should have given it another week before I used it to bake with. Because it wasn’t as active as it should have been, the bagel dough didn’t have enough flour in it. They turned out misshapen and hard as a rock. But we’ll try again next week!
What to do With the Starter
Once I finished using the starters, I put the Counter Mother in a clean glass bowl and put it on the mantle above the pellet stove. This spot is the warmest in the house, and sourdough needs a warmer environment to thrive (70-73°F). I don’t keep my house that warm when I am gone, so the starter will take more time to become active and start growing on its own. The Refrigerator Mother obviously went into the refrigerator after I was finished with it. I put it into a glass mason jar with a glass lid. I also added quite a bit of flour to the starter, mixed it in, and packed flour on top without mixing it, hoping this would slow down the starter’s growth. I won’t feed it until the night before I am ready to bake with it (Friday night). Since this starter won’t be a big as the Counter Mother, I will use it for bagels or rolls and not breads that require more starter.
Keep checking back each week for more updates on my sourdough journey. As I do more baking and more research, I’ll share what I have learned with you! Subscribe to get all of the latest posts in your inbox!