What do you think, friends? The bubbles and frothiness is there, and so is the aroma of beer (in a beautiful earthy yeasty kind of way). I began cultivating this sourdough starter over a week ago but the signs of readiness only just appeared yesterday. I thought I'd keep feeding it for two more days just to be sure, and then from tomorrow I'll bake the first loaves. I mixed one more cup of flour into it after taking that photo above and then added enough water to keep the sloppy texture. That's the process I have maintained over the past nine days using a two bowl system, both ceramic, with the smaller of the two being what you see in the photo, and mixing with a wooden spoon. Apparently metal can interfere with the developing bacterium. After adding the flour and water, I have been pouring the mix into the fresh bowl each day and then placing it wherever is best. It's been moved around a little from my initially having it outside to being by the open kitchen window and then more recently it has been living on top of the oven.
From the advice given by Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions, I have been using organic rye flour since it has a lower phytate content (that's those pesky anti-nutrients that inhibit our body absorbing all the good stuff and makes the whole kit 'n caboodle more difficult to digest). Unlike what Sally Fallon recommends, my rye flour was not freshly ground, but maybe one day I'll get around to purchasing one of these. Just for fun you should click on that link because I need to ask you, how is it possible for a grain mill to send my heart a flutter? I mean honestly, that mill is beautiful, it is pure craftsmanship. A word of warning though... I highly advise you do not start clicking around on that website, it is so dreamy I'm almost too scared to ask about their shipping to Australia.
Back to the business of sourdough though. Now that I've explained the rye flour, let me tell you about our water. The water we drink and cook with is filtered and purified since our tap water is just plain horrid. It is heavily treated and tastes that way... pluuhhch. Our previous portable filter was completely inefficient and took a whole day to fill a 20 litre container with the volume of "black" water wasted being far from acceptable. It was also getting well past it's used by date so we decided to save up and a few months ago we purchased a Berkey. It's been such a brilliant unit tucked away on a shelf in our pantry.
I am thinking this 'starter' will be used for all kinds of baking and I'm planning to mix different flours with the rye base. Sometimes I'll use spelt, sometimes kamut or amaranth or any of those other lovely ancient grains. Quinoa too although I find it has a very strong, unique flavour. Certainly not unpleasant, just different and not suitable for all things. That's just my homemaker/baker palate though and not the words from a professional baker/chef. To be sure, I have Kim Boyce's Good To The Grain cookbook and she has the most wonderful chapter dedicated to milled quinoa.
My goodness there is a whole lot of links in this post! Please remember none of them are affiliated for financial gain, it is simply me passing along some of the good stuff I've stumbled upon. 'Good stuff' in the opinion of Tuck, myself and the two wee folk and not necessarily those to suit everyone.
Wish me luck for my baking tomorrow friends! Here's hoping I get a good rise.