Bird in Hand Farm

Bird in Hand Farm is an imaginary place.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I read about how you can make your own sourdough starter.  Really?  Leave flour and water on your kitchen counter for 2 weeks and you can use what grows to bake bread?  How cool is that?  Missy Meyers has a really cool blog with a great tutorial.  John Ross also wrote a great article.

Day 1: mixed 1/2 c flour with 1/4 c warm water in a pint jar.  It was like a really thick dough so I added a bit more water.
Day 2: maybe some water separated out?   It smells fine.  Fed it.
Day 3: Phew!  Like really fragrant stinky cheese.  But lots of bubbles.  The farmer wants to name it "Audrey Jr." after the plant in Little Shop of Horrors.  I think I may have kicked the bacteria into high gear because I stirred it last night with a spoon that had been used in a jar of applesauce.  oops.  Wow. 4 hours later and it has grown.  Still smells like cheesy old sneakers...  Waiting for it to get more sour...
Day 4: lots of bubbles, and a strong cheesy odor.  Maybe a little bit more sour.  Makes your nose wrinkle up.
Day 5: Less smell, fewer bubbles, maybe separating?
Day 6: Not many bubbles at all.  More sour smelling.  Two hours later it seems to be coming back to life.
Day 7:  Audrey seems to be kind of dormant.  Smells like sourdough though.
Day 8: A few bubbles.  Not much happening.
Day 9: Separating.  Still not much happening.  Paging Audrey...
Day 10: Audrey appears to be waking up. Bubbles and a sourdough smell.
Day 11:  Audrey is alive!  Proofed her tonight so that tomorrow, we can bake.
Day 12:  I decided to bake because I wont have time for another few weeks.

Audrey did not do much overnight.  I decided that it was because she was too cool.  I put her near the simmering tomato sauce and she seemed to perk up a bit.  But still 12 hours after proofing her she still was not where I wanted.  The "sponge" increased in volume by half.  I wanted double.

I cheated and added a packet of Fleishman's yeast in addition to the sponge.  Otherwise, I followed Missy Meyer's recipe.   The point of this is to make bread.   Having trouble creating a warm spot in the house on this cool, rainy day.

I finally got it to rise (sort of) and baked it.  It has a thick crust and is soft and chewy inside.  The flavor is quite good.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that is an inch and a half high and might be able to be used as a door stop.  I was stubborn and wanted to make this bread on a weekend day.   I should have waited.  

There is some of the Audrey sponge left.  I will continue feeding her on the counter for another few days and then fridge her until we are ready to make bread again.  I'll post if I get it right.


  1. Wow, that looks really, really good!

  2. Sourdough has to sit and sit and sit to rise. I've been making mine without yeast. If it comes out flat just call it ciabatta and smile like the Mona Lisa.