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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

False pregnancy sourdough starter

The garden and everything else is covered in a new blanket of snow overnight, so I had a chore dragging my trash bin out to the front yard. They haven't yet cleared my side of the road, so I'm hoping at some point they will and I'll be able, I hope, to get my larger, recycle bin out there as well.

My garden was put to bed last month but I'll still have a big spring cleanup. I had a late, volunteer potato crop which was a nice surprise, but a health challenge kept me from doing the complete cleanup I had planned.

My meyer lemon and bay leaf trees are in the house and doing OK; but the gardenia is sad. Leaves have turned yellow and I don't know why. I gave them some ironrite when I first saw the yellowing but they continued to look sadder and less healthy. I had a couple of months of incredible flowers and a very healthy looking plant. I re-potted it into fresh potting soil before bringing it in and it was happy until about 3 weeks ago.. I hope it survives whatever has hit it.

The late season volunteer Thai and Genovese Basil brought in are doing well so I'll have months of fresh basil for cooking and more pesto.

Since I can't garden now, this seemed like a good time to get back to baking bread. Since I gave my sourdough starter away before I moved, I'm trying, so far in vain, to start another one. I think my two starters have a sort of false pregnancy. Seems they were going fine, then stopped maturing, so I did a bit more research and found that this often happens, Often, it's because your starter does capture a bacteria that looks like the one that creates a sourdough starter, but it's a different air born bacteria, and eventually it just fails. I'm keeping my two going for a while yet just in case it can capture some of the right bacteria. There is sign of life, but not as much as needed to pass the float test which indicates it's ripe enough and strong enough to rise bread.

Meantime, I have ordered a mature, wet starter from King Arthur flour and that should be here in a few days, I hope that will work out fine. The way things go, my own may start to wake up around the same time,

I have a rye starter going (that one is showing more activity), and a half and half white bread flour and half whole wheat flour going I was doing all white and yesterday decided to switch it to the current 50 -50 blend hoping that might help.

I've been using this bad weather and time to do a lot of reading on artisan baking which I'm looking forward to doing once I get some success with my starter. Today I found a good recipe for sourdough pizza on the fresh loaf web site, I have it written on an index card and will be trying it as well as the no knead sourdough bread that I also just found on you tube.

This cold, damp, wet, snowy weather is definitely great bread and soup weather I just want to wait until I have a starter that works, So tonight, it won't be soup and home made sourdough. Instead I'm making yaki soba noodle stir fry with zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and snow peas.

How are the rest of you doing this winter?