After the olefactory stress I've been experiencing for the past several days, as I described in yesterday's post (the crossed-out parts, heh heh), I am VERY happy to report that as of this morning
MY SOURDOUGH STARTER SMELLS LIKE SOURDOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!
It really, really does. Woo hoo!!!!
And I think I know the secret now, and I'll share it with you all because I know some of you have expressed an interest in starting up your own sourdough starters, and I want you to experience this same feeling of joy and elation for yourselves.
To back up a teeny bit…
My starter is in a glass bowl covered with some of that press'n'seal covering it. You don't want it completely airtight, but you don't want fruit flies or any other little critters getting in. The press'n'seal stuff works nicely for this, plus it's kind of see-through, unlike aluminum foil, which works well but ISN'T so see-through.
Anyway, the bowl of starter has been sitting on a large plate (just in case it bubbles up TOO much) on the small counter to the right of my stove. It's away from open windows (drafts) and since the stove top or the oven or both are used pretty much daily, it's a fairly warm and cozy place to hang out.
This morning I came downstairs, got my coffee going, and was defragmenting my laptop and talking on the phone to my sister when I noticed that something was amiss with my bowl of starter.
It looked very much like a small foot (or paw) had stepped on the press'n'seal, dead center, and then, realizing that despite its appearance it was NOT a solid flat surface, the paw was withdrawn, but the press'n'seal had kind of stuck to the surface of the starter and did not spring back up again. Not that press'n'seal is known for springing back up. But anyway.
That was the state of sourdough affairs this morning. I carefully lifted the press'n'seal up from the starter and noticed two things.
Number 1: The sourdough had separated a bit – liquid on top and thicker stuff below – it wasn't bubbling, and therefore I need to feed it today.
Number 2: It smelled…GOOD.
I proceeded to babble on and on to my sister about this, and she tolerated it for a bit, because she knows I'm like this and because I'll listen to her babble on about HER exciting stuff when appropriate. It's nice to have that in a sibling.
Then for some reason, she had to – very suddenly and with no explanation – get off the phone. I don't THINK it has anything to do with my starter smelling LIKE SOURDOUGH. Nah. It wouldn't be that….
So ANYWAY – there you have it.
If you decide to make a sourdough and use this cooked potato method, don't get in a panic if it seems to be REALLY foul-smelling in the first several days of fermentation. (I've already done the panic for you.)
Be patient, and above all else – make sure you have a kitten in the house who will step on the press'n'seal stuff for you in the middle of the night.
Trust me – it makes all the difference.
And there's one more important thing which, in my panic, I had forgotten about. Barbara asked me, in a comment to yesterday's post, if I had named the starter yet, or was I going to wait until it settled down a bit.
Well, I hadn't named it yet, because of THE PANIC, and because, frankly, I'd forgotten all about that important element of sourdough starter custodianship.
So now I'm trying to decide on a name. Like I told my kids when they got the kittens (sorry, no picture of them at the moment – I'm on a different computer with no access to my kitten shots), you don't HAVE to name them right away – you can wait to get to know their little personalities first. And of course the named the kittens right away, as we all know.
My first inclination is to name the starter "Stinky." Never mind whatever other benign and fragrant personality it takes on going forward…for several days it was, indeed, stinky, and so to me that name is perfectly appropriate.
But I'll continue to think about it a bit before I fill out all the official Sourdough Naming documents.
And in the meantime, what would YOU suggest?