Since my kombucha scoby died, i have been looking for a bacterial pet to replace it with. Sourdough seems like the perfect alternative. I was intimidated by the thoughtof the creating my own starter. Just leaving out a bowl of flour and water seems too risky. What if i started cultivating a flesh eating bacteria on accident? I read about a grape starter in julia child's "cooking with the masters."
The really slow food movement
I started in july with a bag of unwashed grape and some flour and water. I tore up a pillow case , and put the grapes in a bowl along with flour and water. I let it sit for six days. Since we were having a cold snap, i set the bowl on a heating pad, set to the lowest setting. I wasn't able to get to the starter immediately so it languished in the fridge for a week. Needless to say, the odor was strange -- a combination of fart gas and fruitful. And it was a deep mauve color. The original recipe called for feeding the starter for 3 days and then making a dough with yeast. Adding yeast seems counter intuitive. I was attracted sourdough because it meant i didn't have to use commercially prepared yeast. It's also called for using a large food processor. I didn't have one so i chose instead to use my mom's standing mixer. The resulting dough was stiff, barely mixed, lumpy and nearly unworkable. I added more water and kneaded it for a long time and finally produced a workable dough. Although the recipe stated the dough would be wet, my ball was on the dry side. The resulting bread was sour yet dense. Not quite hockey puck, but heavier than I wanted.
I found another recipe on the nets for a 100% sourdough bread. It called for not one, but two sponges, for a total of three more days of fermentation. I finally