Thursday, March 25, 2010

Finn Jr.

I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our household. My sourdough starter that I named Finn Jr.

I got the idea for making a sour dough starter from a Twitter pal named "Finn". He started tweeting about his sourdough starter dying and having to start a new one. I got curious and asked him if a very infrequent non-baker such as myself could create a sour dough starter and only use it once and a while? He said yes. Finn claimed that sour dough starter took little to no time to take care of and was worth it.

I did a little bit of online research and found this recipe: Beginner Sour Dough Bread It was not only simple but also very comprehensive in the steps. Other recipes I found online seemed a little bit vague or called for yeast (I didn't have any) or even potato starch. King Aurthur (my flour of choice btw) goes as far as to sell a sour dough starter kit online. I think it was only $35 or something but still it seemed a little bit lame and cheaty.

I also chose this recipe because I loved the idea of using the "wild yeast" in the air and all around us to create my sour dough. It seemed like a super neat science experiment and as a kid who excelled at science fairs (I went to regional in 9th and 10th grade) that seemed really neat to me.

And so I began. I used the instructions I found online as my chief guide but after three days I was a little skeptical that the sour dough had fermented enough or produced enough yeast. My Twitter friend Finn said that he had been feeding his starter ("Veruca") for 12 days and it was now time. So I asked him if he thought my starter was ready? He confirmed what I thought and said no. So I've been letting "Finn Jr". grow and grow. Last night he became a rebellious teenager and we woke up to him trying to escape the safety of his jar to explore the world (thus the picture above this posting).

He seems to be doing just fine. Lots of bubbles and activity for sure! See:

Speaking of which, I need to go feed him again now. I'm going to make my sponge with him on Sunday and if all goes well, I will be able to share my first loaf of sour dough bread from Finn Jr. on Monday with some friends we're having over for dinner. I'm actually going to be sad when it becomes time for me to put Finn Jr. into the fridge and I don't have to feed him everyday but like all children, he will need to move out of the nest and learn to fend mainly on his own.

But I certainly am one proud mamma for now!


Jenny T. said...

woah! This is cool... I don't think I could remember to feed him though. How is Jr. doing? or how did he taste?

Leah said...

Jenny, once you get past the growth stage and put him into the fridge, you only have to remember to feed him once a week but he can go for longer without being fed.

He's actually mighty tasty! And he's tangy but not as tangy as I'd like. I think it will come with age or so I hope.

It's amazing to me what I've been learning via my twitter and blogger friends :)

Jenny T. said...

I think that the sour dough tang is sort of umami, is it not?? I still don't fully understand umami... I just know that I'm an umami kinda girl...

Leah said...

Hmm, I never thought about sour dough as having umami but I think you're right! I always took it to mean that kinda savory, back of the throat, meaty taste. Like mushrooms or soy sauce or vinegar. It's like a rare indescribable taste or so I think. I don't know much about it as well. I do know that it's a term that seems to get thrown around a lot lately.

But yes, definitely in my opinion, sour dough has umami. I say that if you like sour dough bread, you should try making your own sour dough starter! I was surprised by how easy and fun it was to create :)

Jenny T. said...

I'll definitely put it on my ever growing to-do-list. Also on my to-do-list is to sometime visit your store to see if I can make myself look less dowdy. None of my clothes fit quite right anymore because of weird stretching in weird places. Maybe if I had time to exercise I could revert to original shape...

Leah said...

Jenny, I'd love to meet you in person and help you with jeans when you feel ready. I've heard from other news moms that their bodies just changed in ways they never expected. I've heard of rib cages expanding etc. It's always tough when suddenly the body you knew/know so well has morphed.

And well you just did the most amazing thing humanly possible so definitely applaud you and your kickass body for making that possible!!!!

PS...Your baby is so darn cute!!!!!