When a light goes on, hovering over your head
Perhaps this should be on the 'how do you maintain your starter' thread but I don't want anyone to miss this in case it's important to anyone besides me. Sorry if that's presumptive.
This morning a light went on. I am waiting for my Otis to return home; sort of sitting on the dock of the bay... But I have run out of homemade bread, having to eat that criminal store stuff. So while I am waiting I turned Franco out of bed and got him going on weekend baking. It has been 2, maybe 3, weeks since I have used him. So he has been sitting in cold storage all that time. This AM when I pulled him out of his container he was not the expected stringy stretchy dude he should have been, but rather bordering on Bossy-hoof glue-glop. A comment crumb bum made at the get-together last weekend rang loudly, concerning over-fermenting destroying the gluten. Now I have heard this umpteen numbers of times, but with Otis I have never seen such a thing, as those who have recently tried him may well understand. I can let him sit in the cold for three weeks, pull him out and feed him 1:1:2 one time then make the dough with outstanding results. My attempts in the past have generally failed when trying to get Franco to turn into a starter that feels like Otis. Until recently, that is. A month ago Franco started feeling right and making bread nicely. I'll leave out the details because I seem to be on one of my long missives moods.
I'm thinking that Franco's odd behavior was due to the method of getting him home from S. San Francisco in the heat when he was already fully doubled, for several days. So today I am feeding and watching him, expecting to have to do additional feeds to get the feel and consistency I want, before baking either tomorrow or Sunday.
What I am saying again, apparently, is that our starters are dramatically different from eachother. As bakers, we are trying to achieve similar results using different ingredients and techniques. True, the purpose of this blog is to help move toward each other's techniques in order to duplicate each other's results, but we often voice frustration at our own failures, not taking into consideration that you can't do what another did if you aren't doing the same thing. I am not saying we need to abandon our self-started starters and exchange known vigorous starters, or starters with particular flavors, just that we need to be mindful of the different characteristics they may have. If you want to make CBs miche in his time frame, don't use Otis, or change the timeline. That's what I mean. Maybe someone with time and a decent amount of scientific method to establish a measuring scale against which we can gage our starters' leavening capacity... any takers?
That's my story,