is my starter salvageable? and, baking in stainless steel pot question
Ok, almost totally new at this...tried to create my own starter last winter and they all got moldy...was given a starter, made 2 good loaves with it and then it went moldy as well (cold damp mold prone ireland, i guess?).
I was in the US in March and was given a starter that was made using either pineapple juice to start, or raisin to start, techniques. This sat in the fridge with a parchment paper covering and did not get attention for 2 weeks. it was then put in a tightly lidded jar and took a plane ride on March 30...was out of the fridge for a few days, and now has been in and out of fridges (sometimes fridges on, sometimes, off, sometimes not in fridge) for the last month through a series of moves. It has been kept in that tightly lidded jar and not fed for a month, in and out of fridges etc, and tossed around a fair bit. I opened it and it smelled like stinky cheese. no visible mold in the actual starter, though it was hard to tell if there was white mold on the sides of the upper rim of the jar, and it looked like there could be a bit of grey or green mold only on cap where it sits on the rim. I scooped about 1/8 to 1/4 cup out of the middle the best i could without scraping the sides and put that into a clean jar. it was separated, but i dont think thats a problem? it was very smooth and pretty liquidy. I, fed it a cup of organic white flour and half cup water, stuck it in the fridge, went back the next eve and it smelled like yogurt. no stink. so, i discarded half and fed it again. can i assume its ok because it doesnt stink? or do i risk poisoning myself after all the neglect this starter got?
Also, baking question...I have the Tartine book and didnt have a dutch oven or combi cooker or cast iron or whatnot, so I used a big tall stainless steel soup pot with a lid. i got one really amazing loaf out of it, great for a first try, nice and crusty, and a second half decent loaf (didnt rise as much as should have). Is it safe to cook in the oven in a pot thats meant for the stove? Or will stuff leach out of the pot? Its stainless steel but I know that can mean a different combination of metals, not always standardized I think....
Our local shop has enameled cast iron on sale right now for 25 and 29 euro there is a 2.8 liter round and a 4 liter oval. I thought about getting the 2.8 l round so i could cook in proper cast iron but my concern is that its not very tall...not as tall as my soup pot was...I dont know if there will be enough room for the bread to rise properly or if it will hit the top and fall? I dont have exact measurements for it though :/ the 4 liter oval is an inch or so taller than the 2.8 liter, but the 4 l is an awfully big pot...i dont think my loaves will usually be that big as they will take forever to cook, no? Should I go with the bigger one anyway? or just stick with my stainless steel pot which worked ?
Also, can either of these cast iron pots be actually put in a fire and is that a good way to cook bread? there is an oven attached to my range, but it rarely gets up to even 350....I was wondering if I could just put the pot or cast iron in the firebox itself? (not sure what the lid handle is made out of on the cast iron though..might melt... although the 4 liter one looks like its made out of same material as pot is... but also outside of the cast iron one is red enamel, not sure if thats safe to go in a fire? I have a regular oven but it doesnt go up as high as is recommended to make good bread, so I thought about putting it directly in the fire? Comments/advice on the pots/cast iron etc and on if it can go right in the firebox? (link to cast iron if ok to put in post?) http://www.lidl.ie/cps/rde/www_lidl_ie/hs.xsl/Offers.htm?action=showDetail&id=5618
just want to make sure what im doing is safe!
Thanks so much!