the color purple
I am definitely a new-by and wish to learn. How ever, I get confused by the technical detail of the recipes and process details. Please bear in mind that I am an engineer by training. so mixing quantitative and qualitative methods is likely to get me confused.
I STARTED making bread about 6 months ago ( have been making beer for 10 years or so)and started my starter about the same time. My bread is consistently good although I gravitate toward the artisan stuff, both kneaded and un-kneaded.
Here's the process-- my sourdough is consistently good. I keep it alive about once a week ( even maybe up to a couple of weeks of neglegt)or when I use some by adding in a 1/2 cup or so of flour and maybe a 1/2 cup of water as needed. I taste it and it is always sour. If too sour(RED), I add wheat flour. But, if it is too bland(BLUE), I add black rye. If it is active I put it in the fridge. If I need it tomorrow, it goes on the counter. I always taste it and look for PURPLE-- midway between too sour or bland. The water added keeps it near a pancake batter consistency.
When I make a starter, I adjust the amount of starter and water to meet the needs of the recipe and then replenish the starter. No big deal.
My reasoning is that I really want each loaf to be a treasure -- not a duplicate. Every once in the while i get a loaf that is incredibly outstanding even though most are "above average."
I would really feel bad if my sourdough died but it would not end my existence. I treat my sourdough as my friend and we share our life together-- sounds a bit co-dependent -- maybe I need to go to sourdough anonymous..........