Kicking rye starter into shape
Monday: My garden is bursting with Spring! The wind is windy and the birds are joyful! We have 18°C and the furnace has been turned off. I've pulled a starter out of the fridge. A firm rye that was not put into long hybernation (do not fear, my pretties, the prepared starter is the jar next to it also looking none the worse from wear.) It's wonderful and exhausting to be back in Austria. Lots of garden work and getting used to stairs again. Back to the starter.
This overripe goo smells cheese strong and has ice crystals all over it. (Must have been at the back of the fridge.) I'm thawing it out and scraping it now to look at the bottom. This stuff could send me under the table from just breathing it, that with jet lag could be lethal. It would be wise of me to breathe ever so lightly. My son thought I should pay a fine, keeping a starter that smelled so strong. It's criminal! I laughed and smiled to my inner-bread-self. I'd be the last one to tell him he could have thrown it out months ago. Must have been fed last in January.
(4 pm) I managed to push a top layer aside to get at the most underlying glop. Rather stiff really, broke some out and reminds me more of fresh yeast consistancy. It is also brighter in tan color than the top gray layer. I've mixed water with it and ... um... now some rye flour and we will see what decides to grow. Oops, got to run out for some rye flour. Needed milk anyway. I love being able to read everything on the shelves! Rye everywhere! Picked up some spelt berries too.
Tuesday: (4 am) The starter sat 12 hours and no action other than it smells sour and no longer like wet flour. Too much acid for the yeast! Gotta build up yeasty beasties! Took out a spoonful and did a 1:5:5 again for the next 12 hours > 20°C in the kitchen.
(8 am) Cooked some spelt in my rice cooker and because I didn't do too much with water so it would go dry, got some nice browning on the cooked grain... not a bad way to add color to a loaf... I ate some for breakfast as a chewy hot cereal. Spent the day trimming and chipping in the garden.
(6 pm) Got bubbles! I can see them thru the glass but not on top. Smells sour but mellow and when I attack it with a spoon the bubbles collapse and I see structure under that smooth exterior. Very good! Took out another spoonful and did a 1:5:5 feed plus scrounged around for some old rye bread. Found sunflower light rye, will have to do and processed it into crumbs, mixed in. Got that sitting out now until I wake up in the wee hours, but also good until morning if I sleep thru.