The Letter F is for … Flummoxed by Fermentation

August’s Alphabet: The Letter F is for …

Flummoxed by Fermentation

With a jar in hand and a pot of yogurt, a bag of raisins, rye and white bread flours gathered around the jar, I grabbed my handy mini-whisk and followed the instructions in Dan Lepard’s book The Handmade Loaf at Amazon on how to make a sourdough starter. I now empathise with those early astronauts as they jumped off that ladder from the lunar craft … free-falling for a few fateful seconds — not knowing whether they were about to land on a firm surface or plunge into 10,000 kilometres of crusty, fluffy moon dust. I have no idea why a sourdough starter should cause me such worry and anxiety but it seems to. I mean if you muck it up you just toss the sludge down the drain (or maybe the toilet on second thought) and wave goodbye to it with a flick of that same finger that you use for picking dried bits out of your nose. What – you don’t do that? No, neither do I. Ahem…

For some head-scratching reason that totally escapes me now, I created my starter at 10:30pm … which is usually the time that I’m tucked up in bed reading “True Blood” (because it’s too yucky to watch on TV). So now I’m feeding yeast for the next week when I should be in bed reading about things that go bump in the night.

To be honest, I’d be happy if my jar of sludge went bump in the night. Right now it looks a bit like what I imagine the contents of the U-joint bend in my kitchen drain looks like. So where’s the foam, where’s the froth … so where’s the yeast?

This split, gooey, pasty mess is about to start day 3.

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Should I throw this lot out and start again?

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My other F-Words today include:

Flowers: one of my favourite pastimes – my rose alcove

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Fruit: The apple trees are heavy with Discovery apples at the moment, and they’re simply delicious. I’ve eaten 3 today, plus a Waldorf salad with dinner.

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Blind Fly: These amazing little guys aren’t flies at all but they’re also not bees. Someone should tell them they’re not bees because they flit from blossom to blossom as if collecting nectar for the hive. Funny little things. I’m not sure if they’re called Blind Flies, actually. Do you know a different name? Is it a Drone Fly maybe?

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And Finally: Fabulously Fresh Bread for Lunch. Canadian white bread flour, 64% hydration.

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Tomorrow: The Letter G.  Geeeeeee…..

Visit other August Alphabet friends:

E.. is for England and Egyptian Geese

E is for _______________
Susan “Penless” at


5 Comments Add yours

  1. heidi says:

    Apples and flowers and fresh Bread! What a treasure!
    And my starter usually looks JUST LIKE THAT!
    Add some flour and stir!

  2. Misk Cooks says:

    Thanks for continuing to stop by here for a read, Heidi! 😀 My starter is still in its early days – today is day 3, but I’m certainly glad to hear that yours looks similar to mine. The little mucky mess gets another feeding tonight, and then tomorrow we start syphoning off part of it and replacing that portion with fresh water and flour.

    I can’t tell you how tempting it is to stir the contents of that jar!

  3. Joanna says:

    Are they what I call hoverflies? I don’t know if that is their proper name…

    Fearlessly ferment for foodie feasting to come 😀

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Joanna, yes, could very well be a hoverfly. I think we should rename them hooverflies because everyday I’m having to hoover up more of them on the window ledge. They come in through the opened window and can’t find their way out again. I feel badly about that but I can’t cope with the windows closed up all day during the summer.

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