Sunday was Day 10 for the Amish Sweet Friendship Bread, as in the day when you share the yeasty baby with three friends. However, you’ve probably figured out by now that the cake on Day 10 didn’t get baked. Here’s what happened instead:
Day 3: Bud developed a alcoholic liquid layer a.k.a. hooch.
This means he’s not very happy. I stirred him down as per the instructions and tried to ignore the fact that he might be dying on me.
Day 4: more hooch
At this point, I decided to try and switch Bud to a mix of 1/3 rye and 2/3 white flour in water in a ratio of 1:1:1 (starter:water:flour) by weight, the method that Susan of Wild Yeast describes for capturing a wild yeast starter.
Here’s Bud on a more healthy diet (instead of living on 1 cup flour + 1 cup sugar + 1 cup water every five days).
Morning of Day 5: he looks kind of… dead, except for one or two lonely bubbles.
I just kept feeding him roughly every 12 hours in the 1:1:1 ratio and hoped for the best.
End of Day 6:
Some more bubbles, but he still wasn’t doubling in volume every 12 hours like a healthy and active starter would. So I kept feeding him and prayed some more.
Then suddenly, on Day 9:
Bud pulled through! (The mark is how much starter there was after I fed him, and before I let him rise.) Ladies and gentlemen, we have a sourdough starter! I fed Bud twice more with the mix of rye and white flour, and tonight switched him to white flour only, but with more “food” (1:2:2 ratio, so there’s twice as much water and flour per part of starter) to see if he can still double in 12 hours or less. If Bud is still bubbling away happily tomorrow morning, then I can try him out in my very first bread recipe that calls for levain, or starter. Maybe some Norwich Sourdough?
*Note: for a more detailed description of how to capture a wild yeast starter, do visit Susan’s how-to post. The only difference in my case is that I used 20g starter : ~6 g rye flour + ~13 g white flour : 20 g water (1:1:1) instead of 75 g starter : 25 g rye flour + 50 g white flour : 75 g water that she uses; i.e., I’m just doing it on a slightly smaller scale.