Bread Ain’t My Bitch Day 04 & 05: Already Troubleshooting

I decided to get back into making sourdough following the excellent Tartine book. You can catch my progress in Day 01 to 03, Day 03. When I arrived home from work today, no action, just a film of water on top:

A bit of action, but not a lot.
It’s not like yesterday.

So, according to the instructions in Tartine, I was to discard 80%, and start again. I wanted to give whatever wild yeast that is in there already a head start. We start off with water that’s a bit warmer.

Water will be a bit warmer, to give the yeast a little head start.
Add flour, massage it in.

When I attempt something new, it almost always goes wrong, and this case is no different. I am liable to overthink the reasons why.

I’m thinking that people have made bread for thousands of years, and these little setbacks are all about how I will learn this fundamental skill. It’s not like there is an X, Y, Z manual. I’ve searched for answers in several Facebook groups with the intention of figuring out what I am doing wrong here, and it turns out that there was no magic solution. Only time, patience, and practice will get me there.

Time to troubleshoot why the wild yeast isn’t thriving in it’s home. My first thought was if the cupboard is rolling at eighteen degrees–like the thermometer says, it makes no sense trying to start a ferment there, (too cold, I think) so I decided to make its new home above the stove.

I think this will be okay.

A few people mentioned to me that they liked to measure out the amount of water and flour to ensure that I had the right amount. For this step of building the starter though, I am going to follow the advice in Tartine, “Don’t worry too much about the quantities of flour and water in these feedings–you want a thick batter. The important thing is that you feed the started and pay attention to its behavior as it develops.”

We’ll know tomorrow whether there’s any change. I’ll try to remember to check back in the morning to see what happened.

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