I just looked over the original article, Salmonberry Sourdough, or How Stupid Mistakes (sometimes) Equal Brilliant Discoveries, and thought I’d better update it.
Most excitingly, I have to tell you that although in the first article I said once you put a sourdough in the fridge and don’t use it for awhile it becomes a flavoring agent- loses all it’s rising power- this sourdough has proved me wrong! I’ve been putting it in the fridge for weeks at a time, then making bread and it’s working perfectly! I only have to feed it once and it’s back to full steam ahead.
And I did try freezing some too. Had to feed her several times to bring her back to life, but she came eventually. With no loss of vigor. I’m sooooo happy!
It’s making me so balsy I might even try converting it to whole wheat! (I’ll keep a whitey for good measure too)
I read somewhere, (maybe Wild Fermentation) that sourdough is both a bacteria and a yeast. The yeast rises your bread, and the bacteria gives it the tang. But only certain yeasts can coexist with certain bacteria. So in some sourdoughs the yeast will thrive, but only at the expense of the bacteria. I think I had one of those before, rose bread beautifully, but hardly any “sourdough” flavor. In other sourdoughs the bacteria will take over and it’ll be wowza-sour, but doesn’t rise worth a damn (this is the kind I think a lot of people have in their fridge and only break out once every few months for hotcakes, which works fine because hotcakes are leavened by a chemical reaction between the baking soda and the acids in the sourdough) But the best sourdough has the strains of yeast and bacteria that live well alongside each other.
I’m learning that what we call “sourdough” is so many things going on at once that it’s about as hard to understand as a woman. Every one will be different, and probably change over it’s lifetime as well. This is somehow so alluring to me. I wasn’t feeling any sense of commitment to my salmonberry sourdough before, like– well if it dies, I’ll just start a new one next summer. But she’s proved her vivacious will to live and it’s endeared me. I might be smitten.