Saturday, May 23, 2009

Catch it in the rye

After reading Sarah Franklin's article on creating a rye starter I've been inspired to try it myself. And since the air here in Sydney has been well washed by all of the recent rain (it's been bucketing actually... dumping, pouring, pissing down, cats and dogs and almost elephants) I thought I'd take advantage of this and try a rye and rainwater concoction.

Actually, the various particles and poisons that nurture the lungs of city dwellers aren't really a concern in using rainwater to start the starter. After the culture becomes active, and the cycle of diluting, discarding and feeding has been repeated a few times using tap water, the concentration of any nasty bits will be, if not zero, then certainly a lot lower than what you're breathing.

There seems to be a good deal of disagreement between sourdough experts about whether the organisms that do the magic come predominantly from the flour used to create the culture or from the atmosphere. Perhaps it depends on the flour, or the place, or the phase of the moon, or whether you brushed your teeth that morning, or all of these and and a million and one other unknowable influences. I'm happy to take advantage of my profound ignorance on this question by choosing to believe that place matters: sourdough terroir. Hence the rainwater.

As Sarah's article illustrates, the steps required to start a rye starter couldn't be easier:
  1. mix rye flour and water into a goop
  2. keep goop warm-ish
  3. wait
So, this afternoon I combined Australian certified organic rye flour with a small volume of highly polluted Sydney rainwater.

I'm using a yoghurt making flask with some tepid water in it to incubate the mixture.

To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. Sorry yours didn't work - it's an odd creature really. I've just started my third session, not much action so far! The ciabattas look fantastic....