While I was vacationing at my summer home in Cleveland (I staid with my parents), my mom and I decided to try to grow a yeast culture. We were inspired by a book my friend Kristina sent me from Alaska: a little pamphlet about the history of sourdough bread. It carried these instructions on making your own starter:
2 cups Flour
Place ingredients in a glass bowl and blend well with a wooden or plastic spoon. Cover loosely with a clean towel (this allows air to enter the bowl so your starter can pick up wild yeasts from the environment) and place it in a warm spot. Once a day, remove half the starter and throw it away. To the remaining starter, add 1 cup flour and 1 cup warm water; stir in well until lumps are gone. After 3 or 4 days of replenishing the starter it should be bubbly and have a pleasant sour smell. It is then ready to be used immediately or it can be placed in a clean container with a loose cover and refrigerated for later use.
We followed the recipe, and place the bowl of flour and water out on the driveway to warm up. If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that last time I tried growing yeast in New York, I ended up with something that smelled like cat puke and looked worse. I hid it in the back of my refrigerator and eventually threw it away, too scared to make anything from it. This time wasn’t much better. Although the starter looked like a starter should, it again smelled exactly like cat puke. The stink of it made a friend dry heave.
However, having now attempted this operation twice with the same results, I was willing to try to make some cat puke bread. Mom, after listening to my father going on about some kind of deadly yeast, decided to throw it out. The decision was made for us when, after forgetting to bring the bowl in at night, some creature came along and ate it. I imagine the creature looked like this: