Yesterday afternoon, after the glorious discovery that it smelled - at last - like sourdough, I thought I'd better go ahead and set it up for baking.
In sourdough parlance, I had to "set the starter," which you do by feeding it the night before you plan to bake so that it's all bubbly and activated.
So the first thing I did was to stir it down until it was a smooth, creamy consistency. And then I scraped it out of this bowl (above) and into a tall, wide, wide-mouthed jar (below) and added two cups of flour.
Then I poured in a cup of warm water.
And then I stirred it all together until it was smooth and creamy again.
Here's a better view of the jar:
I figure it's plenty big enough no matter what size batches of bread or hotcakes I decide to make.
A few notes -
I've read that you shouldn't use metal when you're working with sourdough. So I've been using glass vessels and a big wooden spoon. So far.
When you're setting the sourdough, the amount of flour and water you add will depend on what you're making. Some recipes I've seen will tell you how much to add, others will just say to set the starter. A good starting point is a cup of flour and a cup of water. That way you're not really changing the consistency of the starter. If, however, your starter is too think or too thick for your liking, then you can change the flour to water ratio to balance things out. That's why I added two cups of flour but only one cup of water.
So what texture starter do you want? Thick but pourable. Maybe like...yogurt or sour cream that you've stirred well with a spoon, but a bit thinner. It's actually up to you (imagine that!). You just might need to tinker with the fluids and flour when you use it in a recipe.
Okay now, so if all that setting up was done yesterday...then that should mean I used it...today, right?
And I'll tell you all about that tomorrow. It's getting late, and the new school year gets underway early in the morning.