Ivanhoe, my Newest Pet

Meet Ivanhoe the Sourdough…starter.



He also has a partner, Mrs. Ivanhoe. She is one year older, a little lighter but just as much upkeep.

My husband always says, rather emphatically, “No more pets!” Thankfully, he has no idea how much work this couple is. They have babies; if I let them, they would have hundreds.

How did I get here, anyway? It all started about 20 years ago with my first breadmaker. We love bread. Who doesn’t? Even the neighborhood squirrels love fresh bread. One tore his way through a kitchen window screen just to get to my bread. Another one is often up on my deck plotting his way into my house; he’ll die first!

I have made bread consistently ever since we bought that first breadmaker. I have even graduated to kneading the dough the old fashioned way.  I give it as gifts. I share recipes. I read about bread. Okay, I even dream about bread.

So, last fall, I started thinking that I needed to start making sourdough bread. I used to live in California as a young girl. Let me tell you, there is nothing like San Francisco Sourdough Bread. It has a flavor all its own that cannot be imitated anywhere else.

I began researching sourdough starters. I learned that there was no way I could make my bread taste like San Francisco. That made me sad. You see each area of the country has their unique yeasts in the air.

I was determined to discover my own West Michigan sourdough flavor. My first sourdough starter was born. She was so meek and mild that I was disappointed. I wanted a sassy tang to her; so I added citric acid. YUCK, that was a fail.

As the months went on, I found she was developing her own personality. Not what I expected, but not a total disappointment either. I continued experimenting. I even thought of bringing her with me to Georgia last spring to see if I could “catch” any yeast spores there to enhance her flavor.

I didn’t go that far, but I did watch my daughter make bread and decided to try her method of letting the dough rise overnight. Voila! that worked wonders. I think it has something to do with letting the phytates out. I don’t understand; I got a ‘D’ in chemistry. All you budding chemists can read about them.

That was way too much background to introduce Ivanhoe, my little rye sourdough starter. He was born just one month ago. He is what I had been hoping for every time I tasted sourdough bread; whether from a bakery or my own little starter. He is strong!

Now what to do with them? I am either going to have to start selling sourdough bread or scale way back on my starters. I really hate to do that. Ever since he and the Mrs. have been side by side they have developed into such a beautiful thing. She her own wheat flavor; and he his own rye flavor.

I have sent out feelers to my friends and family. I will let you know how this all ends up.






2 thoughts on “Ivanhoe, my Newest Pet

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