My well-travelled starter

 Hi, I’m new here although I have been reading this forum with interest for some time.

I live in the small village of Clun in Shropshire, England. I’ve been making bread on and off for many years but it was only about a year ago, inspired by a visit to San Francisco, that I decided to have a go at creating a sourdough starter. I made up a fairly thick mix of bread-flour and water in a plastic bowl, covered it with muslin and left it alongside our wood-burning stove.

Quite frankly I didn’t for a moment expect anything to happen. When I looked at it three days later it had developed a hard crust on top and I was convinced that it was done for. But when I removed the crust I found to my delight BUBBLES!

I continued to feed the starter and was pleased to find, when I came to use it, that I could produce a very respectable loaf. I have since experimented with a variety of different recipes and have finally produced my definitive loaf which I dubbed “Clun White Sourdough”. It’s based on a Poilâne-style recipe and takes about three days to make.

In England I feed the starter with my preferred white flour (Wessex Mill) with a little wholemeal and rye added but my wife and I recently went to Nevada for eight weeks and I was worried about what to do with my beloved starter. Finally I dried some, pulverised it and put it in the freezer in case of emergencies. I then made up a very thick mixture of the rest in a small plastic container and put it in our luggage. I was a bit worried about pressure/temperature etc. in the cargo hold but the starter survived triumphantly and soon got used to its new diet of King Arthur Bread Flour. I made several loaves whilst in America but found that I had to vary my recipe slightly to allow for the altitude (we were near Reno) and the different flour.

I’m now back in England and my internationally-travelled Clun Starter is back on its normal diet and flourishing.

 

 

3 comments

Mine has a few miles under it's belt. Coming up on 2 years old now, born in Sydney Australia it moved with me to Hong Kong. It seems much happier in HK, loving the combination of heat and humidity. What used to take several days can now be accomplished in one. It also has offspring in Singapore and a cousin in Sydney - friends who liked the bread so much they received the gift that keeps on giving. In case of emergency there are also cryogenic DR plans in place. Funnily enough - I use that Wessex Mill SWBF as well here in Hong Kong, it gives great results. The 6 grain version makes a delicious loaf. Any more globetrotting Starters out there?

My starter began life in London about 3 years ago, and it travels regularly to Cornwall and Scotland; every so often it goes to America, and it has been enriched with a starter I made while staying in Adelaide for a month ( I didn't dare attempt to take a starter into Australia!).

Frederica

Well, that's it.  Like the starters of pioneer times, mine will go camping, in Texas nonetheless.  I am inspired by all the success stories.  I'll take an offspring of mine along and try some Dutch-oven baking once or twice, maybe even pancakes!  We'll be traversing Texas from north (Dalhart) to south (Corpus Christi seashore).  There's enough variation of climate along that route to make for a very interesting experience.  It'll give me an idea of what the American pioneers dealt with for their daily bread (most likely, weekly...).  Considering the people usually walked alongside the wagons, they needed to eat a pretty seriously starch-laden diet to stay vertical.  Now I will gain an appreciation of the effort in that...although with all the modern comforts of a big vehicle and a comfy airbed and tent.  I will keep track of Yeastie-Beastie-Baby's adventures and fill "ya'll" in.  : )