Pane Cafone (Country Man's Bread)

Pane Cafone (Country Man's Bread)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Care and Feeding day at the zoo.

When I was prepping to make Bob's Basic Sourdough Bread, I was going to use the Richard Packham 1965 San Francisco starter that I revived last month but never used.  The night before I was going to bake I put 1/2 cup of starter in a glass bowl and added 2 cups of flour and water and covered it with a towel.  When I checked it the next morning it had a layer of hooch on it but little to almost no activity.  Yikes!  I grabbed  SDI San Francisco sourdough starter and gave that a shot.  Okay, that one worked the way it was supposed to but it left me wondering about the health of the other starters in the fridge.  I took them all out and poured 1/2 cup of each in a container and added a cup of flour and water to each to see how they reacted.  The Frankenstarter (formally know as the starter from the black lagoon) seemed to be slow to react but otherwise okay.  The other 2 gave me cause for concern  by developing a layer of hooch early on with very little bubbling.  I keep dried back ups of all my starters but I'd rather try to bring the ones I already have running back to a healthy state.  My solution was to add a teaspoon of potato water to each starter and see if that perked them up.  Potato water is very simple to make. Take 2 or three potatoes and cut them up in cubes, cover with water and boil for about 20 minutes.  Pour off the water into a container and let it cool.  I put the glass mason jar I poured the potato water into a bowl of cool water so I could use it fairly soon.

The pot at the right contains the potato water

I have well water in my house that is rather hard so if the potato water does not do the trick then I plan to try and jump start them with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. I understand the little yeasties like a slightly acid environment.

Luckily I didn't have to resort to the vinegar, the potato water seemed to have worked.  Everyone is healthy and happy now.
Don't you just love a happy ending?

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