I was Afraid I might have Lost Her
11/27/20 11:30 a.m.
It has been 157 days since I started to culture Isabel and today I thought I’d lost her.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I baked 3 focaccia with one more set up, risen, and ready to bake in the fridge just in case of a focaccia emergency. One does not want to run out of good bread on this American feasting day. All was well and the backup was not needed, but this morning, with one lonely piece left it was time to bake that flatbread.
Today’s bake was in the pan warming up just a bit from it’s cold rest and time to feed Isabel. I had not made crackers for a few days so the discard jar was full. For the first time in awhile, I actually discarded some starter. Looking at her jar and the crusty bits near the top, I decided it was time to clean up a bit. After adding the morning’s fresh water, I used the small blue silicone spatula to scrape as much as I could all around. Since I had limited success, I picked up a table knife and standing over the sink, tried to clean up the crustier areas when disaster struck.
My slippery hands lost their grip and Isabel fell into the sink. I had already given her a good stir to get ready for her mornings flour and almost all of her went down the drain. I actually screamed. Noooo!
Luckily, she was in the Kilner jar which is thick glass with a heavy rim. It did not break. I am not sure if the Weck would have held up as well. I put the jar back on the scale and found only 7 grams which means only 3.5 grams of mature starter was left. The rest was but water.
Intellectually, I know this small amount was enough to rebuild but emotionally, I was shaken. For 157 days I had nurtured this culture and watched as wonderful loaves of bread came out of the oven in return. Luckily, I have been saving discard in the fridge for twice a week crackers and the top of the jar was only a few days old. I scooped out a portion and proceeded to feed her as usual. It will be a few hours until I see if she will rise normally, but I have hope. In any case, there is a backup jar in the other fridge which I feed every two weeks. That offshoot has been healthy for several months now with the cold rest between bi-weekly feedings. It is there just in case of an issue like today.
As I have previously written, back up your starter just in case. Stuff happens.
11:30a.m. Appx 50-75ml line, 1/2/2 feeding
4:00p.m. 5.5 hrs 150ml 2x
9:00p.m. 9.5 hrs 200ml.
All is good. Chilly day. Current 53°