Introducing Bertie

The time has come to introduce you all to the other “man” in my life. Meet Bertie, my rye sourdough starter, born on the 26th September 2012.

He’s my second go at a sourdough starter – the first ended up in the bin after most of my sourdoughs looked more like frisbees than bread. So I had another go and Bertie is still with me (although he has not been “frisbee-free”).

Starters are supposed to have a regular feeding regime and I have to confess that mine doesn’t. In fact if there were such as a thing as a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sourdough Starters, I suspect that I would be pretty high up their Most Wanted list. In my defence he does live in the fridge and has quite a thick consistency but even so I suspect that “when I remember” isn’t quite what proper bakers have in mind!

But my tough love style appears to be paying off as he seems to be a quite lively – if I feed him at night with equal weights of water and flour, by the next morning he’ll have doubled in size with a mousse like texture. Clearly what a sourdough starter needs is patience and some rough treatment. So if you think that keeping a starter is too difficult and time consuming, it doesn’t need to be. Once you’ve got it through its first week or so the odds are that it will be able to cope with a fair degree of neglect.

So give it a go and let me know how you get on.


6 thoughts on “Introducing Bertie

  1. Glad to hear it. I’ve never tried making gluten free – are you planning on posting any photos? I’m giving Bertie a run out today. Rather than cramming it into 1 basket I’m using 2 smaller ones so it should have more space to rise. I’ll let you know how it goes…

  2. I’m on day 6 of my first attempt at a starter. It looks like it’s doing everything it’s supposed to. Not so sure about the odour though! I’ll attempt the first loaf tomorrow or Saturday so fingers crossed…

    • Good luck with your first loaf. Let me know how it goes. I think that baking sourdough is one of the most rewarding/ frustrating things to bake. My starter has definitely got better the older he’s got so stick with it. You’ll find the smell does get better as well. Either that or I’ve just got used to it!

      • The first two loaves didn’t work. Neither really rose after kneading they just sagged in the bowl. I used two different recipes so I think the starter was the issue. Am starting again and will give it a bit longer.

      • It sounds like your starter may not be strong enough yet. Check how much your starter expands when you feed it and how long it takes – Bertie now over doubles in size but it does take a few hours to do this. I know a lot of the recipes say to use the starter after a week but Bertie needed nearer a month. Check out Dan Lepard’s sourdough recipe on the Guardian website, this was the first recipe I got to work. Lets hope that its second time lucky!

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