Articles/ Baking/ Bread

The Misadventures of Neville: Sourdough Starter, Aged 19 1/2 (days)

I said when I launched the site earlier this week that I’d use this as a place to post not only my cooking and baking successes, but also my cooking calamities and baking blunders as well, because anyone who cooks or bakes and says they never make any mistakes is a complete and utter liar because you can’t improve and learn if you don’t make the odd cock-up. With that said, I hadn’t anticipated having to post a blunder so soon, but we take what life gives us and we have to run with it.

The first proper article I posted on the site was one that explained how to make your own Sourdough Starter, because it was one of those things that had eluded me for a while and I was happy I finally had one that was healthy and active and decided to share the experience on here.

However, today, disaster struck.

I was in the process of making another Sourdough loaf using Neville, which is what I have named my Sourdough starter because he is alive and I have to feed him daily so why shouldn’t I name him and give him a gender? It’s not weird. You’re weird! Don’t judge me!


Anyway, I was creating the dough for another Sourdough loaf (which I am hoping to post the recipe for at a later date if all goes well) and while the dough was in the stand mixer doing its thing, I was re-feeding Neville because I had just used some of him for the mixture. As I was keeping him in a large kilner jar I was having to add and mix the flour and water using a large metal spoon but today I was a little over-vigorous with the mixing and, well…

I cracked the side of the jar with the metal spoon, and the starter all came spilling out! I had killed Neville!

Thankfully, I did have the jar standing in a bowl since Neville had previously risen up and out of his last container so I kept it there as a precaution, and that ended up catching a good majority of the mixture.

So, all was not lost! We can rebuild him, we have the technology! After making sure I had taken out all of the glass that had broken which had stayed in a couple of large pieces (and cutting myself in the process) I was able to transfer Neville into a new container; a nice and big Rumtopf jar which my Mum kindly let me use.

After another feed (because, let’s face it, I had just tried to kill him and lost half of his mixture) Neville didn’t appear to be any worse for wear for his misadventures. He was still alive, active and bubbly:

So, thankfully all ended okay and I was able to rescue Neville from disaster.  But, if you are making your own Sourdough starter, do be very careful with what you keep it in and what you mix the starter with when you feed it. From now on I’ll be making sure I use a wooden spoon and I shan’t be so vigorous when  I mix it. Learn from my mistakes!

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