Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Theme of the Day Is Things That Stink

This weekend I decided to try the great sourdough experiment. It was a learning experience. There's nothing wrong with learning experiences. Really.

However, I'm thinking of throwing out the starter and retrying the grand experiment again in June. Here's why:

- Yeast are about like me when it's cold. They don't want to do anything. The instructions on the sourdough starter package talk about letting the starter sit at 80 degrees. There isn't anywhere in my house that is 80 degrees at the moment. The gas oven doesn't even have a pilot light, so the yeast were sitting around doing nothing at 65 degrees like the rest of us.

- When I finally did get the yeast excited, I found that sourdough starter smells... sour. With the house closed up the entire kitchen smells like rotting milk. This is not exactly the homey kitchen smell I was going for.

On the plus side, I made a pretzel, some rolls, and some decent flatbread this weekend. The flatbread is pretty much welded to the pan I made it in, so it's a little difficult to eat -- next time things will be different.

Also in the learning experiences category this weekend, I found out that they used something called "Orangeburg pipe" for the sewer when they built my house 53 years ago. Here are the relevant sentences from the wikipedia entry:

Lack of strength causes pipes made of Orangeburg to fail more frequently than pipes made with other materials. The useful life for an Orangeburg pipe is about 50 years under ideal conditions, but has been known to fail in as little as 10 years. It has been taken off the list of acceptable materials by most building codes.

Oh yeah. The things you learn...


Eric said...

Hmmmm. 50 minus 53... that's, uh, negative 3.

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

Yeah, you noticed that too, hm?

JJ said...

I did some baking yesterday. The opposite to cold yeast not working is if you add too-hot water, they will die and not work.

At least the pizza dough came out all right.

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

Been there, done that. My starter explicitly says not to put it in the microwave.

I'm making rye bread this week. It might be interesting.