Home is hopefully not where the sourdough starter is

Day 4

Got home from Russian tutoring. Smelled sourdough starter. IT KIND OF SMELLS LIKE SOURDOUGH!!!!!!!!! Am deeply excited. Also pleased that it is still bubbly and that I did not murder it by dumping most of it down the drain.

Dumped half of it down the drain, again. (I never learn.) Added one ounce of flour—or rather, 1.13 ounces—and 1.66 ounces of water, because I did not realize how heavy water is. (It was like 50 mL which is a very small amount.)

I have stirred it and put its pot-holder hat on it. Good night.

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Look at the bubbles and just ignore absolutely everything else about this

 

Day 5

We are all in the exact same situation that we were in yesterday. The sourdough starter, who I think should have a name, has gotten some new interesting yeast (I’m guessing; I don’t know what it does all day), and I have not done anything worth noting.

 

Day 6

I think it’s dead.

 

Day 7

It looked very sad and not bubbly when I woke up. I gave it some more food and put it on the kitchen table, which it seemed to like better than the counter. The internet says it is probably not dead, but just slow and tired.

 

Day 8

I left it alone for 1.5 days while I went home for Passover. There has been no change. I think it might be too cold—my apartment doesn’t have heat anymore because it’s “spring.” So I made it a nice little nest next to my router and modem, because they are warm.

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Day 9

IT IS FREEZING IN HERE. It is snowing out but the heat is not on because it’s April. The sourdough and I are both very sad. I have put it in the oven and turned the light on, because that will make it nice and toasty in there but will not kill it. (It will waste an enormous amount of electricity, though.) In fact, I just stuck my head in to check on it and feed it and wished to curl up and go to sleep there. But in a very normal, mentally healthy way [ha ha like i know anything about that].

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(The glow in the corner is the oven light.)

 

Day 10

😥

 

Day 11

There is heat again in my apartment, and THE STARTER IS ALIVE AGAIN!!! This has been an emotional rollercoaster. I still do not trust it, though, and it does not trust me. Thus its constant dying.

 

Day I have absolutely no fucking clue

I have put it in the fridge, where it will wait until I am able to deal with it.

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SOOUUUURRRDOOOUUUGHHHHHH

This post is approximately one hundred years in the making, i.e., I’ve been thinking about and putting off making sourdough for roughly one hundred years. HOWEVER, I’m writing a story where the protagonist basically is having a mental breakdown and makes a lot of bread (which is obviously autobiographical, but she’s more advanced than me and makes sourdough, so I figured I would have to learn so as not to let her get ahead of me) (and also so I can see if the story makes any sense). I’ve been working on this story for almost a year and I’m SO tired of it (I’m on draft 6.2, per my numbering system) and I’m hoping that the sourdough experiment will somehow push it into being finished.

So I got this brilliant idea at the library during writing group, and then I got home and started preparing, and then realized that Passover starts on Friday. But I think the starter itself will be ready right around Friday, so then I can put it in the fridge (where it will enter a state of suspended animation) and revive it after Passover ends (much like happened to Khan, but hopefully the starter will be less distressed/violent). And then I can have sourdough to break Passover. It will be very exciting.

I am starting with Phickle’s sourdough starter tutorial; it’s based on Tartine Bakery‘s book (link courtesy of my neighborhood independent bookstore!), and thus should be good. It looks easy to follow, thus its appeal (and it was the first thing I found). If anything goes terribly wrong I’ll consult Breadtopia, which is a very soothing and lovely site.

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Everything is going exactly according to plan, no issues here whatsoever.

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THE MTA SUCKS pineapple

Wow, I am super not in the mood for this. I was trying to get over writer’s block by writing some nonsense here but I already don’t feel like listening to myself. Oh well I already took all the #relativelyshitty photos (that was self-deprecating in a charming way, but actually they are not good photos) so I have to write. Please send me a story idea and I will write it.

I went to the supermarket, as usual, and I was very cranky when I got there because I was hungry, and the supermarket was entirely full of couples fighting and children having mental breakdowns, so I joined them and also had a mental breakdown. This was brought on mostly by walking back and forth several times trying to find barley, and then it was where I thought it was all along. Then I spent 400 hours trying to decide what ice cream to get, and trying to find feta cheese. Long story short, I bought a pineapple.

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If you brought me diamonds, if you brought me pearls, if you brought me roses like some other gents might bring to other girls, it couldn’t please me more than the gift I see—a pineapple for me.

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Friday night catless rye bread

Good day! I am back in America and back in my normal life after a three-year break. So I am also returning to my tendency to buy expensive ingredients and cook difficult things out of boredom and a vague, undefined, unimportant loneliness. And because I only just want to write, but I am not settled enough–feeling in my apartment to write, but this is almost like writing. Also, I do not have a cat, because certain parents who will remain unnamed did not want to give me their cat, even though I gave them my cat (HAHA I just tried to write a closing italics tag in HTML but actually wrote < /cat> which is very funny and also what happened to Fitzpatrick) so there’s only going to be bad food pictures in this post.

This is a three-day weekend and I forgot that you have to make three days’ worth of plans for such things, so I made like maybe 1.5 days’ worth of plans, which would be fine if you were in Russia because you could go to your Russian single-combat private lessons or watch propaganda and learn about “the Ukraine” or just daydream about being in Russia. But here I haven’t figured out what to do with myself yet, so I am returning to old habits. And bread takes forever to make (and at the end you get bread). Continue reading

New year new country new coffee

Hello from Kyrgyzstan! I have been here for almost a week and am like on the verge of beginning to attain normalcy here. ALMOST. Beginning.

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In the vicinity of Ala-Too Square (the main square in Bishkek)

In the course of my explorations today I went to a new grocery store and was deeply delighted to find that they had my favorite instant coffee. Yes, this is the previously untold end of the saga of the instant coffee taste test: I won. I am actually slightly embarrassed by this. Not only did i find an instant coffee I kind of liked, after almost a year of drinking it I have turned into some sort of horrible instant coffee lover. An instant coffee lover who is horrible, that is; not a lover of horrible instant coffee. I love only the finest instant coffee. I will maintain (with deep shame) until my dying breath that this one is actually good. Continue reading

BAGELS WHAT WHAT WHAT *INCOHERENT BABBLING*

IT IS HAPPENING.

BAGEL TIME.

AHHHHHHHHHH.

Since three people read this blog and they all know that I moved to Glasgow for grad school, I will not update you about how I moved to Glasgow for grad school. But I did. And THEY DON’T HAVE BAGELS HERE. They have most other things that are necessary, but I am, for lack of bagel, starting to become a small, weak, WASPy white-bread of a former human being. So this shit is happening.

me: should i make bagels
Jeff:  Absolutley.
Absolutely
why haven’t you started
me:  because of fear and also because the kitchen is cold and smells weird
OK I’M GONNA DO IT
Sent at 6:54 PM on Friday
me:  it’s happening AND I AM GOING TO BLOG IT.
Jeff:  “the relatively Jewish cook”

I am watching Master Chef Australia. It is Friday night, and I feel pretty good about that. Oh no, Master Chef Australia just stopped working. Pause. Never mind, it’s back. Anyway. I measured warm (???) water, barley malt (which I actually HAD IN MY POSSESSION ALREADY because the spirit of bagel is strong within me), yeast, and salt with my beautiful kitchen scale that came from home with me.

Bagelmaking commences. Master Chef Australia in background.

Bagelmaking commences. Master Chef Australia in background.

And it’s in my one and only pot (not even a bowl) because I just like didn’t buy cooking supplies when I moved here. And then I measured in the bread flour, and then I mixed it with my pink wooden spoon that is falling apart such that bits of things get stuck inside it and it’s disgusting. And now the dough is resting. Now it’s time to knead. Hold on.

Jeff: Oh, it would be very hard to deal with the shame of making bagels in front of 82 invisible people.

You will regret reading this. It’s disgusting.

A few notes on this post (ugh, this already sounds like a work e-mail):

  1. If you don’t like it, you may blame Fig’s aunt. (I won’t link to her in case that’s weird.) She requested a new post. I was going to write one anyway, but then I started to feel gross, so I changed my mind, but then I changed it back again.
  2. There is a very small chance I am dying. If you don’t hear from me in a week, you may assume I am dead and move on to greener blog pastures.
  3. Everything you are about to read is gross and unpleasant, and will involve conversations with things and creatures that cannot speak in reality. (Update: I was going to relate a conversation with Fitzpatrick, but I won’t bother. It was even weirder than the rest of all this.)

A straggly band of loners. The roots of tomato disease are already visible.

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