Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sourdough Bread

Just the mention of Sourdough Bread conjures up memories that take me back to 1986 when I began to make it for our little family. Hannah Beth was six months old when I got the ‘starter’ for the yummy bread. Wish I could remember for sure, but it came from either my friend, Ninkey McCarty, or from my mother-in-law. Either way, for all these years, I’ve kept Sourdough Starter in my refrigerator.

You’re supposed to ‘feed’ the starter every week, then use one cup of it to make a batch of bread and refrigerate the rest. The ‘feeding’ is warm water, sugar, and instant potato flakes. I’d say that if you took a swig of the mixture you’d get a little tipsy!

About ten years ago I stopped making bread, but would feed the starter periodically just in case I decided to resume the wonderful habit of serving that homemade yumminess.

One time a friend told me that I shouldn’t store the starter with a lid on it, but instead should put a paper towel over it while it’s in the refrigerator so it can 'breathe.' I'd never heard that before but tried it anyway. Well, that didn’t work out too well because I forgot about it and it dried up in the bottom of the jar. Oh no! Now I’ll have to start all over and that was from my original 1986 starter!!! I started over. But to make sure it was still from my original starter, I scraped the dried stuff from the jar (that sounds disgusting but it isn’t) and put it into the new batch. Hence, I basically still have the original!

While cleaning out and reorganizing my cupboards last week, I found an ingredient that might be helpful in getting my starter active again. Moonshine. 

Now before you get all upset with this preacher’s wife for having homemade moonshine in the house, let me explain...
Three years ago when we moved from Alcoa to Cleveland, Tennessee we were given a gift. It was a little pint jar of Moonshine. The bearer of the gift makes it in his garage. I didn’t know what we’d do with it, so shoved it in the cupboard when we moved. I’d pull it out whenever I cleaned but always put it back........WAY in the back!

See? That isn’t so awful, now is it? Do you use Nyquil? Or cough syrup? Is that the same difference? Just sayin’.

Back to the bread starter...
I pulled the starter from our fridge, stirred two tablespoons of moonshine into it and put it back in the fridge. Yesterday, I fed the starter like usual, but I put some yeast in the warm water, thinking it’d give a little kick to make it active again. (like the moonshine wasn’t kick enough!!)

This morning I went into the kitchen and saw that my starter was ready for use (it fizzes and kind of moves around in the jar) so I made a batch of bread. It remains to be seen if things turn out the way they used to, but it gives me a smile to think I’m still using basically the same starter from 29 years ago!

If it doesn’t work, I’m out of luck because I threw away the rest of the Kickapoo Joy Juice (aka moonshine)!

P.S. If this turns out well, in my next blog I’ll post the recipes for original starter and the bread.

Remember, if you have a pulse, you have a purpose…so make your life count!

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