From one extreme to the other, I go from a basic white straight to sourdough. James’s writing is so reassuring and clear that sourdough seems insurmountable. That’s the hope.
I have broken this post into two parts as the process is so lengthy. Call Part 1 The Starter, if you will.
Day 1: This seems quick and easy enough. Put some flour and water in a jar. Choose a ‘starter aid’. Peter has used raisins before so that’s what I go for. My first hurdle is: how many? James doesn’t tell you. One? The whole lot from one of Louis’s Sunmaid snack boxes? I go for 3. I don’t stir the mixture as it doesn’t say to, as opposed to the next stage where it does. Fingers crossed I leave the mixture for the allotted 24 hours.
Day 2: Except I don’t leave it for a full 24 hours. More like 20. I run out of patience. I add more water and flour and give is a ‘vigorous’ stir. There’s a bunch of flour stuck to the bottom of the jar from yesterday. Oops.
Day 3: I have a peek. There are a few tiny bubbles but not much is happening. Peter wafts the jar towards me and asks if it smells like beer. It doesn’t. This stage can take up to 72 hours so I’m not worrying.
Day 4: Oh hello. LOTS of bubbles. Smells a bit beery. I think we’re on.