I killed them both in one fell swoop.
Both were tragic deaths. Unfair. And sudden. And utterly inelegant. And I mourned them both privately and on Facebook.
I now maintain that it was a matter of simple cross-contamination -- yeast meets beast --but I spent weeks wondering about the untimely fate of both my sourdough starter (of 7+ years) and my kombucha scoby (which I'd maintained without fail since early last spring). I also acted quickly to find replacements.
The scoby was easy enough to replace, since I've given out quite a number of baby scobies to friends & neighbors all over town (and I seem to have developed a waiting list of others who are still awaiting the chance to own a 'booch baby of their own). But the sourdough...
Fortunately for me, R from Cakewalk was passionately working on one of her latest obsessions -- sourdough culture derived from the fermentation of grapes (a la Nancy Silverton). And she was kind enough to offer me a bit of her brand new starter.
It was gorgeous stuff -- smelling of yeast and ferment and the ever-so-slight perfume of grapes (or was that my consistently overactive imagination?). In any case, it was a wonder of a living food. And I couldn't wait to take it for a test drive.
Interestingly enough, Peef was craving foccacia. So, we planned a lovely casual weekend dinner of cheese, wine, fruit... and a lovely sourdough experiment.
The dough mixed together beautifully. I used a mixture of bread flour and a half and half blend of all purpose and white whole wheat flour. And I gave the loaf a nice long rise (nearly 8 hours total) -- to ensure that the wild yeast had an opportunity to thoroughly develop.
I watched the loaf in the oven as it slowly lifted -- as if levitating -- air flowing through every bubbly crevice. And, as a crust formed along the outer edges of the dough, I saw the bread take form and color beautifully.
It was love at first bite - which is exactly why I feel the need to share. If you can manage to get your hands on a bit of sourdough starter, you must try this recipe.
Sourdough focaccia with olives & rosemary
Oh! And before I forget -- stay tuned later this week as we write about our adventures with locally made spice blends... I don't think I'd be giving too much away if I suggested there might be a giveaway involved...
Want more? Read Lo's latest ruminations at FOODCrush, her Milwaukee Magazine blog.
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