Following on from yesterday, I did indeed go down the rabbit hole investigation for sourdough starter. It’s really interesting and also very important in human history as it has provided since at least Egyptian times bread to eat. According to Wikipedia modern yeast as we know it didn’t come about until 1871. This seems melodramatic but sourdough starter has quite literally saved millions of lives during most of the course of human history by providing us with something to eat.
Wild yeast which is what creates the sourdough starter is everywhere. It’s on flowers, trees, plants, skin. It’s on every surface virtually we touch. It’s different from the commercial yeast we buy. Each molecule of wild yeast is different from the next. That’s why no two sourdough starters are alike. The artisan bakers all produce slightly different bread flavours. If you produced a starter now you’d have your own unique sourdough bread, no one else would be able to reproduce that exact same one.
Here’s an interesting piece of sourdough history from the BBC website: https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20220711-the-worlds-oldest-sourdough
GOLD RUSH SOURDOUGHS
Sourdough’s history can also be traced to the gold rushes of the 1800s in the western United States, Alaska and Canada. Miners were known to keep sourdough starters with them and would sleep with the starters at night to keep them warm for making bread the next day. Rumour had it that they even began to smell like their sour dough and were then nicknamed “sourdoughs” as a result.
However, whilst doing my research I came upon something even more interesting. Apparently the father of the Xbox Seamus Blackley is also a bit of an amateur baker and decided he would try and make bread from wild yeast molecules still stuck to ancient Egyptian pottery. Having a lot of money he rocked up to a couple of museums and purportedly managed to capture some wild yeast off the said pottery. He then created an ancient loaf of sourdough bread in his own custom made ancient Egyptian style bakery. I must admit that if was incredibly wealthy this is definitely something I would be in to trying.
So all in all I think sourdough is pretty interesting.
In woodland news today, my chonky finch Mr Chunk is looking more and more like a Godfather gang boss by the day. Definitely got the touch of Marlon Brando about him. He’s a very big boy and is clearly leader of the finches. His favourite food is lettuce believe it or not. I definitely had him down as a salad dodger but I was wrong.