Runaway Jane

We have been sheltering in place now for many weeks. I haven’t been able to bring myself around to write much about my family’s experience sheltering because it exhausts me. However, sheltering in place has definitely changed my family, my friends, and I’m pretty sure the whole damn world.

We are all doing things, trying things, that we’ve never tried before. This probably explains why it is very hard to find flour, rice, and toilet paper. Everyone is baking, cooking casseroles, and doing art projects with toilet paper rolls!

Some awesomely amazing friends of mine, Blind Broad and her hubby, are not immuned to this new phenomenon of trying new things. They started sourdough starter which they kindly shared with me.

I used to bake bread regularly enough for a working woman … LOL …. But, sourdough starter! Sounded like a fun challenge to take on. Also, if I’m going to eat bready things, (which I am trying to avoid for health reasons), I might as well eat homemade goodness. Right?

So, on April 6, 2020, we adopted a sourdough starter baby. But not so much a baby because she was mature enough thanks to her biological parents.

Sourdough starter and everything that goes with it is epic. Perfecting bread baking, timing and feeding of the starter … I mean, seriously, you can try and learn all you can and you can never know enough. It’s all about trial and error and having fun. But writing all of this is exhausting me because it … as I already said … is epic. In less than one month, I’ve dealt with starter that grew exponentially huge. I poured out some discard and shared it with another family. I’ve dealt with hooch. I’m not going to go into my reaction after opening the jar because you might have the same reaction. Also, I’ve dealt with chewy bread, discarding discard before I knew I could use it, and the list of experiences goes on, and on.

But let’s talk discard for a moment. After all, discard is the point of my post today. Discard and what to do with it is an art. You can make pancakes, waffles, cookies, pizza crust, and so much more with sourdough starter discard. when I learned this I got super excited because it is a bit heartbreaking to pour out starter. I was looking into the compost bin feeling wasteful and like a part of my sourdough baby had gone into infinity and beyond.

Now that I know one can use discard for many yummy things, I get a bit impatient. I just want to use the discard and make something delicious. Many recipes call for some length of wait time to get things going. Maybe, if I were home alone working without monkeys all over me and interruptions, I’d be more excited. I’ve only attempted chocolate chip cookies and crumpets with my discard because now … my new challenge is finding the perfect sourdough discard recipe that suits my current lifestyle. Hint, hint … this is code for my current level of patience.

The other day, I attempted these tasty crumpets. And there is a story to tell about this which is why I started writing.

Once upon a time, I had 20 ounces of starter. I poured 10 ounces off to make these pancakey things called crumpets. In my infinite wisdom, insert sarcasm dripping with cynasism, I didn’t quite do the math right and since I had 10 ounces of starter in my jar and it needed feeding, I accidentally now had 30 ounces of starter in a 32 ounce mason jar. I mean, I could have poured more starter out … but, I wasn’t exactly thinking and all of a sudden … so … much … starter!

The amount of starter I was going to end of with hit me all of a sudden while I was pouring the flour in.

Yikes!

What is a mom to do?

No seriously … what is a mom to do? It was 2:55 pm and one of my kids had a distance learning class at 3!

So I made a decision. I’d get back to it in 4 hours.

I couldn’t fry the crumpet things at that moment, and I knew my starter needed space to get bubbly, so I decided I’d attend to it all in about 4 hours. Mom had a lot to do in those 4 hours anyways; like distance learning with my preschooler, order groceries, participate in an online event for my coaching business, figure out some tech issues, and figure out dinner. Well … as busy moms know, sometimes you forget things. Especially out of sight, out of mind things.

About 9:30 at night, my childhood besty who is sheltering with us texted me. This was about 6.5 hours after feeding my starter.

“Your starter is escaping its jar,” she texted with this photo.

Sourdough starter spills out of a 32 oz mason jar. The starter is oozing down the jar in multiple streaks. Starter is accumulating on the countertop.

Needless to say, it was an ooey gooey experience to clean up. Handfuls of sstretchy starter got composted. For our safety … I’m not exagerating here … for our safety from the starter I had to pour off another 10 ounces of starter into the container that held the original 10 ounces of discard from earlier in the day. Apparently, happily active starter is kind of foamy, airy, stretchy, gooey, and many other things that would make any tactilely discerning folks squirm.

And this is how Runaway Jane was born.

She has given birth all over my kitchen counter. She’s produced hooch once. she’s grown faster than I could keep up with … thus … Runaway Jane. She’s my sourdough baby that likes to get all over the place and fast. Weirdly enough, she reminds me of a mix of my two youngest human babies.

Do you have sourdough starter at home? If so, does your sourdough starter baby have a name? I would love to hear it.

Signing off for now,

Bay aRea Blind Mom

P.S. The crumpets came out pretty okay. Better with butter and jelly toppings. and it takes some practice to fry up just right. Here is the recipe if you would like to try. Tell me how it goes.

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