Thursday, January 6, 2011
Making the starter sounded fairly simple. After all, I've made starters with whole wheat, spelt, and rye flour. I thought that the starter would be the easy part.
The problem was that I grew mold at about the same rate I grew "good" bubbles. So I scrapped a lot of starters. The bacteria and yeast in a starter should be able to ward off the stuff you don't want growing, and it wasn't working with the gluten free flours I was using.
After growing a lot of fur, I finally (I think) found a way to ward off the mold and encourage the good bacteria and yeast at the same time. So far so good.
But I'm still not happy with the starter. There's an odd odor to it. Not funky like a new rye starter, and not boozy or milky like a regular sourdough starter can get. The best way I can describe it is as a chemical odor. Not like the acetone smell of an unfed regular starter, but something else.
The result wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. The chemical smell mostly disappeared during baking, but there was still a tiny hint of it.
The texture wasn't wonderful, either. Not horrible, but not great. I'm not blaming the starter for that, though - I need to work on the recipe itself.
The really odd thing, though, is that the dough didn't want to brown. I made a pizza with the oven preheated at 550 degrees, and the crust barely browned after 12 minutes. It should have been done in seven or eight minutes. So that's another thing I need to work on.
This is definitely a work in progress, I've got plenty of ideas how to fix it.
I'll get there. Stay tuned.