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I’m Sorry, But, We’re Done

That’s right, Sourdough.  You and me? We’re done. Finito. Kaput.  No matter how much love I give you, you refuse to do your thing.  I had to bring in Janet into the situation for one-on-one consultations and STILL, you gave me grief.  Janet asked me what I had named you and I apologise; I had no idea.  So I gave you my favourite name:  Charlotte.  And what did you do? NOTHING.

But let me go to the beginning.  When I first decided to try my hand at sourdough – yeast having become more impossible to get than toilet paper – (and like every other Tom, Dick and Harry during the great Sit-In – so unoriginal and such a follower, am I) I followed Janet’s instructions to the letter. 50g flour, 50 g water (filtered), mix, set aside, covered, room temp. Days 5, 7, 9, I did the 50g sour, 50g flour, 50g water – keeping the discard for future waffles (which were rather good, I might add).

Days 10, 11, 12, I left you alone.  When I uncovered you, your stink made me recoil.  “It should smell pleasantly like cheesy beer.”  Ummmm. No… this was closer to vomit.  I threw you out.  Oh wait… this would not be YOU, you.  But let’s call him/her your late cousin, who shall remain nameless as well, I didn’t know.  Plus there was an orange tint to it so, I took no chances. Of course, once I posted my failure on FB, everyone who could chimed in with a NOOO don’t chuck it!  Too late. NEXT!

We decide, Janet and I, to start fresh and do a double-feed per day for three days and then bake.  Let’s see…  You looked nice

So I did my kneading (stretch, pull over, eight “corners”) every half-hour for three hours.  Followed the video, EXACTLY, the bowls, the cloth, the flour.  I was not impressed with the rise at all. But I went with it anyhoo. My boules looked nice though not huge. (Haha! I wish!)  Used my special Dutch oven, preheated, baked and… phooey.

“Looks acidified,” says Janet.  Well hell and damnation.  The crust was nice, as you can see but the crumb?  To the bin with ya.

We start over.

We do the double feed, for three days to speed up the process with the intention of trying just one loaf.  At one point Janet said you looked cold, Charlotte,

so I gave you the oven with the light on.  Barely a bubble.  We tried all sorts of feedings. Nothing.  I left you alone for a few days, figuring you were in a mood.  All you gave me was a thin crust of hardened – something.  I think my oven lights are too hot.  Skimmed off the goo. Oh! But you did smell wonderful and guess what?  Yeah. You made FABULOUS pancakes.

Will I ever try this sourdough thing again?  Maybe. I dunno that I have the patience for this type of endeavour, to tell the truth.  Ironically, I was on Twitter when I caught Lesley Chesterman’s tweet (she was a food critic for the Montreal Gazette):  “I think I’m ready to break up with my sourdough starter. Too moody, too needy, too high-maintenance, sure to let me down in the end. And a bit stinky.”  Yep. Pretty much covers my feelings.

Nota bene (or post scriptum):  Since last Monday… I have yeast, so…

****

Running Diary

For those of you who ready my post where I shared my new “love” of running… ok, ok… I don’t love it. Yet. I thought I’d bring you up to date on the last two.

Saturday was a gorgeous day and there were way too many people out.  Some were being good, some, not so much but all of them I kept my distance from. That said, off I went, enthusiastically, for my 10 X 2/2.   I made it all the way to the park where I discovered a beautiful field of flowers last year. By the looks of it, there will be more this year – Yay! Plus I ran into a couple from the golf club – chit chatted for 30 seconds, luckily during my walk part. Soon as the bell rang, I was off.

On my way back I was feeling like there was no way in hell I would complete my ten sets.  I fudged a little on the times, cutting the run parts twice by 10-15 seconds in an attempt to catch my breath.  By the time I was just past my Willow the guilt set in so I added a rep and a half to make up.  I was glad it was over.

Today was another story. Like a recalcitrant child who doesn’t want to go to bed, I dug my heels into the entry rug.  It was cold outside with a light wind and rain was threatening. Really? Do I have to? I don’t know what force pushed me out the door but it worked.  And you are right, B… nothing more satisfactory than pushing yourself to do that thing you don’t feel like.  Not only did I do my ten sets, but after the first two, I felt I could actually control my breath.  And then, after walking for four minutes, I thought… why not? And I added three more!  Woot!  My knee felt a slight twinge just as I finished the third so I made sure my stretching session was properly done.  Extremely pleased with myself today.  Oh, and, following a discussion with Monika over at Tails Around the Ranch, about her lack of belief there is anything good about running (my former belief, as well), and did I ever notice that runners never smile?  Well, guess what Monika!  I kept thinking about you and put a smile on my face every time I heard the alarm that yet another set was completed 😀

Itty-bitty magnolia

 

 

 

104 thoughts on “I’m Sorry, But, We’re Done

  1. Oh, poor doomed Charlotte! And poor Dale the stewardess-of-starter! I think some goblin mischief might’ve been at play (I would not tell them goblins about waffles and pancakes, if I were you, because you don’t want to give them no idea about THAT!). Love the running diary and the running commentary of the runny starter … (sorry, couldn’t help it).
    Please keep the diary going! This was delightful.
    I’d send you yeast — I have plenty … but I think the closed the US/Canada border to all living things. Can we claim my yeast as an essential worker and have it be allowed through? Are US micro organisms allowed entry to Canadian territory these days? Can we give them a Y-Visa?
    XOXO
    Your New York Nutcase Friend

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! Don’t give up yet.

    I have never been able to successfully create my own starter. Instead, the last two starters have been from packaged starter sold by a bakery in San Francisco. The package contains some dry ingredients. The first time I used it, it did okay, until the jar I kept it in got moldy. The second time, it did okay as well and I’ve made sure to keep the jar as clean as possible to avoid the mold growth.

    For a few years, the sourdough was a struggle even with the starter doing okay. It’s probably because I didn’t use it very often. But with the two months of pandemic isolation, I’ve used it a lot more in the last couple of months, and the results are much better.

    Based on your picture, I have some suggestions if you decide to try it again. It looks and sounds like you’re using a recipe that results in a pretty wet dough. Which is why the interior of the bread is as doughy as it is. So, don’t be afraid to add more flour and treat it the way you would regular bread. Skip the wet dough routine with the corners and the folding. Just add flour and knead it the normal way. Alternatively, there may be another, easy solution. Just bake it longer. As I’ve told several people in the last week or two — with sourdough and other artisan breads, once it looks like it’s done, leave it in for at least another 5-10 minutes.

    The other issue is that it isn’t rising … instead it’s spreading. I’ve had this problem whenever I’ve made sourdough in long loaf form. I refer to it as sourdough ciabatta. But it’s just not that good. So, I always make my sourdough in round loaf form now. I form the dough balls, tightening the “skin” so that it helps the ball keep it’s shape, while it’s rising and while it’s baking. At least that’s my theory anyway. When I’ve baked it in the round form, it rises instead of spreading.

    As for your running diary … glad to hear you’re still at it and staying within yourself. B is absolutely right. The absolute best runs are the ones you go on even when you didn’t want to. Yesterday, I ran a couple of errands in the morning and was driving home a little bit before 11:30. I just felt so tired, all I wanted to do was curl up and take a nap. But instead, I went for a run – my new slow jog routine to try to save my knee – and it felt so good to have done that instead of hibernating.

    Today, I did the same thing. Got a couple of things done around the house and then a little after 11:30 went for a run of a little over 3 miles. Instead of succumbing to the fatigue.

    Keep it up, young lady.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha! I was half-expecting you to chime in here 😉

      Now that you mention it, way back when, Janet was supposed to send me some of her dried starter. She wanted to gift me a cookbook… maybe I’ll ask for her starter 😉

      It’s high maintenance, that’s for sure.

      Honestly, watching Janet’s video, I was on the ball… but the darn thing just didn’t lift. Maybe I should have abused it more 😉

      And I DID form nice tight boules. And put one in my Dutch oven, the other in a Pyrex dish – not in a form per se.

      As for the running. Oy. Think I’ll ever learn to love it? Today I came close to not disliking it which is a big step up from loath, don’t you think? I am making sure I don’t run two days in a row. I can feel my knee twinging just enough to keep me in check. Slow jog is the only way I can keep this going. So good for you for kicking your own self in the pants!

      I’m gonna do my best, young man!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t love running, never have and never will. But yes, I’ve grown to not dislike it. It remains the simplest form of exercise and I’ll do it as long as I can.

        As for the sourdough … I think there are two fixes: (1) as I already said, skip the wet dough routine; and (2) keep refreshing the starter and make sure you give the dough plenty of rise time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kindred spirit!! And yeah. Sometimes I just don’t feel like dancing in my living room. I have no bicycle (must rectify eventually).

          Well… maybe I’ll try again….

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Good for you Dale! The only time I baked bread was with one of those auto bread makers. It was still good though. Your bread looks yummy. Fine work on the walking too. I’ve been hating down on the job, long hours. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. This one went into the garbage. Actually, was already in the garbage when Janet asked for a pic 😉 The loaves I made a few weeks ago were lovely – but made with yeast… which I have since found so I don’t think I’m gonna stress over this sourdough thing.
      I’m now in desperate search for a job as my help has been cut off. I’m hoping to be able to reach the government to have me put back on but eeesh…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Poor Charlotte. Then again, I’ve never been good with sourdough precisely because it’s so high maintenance. Even when it was working, it was a chore. This was years ago, and I turned over the whole mess of it to my husband who, it turns out, really likes baking. He got sick of it, too, in spite of making some really good bread. I don’t think he ever named his (or if he did, he didn’t mention it). A friend who has had her sourdough going for a couple of years named it Maude. I admire her breads and pizza doughs, but not enough to try it again. I think M is experimenting with it again now that yeast is hard to come by. He had some blob-like thing sitting on the deck yesterday (trying to catch the wild yeast, he said).

    I’ve obviously missed some posts. I didn’t realize you are running. I’ve always wanted to be able to run. Well done and I hope it continues to go well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • May she rest in peace… She was delicious in the pancakes. Honestly, I don’t have the patience for this endeavour and now that I have found yeast, don’t feel the need to master it, quite frankly. I know people who have had theirs for years and years.
      I love that M is trying again! Blob-like thing… hahaha!

      Yes, It’s a new thing I am attempting to get my cardio up. Thank you, Robin. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, you gave the sourdough a try, which is more than I’ve done. It always seemed like way too much work to me–and the need to constantly keep it going? No. Of course, I’m still waiting for yeast for just the normal amount of bread baking I do.
    Congratulations on the running progress!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I gave it the “ole college try” and can say I did. And that’s good enough for me. I was beyond pleased when I found a large 450 g (almost a pound) of instant yeast at my veggie store. I am not going to play Miss Difficult when it comes to instant vs traditional, and called my mother and sister to see if they wanted some. My pizza was fabulous as a result 😉
      And thanks.. I just might get into this running thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I thank you, Monika. I feel no need to conquer this particular mountain.
      And I forgot to mention in my running update that, with you in mind, I put a smile on my face for most of my run 😉 Actually, I think Imma go add it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

        • Honestly, yesterday was the first time I could actually regain my “composure” during my walk time and my huffing and puffing was reduced greatly. I’m still in shock over the whole thing 😉 And.. I tagged on a li’l something regarding this!

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel your sourdough pain. The whole “too needy” bit, especially. I’ve got dogs and a husband for that! And I tried the whole wet dough process and baking in a Dutch oven (how I got that 2nd degree burn I mentioned before).

    Congratulations on giving running a try. I never could get into it, though I will walk forever and ever. I managed to get myself through a 10k one time and then I retired.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s ridiculous. I got dog, cat, adult boys… Who needs the extra grief? I made two lovely loaves with yeast that took a total of 2 hours from beginning to end. I like that!

      Thanks. I walk and walk and walk but needed to get the heart pumping a bit more. 10k? Way to go! Not even gonna attempt it!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Dale,

    Glad you could run with smile on your face. I smiled at the image. RIP Charlotte, you byatch. I still haven’t gotten my ingredients together to try to make my gluten free chollah. Other things keep distracting me.
    Had a lovely long long walk this morning. A bit windy but sunny and warmish.

    Shalom and lotsa self-rising hugs,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle,

      I did manage to! Especially every time I heard the beep of the end of the set 😉
      When you really feel like making it, you’ll go looking for the ingredients.
      Glad you got a walk in. It was bloody cold here.

      Shalom and lotsa smiling love,

      Dale

      Like

  8. Q

    I had such a horrible experience with sourdough just last week! I went to the grocery store and could not find a single loaf of the stuff even though I was totally craving it. How sucky is THAT? Oh. Oh . . wait. You mean MAKING sourdough . . . like, from scratch. Oooooh. Yeah, no. Not for me. LOL.

    As for your love/not love of running, hey it’s still running right? And you’re doing it! And yes, that feeling that you get when you set a goal for yourself and then you get there and go . . fuck it, Imma step things up for a tad. Yeah, that feeling is just so good. And then you have those runs where your mind is like Nah, and your body’s like Ya! And you get to the end of it and go, this right here. This is why I run.

    Love your tale of two cities, 😉

    B

    Liked by 1 person

    • B,

      I know you did, you poor guy. And I’m taking the blame for you even desiring the stuff in the first place! No? You don’t have the patience to make the stuff? Who’d a thunk? Me? It’s a surprise I even tried… You are much more mellow than I…

      It IS still running. I haven’t dared (yet) to go two days in a row – let’s not push it, eh? And yeah… when everything seems to be working right? Hells yeah. I almost felt big joy yesterday. When I realised that NOT ONCE did I look at my timer for every set. Except when I tagged on 15 seconds coz I ran into a golf club member during the run but didn’t want to be rude so I stopped to say hey… I had to make up for it during the walk 😉 I’ve got to find my arm band to hold my phone because yesterday, as it was cool, I wore a jacket with pockets. Helps to not look at the phone if it’s not in your hand. And I need it for my interval bells… (Yanno. maybe one day I’ll go out and run for 30 minutes straight. Who knows?)

      Glad you did! Figured no one would mind my little addition…

      Q

      Liked by 1 person

      • When I think about making something like that, I can hear the old Elton John song . . . “It’s a little bit funny, this feeling insiiiiide . . I’m trying to make this but I . . just want to hiiiiidde”. Okay, never mind, LOL

        No, no need to push it. Running every other day is perfect. There was a time in my thirties where I ran every day one summer. It was a goal I set and sure, it was cool to do it. But really, it requires more discipline to skip a day and then get back to it.

        Without my FitBit, I can, almost to the minute, “count” my time by the route I take. It’s kind of cool to be in that place.

        Yeah, do yourself a favor once you’ve been doing it a while longer. Pick a route and just run, no looking. Just immerse yourself in the run and nothing else. You will feel it.

        You will. You’ll be there.

        Love. It.

        Liked by 1 person

        • How about sit back, relax and wait… maybe you’ll get lucky and someone will make it for ya.

          No. I don’t feel the need to push it. I’m already starting to feel the benefits. The joints have been abused with all the sports I did so, I don’t feel the need to shorten their life span.

          You’ve been doing this for a good while.

          I like to think I’ll get to that point. For now the beeps of the next set are what push me to keep on going… I don’t hear it, I keep going…

          I’m actually looking forward to saying I went and did xxx number of minutes.

          Sweet.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yanno . . that’s my preferred method of baking. How’d you guess?

            You’ll only feel more enriched by it, and pushing to the ‘extremes’ is something we can look fondly upon in the rear view now. No need for that. The misconception is that the extremes are a place to be, which is nonsense unless you’re a pro athlete.

            I’ve been running since my mid twenties I guess? I learned to ski in my mid twenties and then I took up running shortly thereafter and actually was in the best shape of my life after having gotten fat, literally. Never looked back.

            That’s how to work it. Keep your inner dialogue to a minimum, which takes time. And just go. Immerse.

            You’re already there! And building. So good!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Why am I not surprised…

            I know I am so not feeling competitive whatsoever and feel no need for extremes – those days are in the past. Now? I just want to be as fit as I can be so that my golden years are not spent bent over a walker.

            I can’t picture you fat. But I am glad you found what worked for you. It’s funny, I’ve tried running off and on over the years, This is the first time I’ve stuck to it in such a way that I can.

            I can say that yesterday the inner dialogue was minimal. First two sets to get me going – why are they so hard? And the last two of “just two left, then just one left”… I added three with a “Go for it. You can stop if you want because you did what you planned…”

            You are the best cheerleader, yanno that?

            Liked by 1 person

          • I often thought that if I make it to 70, Imma start smoking and drinking copiously, because why eat apple sauce at the point? I mean, really? But not smoking has allowed me to see how much I don’t miss it. An occasional dip in the pool? Mayhaps? But day to day? Nah.

            I went from 240 pound to 185. Before settling into my agreeable terms. Yeah, I was miserable, because not only was I overweight but I WAS smoking too. Thank goodness for skiiing and then running.

            When I run, I try to keep my thoughts spare. Thinking about something to write can work against me, so I don’t do it.

            Gimme a D! Gimme an A! Gimme an L! Gimme an E! What does it spell?!!!

            Ace kicker!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Make it to 70? Why such a small number? I plan on still being vibrant at alive. You better keep up 😉

            Wow… Kudos to you for turning your life around, is all I can say. The highest I went up was 180 and that freaked the shit out of me. Doesn’t help that I carried it everywhere so no one believed I was that heavy. Hell… I am STILL 20 pounds over what I want to be but no one thinks so. I know.

            That’s a great idea. I am working on that. Trying not to need that ping of the next interval. I imagine that will change as I am able to increase the run time.

            Rah Rah Rah! Told you, you are the best!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Baby steps . . .

            I was miserable and it should have told me lots, about a lot of thing. But you live and learn and really, once I got past the “I’ve gotta be cut!” phase, I was good. Yeah, there was a time after that where I had to be in better shape than ever. It was obsessive. Running every day. Diet. Everything. It was lunacy.

            Too much thinking, for yours truly, equals deep end diving without a diving board.

            Rah! Rah!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yes.

            I believe you. But sometimes we are so stuck in that misery we don’t see the way out. I guess it’s that whole rock bottom thing. Something has to happen to snap us out of it. Then the going to extremes… Eeesh. Being “cut” takes way more effort than either one of us should want to make. I say staying healthy is good enough.

            Yes. I know. That’s why I come ’round after I feel you’ve gone deep enough 😚

            Liked by 1 person

          • I was in Chicago when I realized how big I had gotten. I lied to myself, saying I wasn’t that bad. And then I passed by this department store window and saw my profile and was like WTBF!! And that was that. I went home and lost a shit ton of weight. Yeah, being cut is not for everybody. Namely.Me.

            It’s a matter of teaching yourself to float when your brain wants you to swim with the under current.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Funny how that happens. Not the having to buy bigger clothes, not the internal talk… a reflection at the right time. Being cut is highly overrated. Besides, they did a very scientific test on a beach asking young babes what they preferred – cut bod or dad bod… guess what won?

            Yes. It is.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I know! Why????? But hey, the great thing is that it happened before I ran into any health related problems. Or, check that. It made the health related problems I DID eventually run into easier to overcome seeing as how I was in better shape to deal with them.

            Dad Bod, I know. I think it’s funny.

            Mmm Hmmm

            Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t know why. The important thing is it eventually does. For some. It doesn’t for others which means an early death – as we have seen with so many obese comedians.
            I am just glad you found your rhythm.

            Dad bod. Because even the young chicas realise it is way too much work to maintain so those cut guys ain’t gonna take care of ’em!

            Yeah.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I guess the idea of fading away is not something the great ones care to do. It’s all in how the person takes it, of course. Some age gracefully while others refuse to admit they have to age at all. And so they don’t.

            Me too. It was going to be an early finish otherwise. My grandfather- real one- had died before fifty. And my father kept himself going on pills, which I wouldn’t do. So I figured, who cares?

            The young chicas shouldn’t be so stressed about ANY kind of looks.

            😉

            Like

  9. Oh, good for you on the running! Not easy but the endorphins are worth it. And you have far more patience than I do on the bread front, my friend. Kudos to you for sticking with it this long!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kristine… As I am about to go for today’s run… hoping it goes as well as it did on Monday!
      Patience? What patience… that puppy is dead and gone! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

        • I’m glad I did! I just came back from today’s and would like to know when I will find it easier! 😉 Actually, today went rather well. I decided to tack on four more sets (did 3.5). THEN I walked Zeke on legs completely filled with lead…
          Take it slow!

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Well, all I can say is, I admire your persistence and patience! I’d have given up from scratch! 😉 Then again, the word ‘wait’ is excluded from my ‘cooking’ vocabulary! 😂🤣😂🤣😂 xoxoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My sourdough journey parallels yours. I too threw out the starter and then was told, Don’t do it! Too late.

    And, my boules look nice. My bread… well that’s another story I’ve begun again today. Starter out of fridge where he’s been hibernating for a week… His name is Harry — because he truly is the anit-hero of my baking odyssey. And I fear, I fear it may be a cold day in hell before I find the courage to say to him, “Go ahead. Make my day” before I shoot him. That’s of course, if he doesn’t get me first.

    Like

    • I love it, Louise!

      I know I shall return and try but I thought it best to give it a rest, for now. I love that you named it Harry (how did you know you were supposed to?)
      I am laughing so much right now… g’head, say it!!

      Like

  12. Right on, Dale!… about the running, not the bread. ⚡️💥
    The bread, I actually feel sour about it all, so good writing!
    I got out on Wed. for my 1st decent walk, since March 28. I don’t call 1/2 hour a walk. 3 – 4 hours is a walk.
    Unfortunately, there’s way too, many homeless around here, so I stay in more.
    On the street I live, about 10 blocks up, there’s a new tent city. Some tents are blankets. Must be 25 homes there.

    Liked by 1 person

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