Anna: This is our sourdough. It's just a baby sourdough right now, at only three day's old. It's a tiny one, too. Just big enough to have room to expand in an old POM juice jar.
It's been a long time since we've had a sourdough in the house. They need tending and care, and sometimes they go bad and can only be thrown out. My husband and I still talk fondly about our first sourdough, made when our eldest daughter was just a toddler. I'd found a book, called Alaska Sourdough. It was a great read, with plenty of stories and history to go with the hand written recipes. The starter used potato water (which was an actual potato cooked and mashed in its water, not just water potatoes were cooked in), and we gave it a try. It said in the book that the sourdough could be used at 3 days, but it was better to wait a week. Well, we were eager to give it a go, so I made up a flapjack recipe from the book. Holy Moly! Talk about strong! They had an almost alcoholic flavour to them, and eating them felt a lot like drinking cognac. Those things would sure put hair on your chest! They were delicious, though we did wait until the week was up before trying again. *L*
We kept that sourdough in a large Tupperware Thatsa Bowl, and used it frequently. Breads, cakes, pancakes, muffins - there were so many things made better with that sourdough.
We kept it alive and thriving for almost 2 years. By then, we'd moved from BC back to Manitoba. We had moved into a house we rented from one of my brothers, and it wasn't unusual for him to crash at our place if he was working very late. When he did, he usually brought along some of his own foods or drinks - like coffee, as we never had any in the house. One time, he'd left something wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge. I never looked into it to see what it was, since it was his and I won't go into other people's stuff.
The following weekend, we were invited to stay over at my in-laws. At the same time, my mother was in the city to take in a weekend event. So she was going to stay over at our place while we were gone. The first morning there, she made herself some tea, then went looking into the fridge to see what there was to go with it. She saw the bag, looked inside, and found some donuts. She started to have one with her tea when she discovered they were moldy. She was, understandably, disgusted and threw them away.
Later on, however, she looked under the lid of a large bowl we kept on the counter. Well, if you've ever had a sourdough, you know that they can have a distinctive and powerful smell. They also bubble and froth, then dry along the sides as they recede from the newest feeding. My mother thought it was something else that had gone bad. When we got home, we found she'd filled it full of water to soak away the dried stuff, but hadn't thrown it out yet. It was unsalvageable.
Sadly, we've never been able to duplicate the success of that first sourdough. We've tried the same recipe again. We've tried other versions. We've yet to have one that lasted more than a few months.
Perhaps this baby will make it. :-D