Say hello to Herman…

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Herman, my first sourdough starter.  He has been entrusted into my care as part of a German friendship cake recipe which was passed on by one of my colleagues from our London office.  The photo below was taken just after he arrived yesterday morning from the Big Smoke.

For those who aren’t familiar with sourdough, the starter (i.e. Herman) is combined with a bread dough to create a loaf with a slightly sour or tangy taste. The starter consists of a small amount of dough from an old batch (in this case dough from my colleague in London)  and is fed with flour and water at regular intervals to keep the yeast culture alive.  While alive, the starter produces bubbles.  If the bubbles stop, Herman will be no more! Because a starter will happily exist if fed and kept at room temperature, many bakeries have kept their sourdough starters going for years.  A different fate is in store for Herman, however!

As temporary keeper of Herman, I have to give him a good stir every day and feed him with flour, sugar and water on the fourth day of our time together.  On the ninth day, I have to feed him again and then divide him into five portions.  Four portions will be passed on to friends with a copy of his care instructions and I will then make the fifth portion into a sourdough cake.

I’ve certainly tried sourdough bread before but I’m not entirely familiar with sourdough cake.  The cake that my colleague from London made got mixed reviews so I may be venturing onto Google to find a different recipe.  Here’s hoping I’m able to keep Herman alive until then!  I’ll keep you updated on his progress.

If anyone would like to adopt a portion of Herman in 10 days time, let me know! I wouldn’t want him to come all the way up from London for nothing!

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