Bread & Virtual pets

I don't remember when this phenomenon occurred (middle school? Dare I say high school?), but I remember a time in my life dedicated to my Tamagotchi pet. My life revolved around hourly feedings and cleaning up its poo. At school, we couldn't wait for break so that we could wake it up and take care of it. Just like any good parent, the challenge was to see how long I could keep it alive. But when it got old after awhile, the challenge became to see how fast you could kill it. I remember my brother and I got a set that we would have to raise and train to fight each other. Then we would put our little guys together and they would fight to the death. As always, my brother always won.

(note: I found this picture on someone's "tamagotchi collection" website. They had one in every color. Haha!)

I found myself thinking of my Tamagotchi pet this past week. I began a sourdough starter. To those of you who do not know what a sourdough starter is (like me one week ago), it is the secret to making bread have that yummy sourdough taste. It begins with either just flour and water, or in my case, flour, water, and yeast. You let it sit on the counter for days and days and what seems like years, and the bacteria and the yeast grow and eat and begin to ferment. Then when you want to make sourdough, you take part of it out and make your bread it with it. Then to the starter, you feed it flour and water and save it in the fridge for next time. You can keep it forever.

Little did I know what a beast it would become. Just as you would faithfully care for a Tamagotchi, I had to feed it 3x a day and stir it down often. I had to make an emergency run to Alpha Mart because I ran out of food (aka flour). I ended up dividing it several times and had 4 going at once, taking up most of my kitchen space. I don't know how many times I would go and check on them, to see if the bubbles were forming and how the sourness was developing. I am a woman of no patience, so the hardest part was for me to wait. But the longer you wait, the better it becomes.

Last night, all my hard work paid off. I decided to 'retire' one of my starters and make sourdough rolls. They were FANTASTIC. I still can't believe I made something so delicious. All of my research convinced me that a starter wouldn't make decent sourdough until it has had at least months to age. Sourdough starters, I am told, are handed down for generations.

I've consolidated my starters and now I am left with one white-flour starter and one whole-wheat starter. They are sleeping in the refrigerator, waiting to be taken out and baked into more deliciousness that will only get better with time.

Sorry if all I have been writing about lately is food. This is what excites me these days.

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