Growth spurt


During the now weekly feeding ritual, my forgetful mistake became a fortuitous surprise. I use a wide-mouth quart-sized canning jar to hold my Camaldoli sourdough culture. Usually, I pour out enough culture to leave 1 cup left in the jar. I then add a cup of flour and 3/4 cup of water, stir it up, and put it back into the warm oven. Today, I made some bread. So I didn’t pour anything out before adding flour and water. I took a cup of the culture for my bread but still had a lot left. Mistakenly, I poured out the refreshed mixture down to one cup. Sigh. Oh well, I thought, I’ll just let the culture do its thing with less than normal. Two cups is overkill anyways.

I check back and was surprised to find out that the culture had more than doubled in volume! It went from 1 11/16″ to 4 1/2″ for a 2.769 times increase. The lowest line is the starting level. You can see the beginnings of a hooch forming. The second line is the level of the foam. And the top line was the maximum height that was reached.

If I would have left it at its normal level, it would have surely overflowed all over the oven again.