Some people talk to their plants, I talk to my bread. I honestly believe it makes a difference. My husband caught me chatting to some proving baguettes half an hour ago, crooning…”ooh, you’re a lovely dough, you’re going to get all brown and crunchy for me, aren’t you ?”. This, of course, he found hysterically funny, but all I know is that when I praise the dough, I get good bread. Call me superstitious.
Not only do I talk to my doughs, but I regularly chat to my sourdough starters. I have two starters, both purchased from Northwest Sourdough, and they have very distinct personalities. Starter T, better known as “Theme Park T” is just the most gorgeous girl, she’s bouncy and enthusiastic and always willing to try something new. She’s consistent and predictable, and ever so reliable, especially as she’s maturing (she was less consistent as a baby). She’ll do whatever I ask her to these days, and bubbles away happily with even the smallest feed. She’s the starter from which Chris’ T2 (“The Rise of the Dough”) is budded off.
Starter M is a completely different kettle of fish. He’s a cheeky little monkey, with a streak of pure genius. Some of the very best bread I’ve ever made has been created by him. But he can also be moody and surly, and sometimes uncooperative. Case in point – I recently fed M on some organic flour instead of the usual bakers flour. You should have seen the tanty he threw ! It was like..”Pfft! No..not that one! I want my regular flour, and I’m going to hold my breath until you give it to me..” And that’s exactly what he did, he sat there all night, flat and unbubbling, until I gave in and fed him his regular flour. I could almost feel him grinning with satisfaction…
Sigh. Is there such a thing as a super nanny for sourdough starters ?