May 6, 2018 at 5:46pm

I hadn't fed my sourdough for over a year -- and it was an old pioneer sourdough that I had gotten from my father. So I asked him for some more starter. We both forgot and I went home without it. About a week later, my father called to tell me that my stepmother had (by mistake) put all the starter into the latest batch of bread and had baked it. He was wondering if I could give him some starter! I told him that I only had the sad starter that had been neglected for over a year. I didn't think it would revive, but decided to give it a try (I'm a microbiologist and am used to treating microbes gently). At first I only took a couple of spoonfuls of the starter and placed it in a bowl in the oven with the light on. After two days, nothing had happened. Then I decided to go ahead and go for it -- All or nothing!! Well, it rose and it has been acting better than ever. What is funny is that after all that work, my father was able to get some starter from a friend of his to whom he gave the starter a few years earlier. By the way, I know about what those experts say about strains of sourdough not being unique, but as a microbial ecologist, I would say that there is only one scientific study out there that actually tests that hypothesis (a scientific guess). The authors (italian) did conclude that local flour provided most of the microbes in the sourdough, but most isn't all and potentially some of the strains of yeast and bacteria (yes, there are bacteria in sourdough) may be "core" microorganisms that have replicated and held on in those older sourdough strains. And possibly they do contribute to the taste of the finished product. While I would love to see more work done on this subject, I suspect the funding isn't behind it. However, until more studies are done, the "experts", not being microbial ecologists, are probably just guessing and their guesses aren't any better than those that you or I would make.
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