Well, you can imagine my surprise and joy when I found out that one of the supermarkets has started selling ready made sourdough. Not just that, it also claimed to be ready to use. Interesting!
So at the first opportunity I went to get some - they had two types, wheat sourdough and rye sourdough.
Since I'd not worked with rye sourdough before, and it's been a while with the wheat one too, I opted to try the wheat first.
Reading the instructions on the lid, it said "add yeast". Well, what's the point in using sourdough then, eh?!? But thinking things through, it occurred to me that the sourdough was just for flavouring. Would this mean that it wouldn't be alive? The best before date was several weeks in the future, that's a bit suspicious, even if sourdough can survive a long time, how would it be "ready to use" at any point in time up until that date?
So, I went for what I've done in the past with Monty - I fed it. As I opened it, it was runny like Bulgarian boza. It also smelt rather weird. Oh well, in with water, in with flour. I didn't measure very thoroughly either, but just tried to obtain a very thick batter consistency. Then in the oven it went, the oven was still a little warm after a previous bake. And off I went shopping.
I came back several hours later and noticed that there had been a rise to the double in the jar, but it had sank back to the original amount.
Maybe here I made my mistake - I fed it again. This time it smelt a bit more like Monty used to do, and it was bubbly, so I thought everything was fine and let it stand for a further few hours.
Sadly, there was no further rise at all after the second feed. I had thickened it further, to reach the regular consistency of Monty. So there was plenty of food for the wild yeasts. It still bubbled, but didn't rise.
But I had lost patience and made the dough anyway, and let it rise in the oven again, though this time I set the oven to 30 degrees C to help it out. This seemed to do a trick, because the dough did rise nicely.
I took it out and shaped it into 3 small loaves and left it to proof overnight in cool room temperature, about 18 degrees C.
The next morning, I looked at it and it hadn't moved a bit. Dang! Well, never mind, into the oven it'll go.
So I baked it and it did make a heroic attempt at oven spring, but in the end my loaves remained the same size as when they were raw.
And when I cut it, I had the texture of marzipan.
Flavour-wise, it was very good, I'd mixed in sesame and poppy seeds, but this wasn't bread and I had 3 brick-like loaves of it. Bah!
On the plus side, heated up a bit in the microwave and dipped in kyopoolu was totally fab.
I won't be doing anything with the rye sourdough, I'm leaving it to my Mum to play with. The reason for this is that I'm moving back to the UK and my lovely hubby Lundulph at the beginning of April. Quite looking forward to that and getting on with more cooking and baking. I have so many new ideas that I've noted down on various bits of paper, hopefully I won't lose any of them.