Baking with an ignored sourdough starter

Unlike all the breadcore pals I have baking loaves with hand-ground sorghum and Bolivian yeast strains kept at 75% hydration, I left my sourdough starter on the kitchen counter for a week and didn't bother feeding it.

After another midafternoon phone call from a friend who newly discovered baking as a relaxing and delicious artform asking for recommendations on baking something crisp-but-gooey, I looked at the live starter I keep on my counter. I transplanted it from the sleeping mass of junk a week or so back, baked a few great loaves of bread, and then kinda forgot about it. I had other stuff on my mind. The phone conversation led me to desire bread.

Intending to put up a loaf later in the afternoon, I fed the room temperature but dormant starter. First, I mixed all the hooch back into the starter. I then discarded a cup of starter and added 1/2 cup each of warm water and flour. Then I stirred, covered and gave it 4 hours.

I used the starter to prepare my go-to no-knead loaf of bread, flour and whole wheat. Said dough was permit to rise overnight. Pretty much everything looked like dough normally does on a first rise. I then folded the blob! The dough was pretty wet, I left it to proof in its basket.

I had a hard time deciding when it was ready for the oven. After 90 minutes I could see some large bubbles had formed in the dough, and a poke-with-index-finger test was getting what I thought were correct springing back results, but something looked off.

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#sourdough

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The loaf looked fantastic coming out of the oven, and my daughter claims it is the best tasting loaf of sourdough we've had. She ate about 1/2 the loaf in one sitting. The bubbles and crumb were really strange, however.

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#sourdough the one week unfed starter. Fed once, then used to bake this

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I think it needed another 5 minutes in the oven, but it was done. Toasting slices made them perfect.

I have since fed the starter a few times and will bake another loaf with it tomorrow. I am pretty sure my yeast will be back to its normal behavior.

Baking obeys the same principle offered homebrewers by the great Charlie Papazian, "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew."