Country Extra MagazineI had never made anything with sourdough starter before. But when I came across a recipe for sourdough cinnamon buns, I was more than willing to give it a shot. What could go wrong?
Deciding to double the yield, I got to work on the starter. The recipe never mentioned what type of container to put it in, so I chose a glass bowl. Filling about a quarter of the bowl, I covered the top with a plate and placed it on the kitchen table while I did the dishes and waited for the dough to rise.
When I’d placed the last cup in the cupboard, a half-hour had passed and the starter was on the move. They weren’t kidding when they called this a quick-rising yeast. Like lava from a volcano, goo streamed down the sides of the bowl. It moved across the table and onto the chairs, ultimately ending up on the floor.
I grabbed a towel and tried to contain the dough. I called out to my mother in the next room for help. She took one look, howled in laughter and left to get her camera.
Eventually we managed to trap the doughy monster in a large glass jar. Salvaging only about a quarter of the mixture, I screwed the lid on tight, set it on the kitchen counter and began a second cleanup.
What seemed like only an hour passed. I finished scrubbing and turned to check the jar. To my astonishment, the starter was oozing out from beneath the lid, running down the sides of the jar and again onto the floor. I grabbed the jar and unscrewed the lid. The pressure from inside shot the lid out of my hand. It hit the kitchen window frame, narrowly missing the glass, while the starter landed on the ceiling fan, which whipped most of it around the room.
The dog and I stood dripping with yeasty slime. Sourdough starter was on the ceiling, on the walls, on the table, counters and chairs—it was even in the cupboards.
Once again everything came to a halt. Once again I called to my mother for help. And again she came from the next room, burst into laughter and turned around to get her camera.
This cleanup took hours, but I used what was left of the starter to finish the cinnamon buns. When I looked at the recipe again, it turned out I only needed a single cup of starter for a double batch of buns.
I learned many lessons that day. First, do not double a recipe for sourdough starter. Second, if you put the starter in a jar, don’t tighten the lid unless you want to create a dough bomb. Finally, hide every camera from your mother when trying out a new recipe.