A Weekend of Ups

Years of planning, effort and stress culminate in a blaze of excitement and nerves. It’s over in a flash and you barely have a chance to take it in, let alone allow the gravity of the situation permeate even slightly into your thoughts. Don’t trip. Don’t say the wrong thing. Make sure to eat something. Smile. Remember to thank the Father of the Bride.

Getting married is really quite a special event.

This time I wasn’t part of the wedding events, just a regular wedding go-er. It’s the first wedding I can remember being just a guest, not a participant, so I was pretty excited to stand back and watch it unfold. Mrs was part of the main party, thus it was up to me to get Miss ready and over to the venue early doors, as she too was involved. Of course the first sight of any stranger and Missy turned in to a limpet, but soon enough once Mama arrived she released the vice like grip around my neck and got stuck in. It was a magical day and an absolute stoater weather-wise.

20180516-D71_3218

Mrs had spent the past month tying 1000 paper cranes to invisible string, collected together to dangle above the congregation as we sat and listened to the formalities. 1000 paper cranes. It’s not the first time she has undertaken an obscenely fiddly task for a wedding, but I expect this one will be the last.

The night continued with some great speeches from the main players and an impromptu and quite awkward, rambling addition from another. Then on to the meals; exceptional. Dancing, snacks, fireworks, a couple of dramas and we’re done. Luckily the event was just down the road from us so a short taxi ride and we were home. Sunday was all “tiredness” and lethargy but we got things done and had a nice coffee/cake break at The Court House before the day ended with an early night and thanks given to the incredible weekend of sunshine, happiness and joy.

Well, perhaps not on the sourdough front.

20180527-DSC_0011

Sunday morning opened with me shakily turning the oven on ready to bake the dough that had been sitting in the fridge since Thursday…36 hours max, they said. What can go wrong, I said. Well the first sign of trouble was the hard bits of dough around the edges as it sat limp in the banneton. Then the difficulty extracting dough from said banneton. Then the general lack of je ne sais quoi happening, with a rather frumpy dough shape and overall misplacing of effort causing a sharp pain in my head. Get it in the oven anyway; the lodge pan was already in there ripping hot, ready to accept this flaccid lump of khorasan and strong white. Sure enough after an hour of heat, the tired lump had morphed in to a flat but rather colourful block of heavy sourdough. It was baked as a thanks for Mum and Dad looking after Miss on the night of the wedding, and I felt a bit sad that this was the level of thanks; but it should still taste nice, I concluded.

Yeah it did, was the feedback, along with “we hacked through it and put a good face on it.” Never again will I leave a day’s worth of effort sit in the fridge as long. But it wasn’t over yet. The starter needed fed again so off I went; looking active and excellent. In goes the flours; in goes the waters. Stir, stir, stir. Crack. The glass vial full of microorganisms suddenly started to leak microorganisms all over the worktop and I went in to hungover flap mode. What do you do when a rapidly expanding pool of yeasty mess unexpectedly starts emanating from a hole in the side of a 1 litre glass jar?

After a bit of swearing, shoogling and some glass picking, I decided to cut my losses and put a smaller amount of the once full of life starter in to a new glass jar and give it another feed. Who knows, it’s probably dead and full of glass shards but it’s worth it, if only not to start over again from scratch.

20180527-DSC_0023
Lifeless.

Well it looked dead but later on that day I gave it another feed and left it overnight. Who knows; it was starting to bubble a wee bit so I had hope. Monday started with another blazing hot day; 19°c at 9am is always a good indicator of a promising day of sun. Breakfast done, computer on ready to start the working day; oh how’s the starter looking?

I’d say that’s pretty active. Thankfully these things are clearly stronger than I give them credit for, and we’re back in business. So a walk to Sainsbury’s at lunchtime to get some more khorasan flour and we’re ready to start another bake. This one’s looking even better than the past few; the starter really is getting robust and properly airy, so hopefully this time we’ll get an even lighter bake than the others. I even left the dough for a basket prove 30 minutes longer than previous attempts, and there was some bubbles forming on the dough itself before I stuck it in the fridge. We’ll see how it’s looking tomorrow morning as we aim to secure loaf #4.