Over the last few weeks I’ve been caring for a few billion microorganisms. And ate some of them.

Fig 1. My yeast making tons of bubbles overnight

Making a wild yeast starter turned out to be pretty easy. It took about ten days (in contrast to the five specified in the recipe I followed) for the colony to reach maturity in this winter kitchen, fed twice each day with equal parts flour and water, left at room temp overnight. Now, they are on a weekly maintenance schedule.

So far, I’ve used the starter in a hybrid (part commercial yeast) sourdough boule, two fully wild yeast loaves, pancakes, and, of course, pizza.

Compared to straight pizza dough, the sourdough version has a more complex taste, with basically the same texture. There is not much difference in the way the dough handles.

The wild yeast breads were both a little flatter than I’d have liked, owing to the less predictable rise; on the other hand they had a very nice sour taste. The hybrid dough is a nice compromise: less sour but airy crumb.

Pancakes of any stripe are always awesome.