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janis tester’s sourdough starter.


Here’s a picture of a very vigorous wild yeast product. It’s sourdough starter. Starter with a provenance. History. A past.

This starter came to me via the underground railroad of food folks all the way from Janis Tester in Massachusetts. Janis was a Charcutepalooza semi-finalist, and it was during that meaty year we became Twitter friends. We’ve Skype’d and emailed and gotten to know each other. Most of the time, I count on Janis to crack me up. She is hilarious.

Janis is a great cook. She tackles exotic cuisines that I want to eat. Her food look so appealing all the while telling rollicking tales of  adventures on the way to the meal.

When she offered to send me some of her sourdough starter via our mutual friend, Amanda (another lovely blog with exotic yet approachable recipes,) I jumped on it.

So it arrived. The little starter that could. Delivered in a plain blue plastic wrapper.

I divided it and made pizza. I simmered, then food milled a rich pizza sauce from my home canned tomatoes. Home made mozzerella. My own marinated artichoke hearts dropped willy nilly across the surface, and briny nicoise olives, marinated with garlic confit. A sprinkle of oregano. A fistful of pecorino. Dennis declared it the best pizza crust I’ve ever made, and I’ve made some good pizzas.

I fed the starter. It was happy. It bubbled.

I divided it again and made waffles. Amazing waffles. Light as air and yeasty. Heaven. This is a simple recipe that requires a few minutes after dinner, and just a moment in the morning. Equivalent to the time you want a French press to steep. The recipe made more than enough for two breakfasts, and even left a waffle or two lying around on a plate til mid-afternoon. Just a bit of jam and a toasted waffle equals a perfect tea time snack.

Now my starter is all happy and bubbly in the fridge and I’m so delighted to have this little bit of Janis’ kitchen in mine.

PS Shout out to Amanda who brought an awesome sour cherry syrup. I added a few candied sour cherries and stirred it all into homemade plain yogurt. So wonderful and reminiscent of summer. Thank you, Amanda!

12 thoughts on “janis tester’s sourdough starter.”

  1. Ok how did this start? The starter that is, and would whole wheat starter work as well? I have just tried to get a sourdough starter going using whole wheat and some rye flour. It is working but not as bubblie as I would like.
    Janis how did tghis starter start?

  2. Ok how did this start? The starter that is, and would whole wheat starter work as well? I have just tried to get a sourdough starter going using whole wheat and some rye flour. It is working but not as bubblie as I would like.
    Janis how did this starter start?

  3. I just love the idea of a starter that comes from a dear friend. Cathy, so funny we were talking about my father’s sour dough starter today, too. Just a terrific post all the way around. And, I love that Janis’ starter is four years old and making its way around the East Coast.

  4. That pizza looks soooo yummy! I may have to make one very soon!

    I have a starter with a long history. About 8 yrs. ago, two friends (married) worked as managers of a local B & B. A customer began speaking with them about his 30 yr. old starter, and, to make a long story short, my friends received it in the mail and passed it on to me. I call it the “baby on the counter” since it does have to be fed. On the advise of the original owner, I actually froze two batches of the starter to see if it really would come back to life, and it did! However, I use it so frequently that it nevers spends more than several days in the fridge.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Cathy!

  5. I love every little thing about this post but most especially the connections that are made and shared. For me that is such a huge part of what I love about cooking; seldom do I make anything that someone or someplace isn’t in my mind.

    BTW that might have been you last night as I and a friend divided up 20 pounds of finished bacon for the shares that were purchased by 5 friends. Yes, I am now doing Charcuterie for friends, I think it only fair they know of whence it came.

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