My Science Project: Sourdough Starter

We are entering the 4th week of the ECQ #lockdown. ECQ stands for Enhanced Community Quarantine. It’s the time of the COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019) pandemic.

#stayhome is the catchword of the time.

One needs to either learn new skills or revive old dormant ones. The excuse “I have no time” no longer means much. Because, now, you have all the time in the world.

Ergo… my science project.

It’s not the first time I made a sourdough starter. I’ve had a couple of successful attempts at making a sourdough starter in previous years (decades).

However, on both occasions, I “cheated”. I primed my starter mixture with 1/4 tsp of instant yeast. That gave my starter a jump.

This time, it’s pure.

By pure I mean, all I used in the initial mixture was flour and water: 1 cup bread flour mixed in 1/2 cup tap water, in a glass jar. If there is life inside this mixture, or if it attracts life from the surrounding air, it will become evident in the first 24 hours: the mixture will froth up and bubbles will appear.

This is for Day 1.

It takes 5 days of repeated discarding and refeeding to create the (young) sourdough starter.

So by the end of Day 1, my sourdough starter appeared like this:

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It looks promising. Bubbles are a clear sign of microorganism respiration. It is a good sign that the sourdough starter is alive.

The next steps, which will be repeated in the next 3 days, are:

1) Discard 1/2 cup of the starter mixture:

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2) Mix the ‘refeed’ using 1 cup All-Purpose Flour mixed in 1/2 cup tap water:

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3) Add the refeed and mix well with the remaining sourdough starter mix left in the glass jar.

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4) Leave the jar slightly covered, and allow the starter to refeed and grow over the next 24 hours.

(To be continued…)

UPDATE: Day 2 (04.07.2020)

I realized the mayo jar I began with was too small. The bubbles had almost reached the brim, after only 12 hours. (I forgot to take a picture.) So I transferred the starter to a larger container — a cylindrical Lock n Lock.

At days end, here’s how it looked like…

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Discarded 1/2 cup of the starter…

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Mixed 1/2 cup tap water to 1 cup (~110 grams) All Purpose Flour for the refeed…

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Added the refeed into the starter culture and mixed it well.

This is how the sourdough starter appears at the start of Day 3…

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It’s alive. The bubbles tell me that. And they’re multiplying. And maturing.

(To be continued, Day 5…) ⌛🤔

UPDATE: May 6, 2020.

I have almost completely forgotten about updating my science project. No Day 5 update, however. Instead, it’s been about a month, and my sourdough starter has been keeping in the ref (fridge) for more than two weeks.

I have fed it twice already, since it began residing in the cold compartment. Last week I made Sourdough Ciabatta with 1 cup of the starter.

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I fed the starter the usual 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water, after baking, and returned it inside the refrigerator.

This is how it appears now…

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It’s alive! 🤗👌

Kompost sa Balde

Hindi ako magaling mag-alaga ng halaman. Halos lahat ng inalagaan kong halaman, namatay. Wala akong ‘green thumb’ 👍. Meron ako ‘black thumb’ 👎. Kayâ ang nag-aalaga ay si Jane (misis) at Jikki (anak).

Datapwat, hindi nito ibig sabihin na hindi ako marunong magmahal ng mga halaman. Marunong naman po. Tamad lang magdilig at walang tiyagang mag cultivate ng lupa, etsetera, etsetera…

Naisip kong gumawa ng kompost (abono) sa balde. Di man ako magaling maglinang ng halamanan, may kaunting kaalaman naman ako sa agham. At kaya naman ng utak kong unawain ang paraan ng paggawa ng kompost.

Bukod sa makakatulong ang kompost sa kalusugan ng mga halaman, ang paggawa nito ay nakakatulong din sa kapaligiran. Nababawasan kasi ang basura na kinokolekta ng basurero, linggo-linggo. Eh marami sa mga basurang (nabubulok) tinatapon ng mga sambahayan ay hindi nararapat na ibinabaon sa lupa (landfill) datapwat sa halip ay maaari ngang gawing kompost.

Dalawang sangkap lang ang karaniwang ginagamit sa paggawa ng kompost na mula sa organik basura: mga kayumanggi (brown) at berde (green). At dalawang sangkap mula sa kalikasan: hangin at hamog. Ang ugnayan ng apat na sangkap na ito ang bubuhay at magpapalago sa komunidad ng di-kitang bakterya na syang kakain sa basura at mag-iiwan ng kanilang pinagdumihan, hanggang sa wala nang basurang makakain. Ang naipong pinagdumihan ng mga bakterya ay isang mangitim-ngitim, nadudurog-durog, at amoy lupang tumpok. Ito ang kompost. At ito’y siksik sa sustansya.

Ang mga kayumangging sangkap ay karaniwang mula sa mga patay na bahagi ng mga puno’t halaman, tulad ng tuyong dahon, maliliit na sanga, tuyong damo, papel, diyaryo, karton, kusot, atbp. Ito ay mayaman sa nitrogen, ang sustansyang gamit ng mga bakterya sa pagbubuo ng protina para sa paglago at pagpaparami nila.

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Ang mga berdeng sangkap naman ay mga sariwang bahagi ng mga gulay at prutas, tulad ng balat ng saging, papaya, mangga, kalabasa, mga tangkay at lantang dahon ng pechay, repolyo, sitaw, kangkong, atbp. Ito ay mayaman sa karbon, ang sustansyang (karbohydrates) pinagkukunan ng mga bakterya ng lakas at enerhiya nila.

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Mahirap isa-isahin ang maaari at di-maaaring gamiting sangkap sa paggawa ng kompost, datapwat sa pangkalahatan ang mga dumi ng aso, pusa, at tao ay hindi maaari. Gayundin ang malalaking tipak ng kahoy, dahil mahirap itong kainin ng mga di-kitang bakterya. Ang mga plastic, bakal, atbp na mga hindi organik basura ay di rin uubra. Subalit ang mga giniling na kape, tsaa, balat ng itlog, buto ng kalabasa, pakwan, o melon, at alikabok (lupa) ay maaaring isama. Ang mga karne at buto-buto (hilaw o luto), mga pinaglinisan ng mga isda at lamang-dagat, gatas, at mantika ay hindi rin maaari.

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Mag-iisang linggo pa lang ang ginagawa kong kompost sa balde. Hinahalo-halo ko pa ito para mag balanse ang pagkalat ng mga sangkap, bago ko iimbak. Hindi pa kasi napupuno ang balde. Dahil ito’y unang subok ko pa lang, sinusukat ko pa ang dami ng tinatapon naming organik basura kung gano katagal makakapuno ng isang baldeng pang-kompost. Pag inimbak ko na sya, paminsan-minsan ko na lang hahalu-haluin.

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Isa sa mga tanda na buhay, kumakain ng mabuti, at maligalig ang mga bakterya sa kompost sa balde ay ang namumuong init nito sa gitna (loob). Ito ang pinakamalinaw na tanda. Sa oras na mawalan ng init at hindi pa tapos ang paggawa ng kompost, maaaring hindi na naaabot ng bakterya ang pagkain. Kailangan haluin muli ang laman ng balde, para magpang-abot ang bakterya at ang mga organik na pagkain nila.

Isa pang tanda na buhay, kumakain, at maligalig ang mga bakterya ay ang pagpapawis sa loob ng balde. Makikita ito sa ilalim ng taklob at sa mga gilid ng loob ng balde. Ang namumuong hamog sa loob ng balde ay pawis ng bakterya na bunga ng kanilang ligalig at pagpaparami. Di man sila kita ng mata mo, alam mong buhay sila.

Kapag napuno na at nahalo-halo nang mabuti, iiimbak ko ang kompost sa balde ng mga dalawang linggo kung saan maaabot sya ng init ng araw. Sa panahong ito, sisilip-silipin ko lang sya (hindi hahaluin) para pakiramdaman ang init at pagpapawis. Mahihinog ang kompost (kung magiging maayos lahat) sa loob ng 2 – 3 buwan.

Pag hinog na ito, pwede na itong gamitin ni Jane at Jikki bilang pataba sa lupa ng mga alaga nilang halaman. Samantala, ako naman, patuloy na magbubukod ng mga organik basura, at gagawa ng kompost sa balde.🤘

UPDATE: 19 Pebrero 2020

Eto na ang kinalabasan ng Kompost sa Balde, matapos ang halos apat na buwan.

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Hindi perfect. Napansin kong marami syang mga balat ng itlog (durog) na naiwan, at mga pinagbalatan ng buto ng kalabasa. May mailiit na piraso din ng EcoBag.

Datapwat, sa pangkalahatan, ang Kompost sa Balde ay…

Wagi! 🙆

smoke alarm!

i am profusely and profoundly thankful to God for his timely intervention in my affairs today.

i endangered the well-being of my middle daughter and 3 year old grandson; and could have burned our small house down. it would have been (i am extremely relieved nothing serious happened, my head is still spinning with vague dread for what could have been) a result of careless inadvertence, absence of mind, and hurry.

i was in a hurry to get out of the house to pick up my youngest daughter from school (she’s a teacher). i was lagging behind schedule.

i had messaged her that i will leave as soon as the fried chicken was done. the clock was ticking.

as soon as the chicken looked cooked enough, i drew the pieces out of the frying pan with a pair of steel tongs and put them on a metal strainer. i put the metal strainer back on top of the frying pan, above oil level, supported underneath by the open steel tongs, to let the oil drip back to the pan. i covered the chicken and did not leave it exposed.

my daughter and grandson were in our bedroom, it was my grandson’s naptime. the air condition was on because of the summer heat.

i left the house to fetch my youngest daughter from school. after about a kilometer out, i got a call on my cell phone, but couldn’t answer it because i was driving.

after another five hundred meters, i got a text message. i stopped the car and pulled aside to check: my youngest daughter said she was called to a meeting and would be out an hour later; that i should just pick her up then.

i turn the car around and proceed back home.

when i opened the front door, the entire kitchen was filled with smoke! it was coming from the gas stove — the oil on the frying pan was turning out smoke up to the ceiling, filling the entire kitchen. a smoke alarm!

i immediately turned off the gas stove. all my joints and inward parts were trembling — trembling at the thought of what could have happened, had my daughter not been called to the meeting and had not sent a text message in time for me to read and return back home.

i turned on a couple of electric fans to blow the smoke out the front door. i positioned both fans to face the front door and act as exhaust fans.

as i turned the body of one of the stand fans, i heard a loud grinding sound coming from inside the fan and the fan began to quake and swivel uncontrollablyfrom its base — one of the fan blades broke off at high speed!

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it was an evil day — a day of disaster. but God’s kind intervention thwarted what could have been a huge one, and the fault was mine.

i take all this to heart. lesson learned:

to always check if i’ve turned off the fire after cooking (i am the cook, it’s my SOP);

to check if i’ve turned off the fire, especially when i am in a hurry to go out of the house;

thinking of putting a smoke alarm in the kitchen.

God is good. God is my refuge.

ketocayo: my 3-day egg fast

i did an egg fast, a 3-day egg fast.  all i ate during the 3-day egg fast were only eggs, technically.  i say ‘technically’ because i also ate the oils that the eggs were cooked in, and i also had some mayo and mustard w the eggs — and these had calories, however few.  i say ‘technically’ because, on the other hand, some egg fast rules allow for the consumption of cheese.  but i don’t follow rules — i make my own.

i ate 10 eggs a day, for 3 days — 30 eggs total in 3 days.  i drank lots of water, took some oral mediterranean salt (now and then, especially upon waking up and before sleeping), and gulped unlimited brewed coffee (no cream, no sweetener) throughout the fast.  no keto desserts, no chicharon, no in-betweens, no alcoholic night caps, no lemon drops while driving… nothing — just eggs.

DAY 1

lunch: 6 scrambled eggs

egg fast day 1 am

dinner: 4 scrambled eggs

egg fast day 1 pm

DAY 2

lunch: 6 hard-boiled eggs

egg fast day 2 am

dinner: 4 hard-boiled duck embryos (balut)

egg fast day 2 pm

DAY 3

lunch: 6 sunny-side up eggs

egg fast day 3 am

dinner: 4 poached eggs

egg fast day 3 pm

my primary goal in doing the 3-day egg fast is to break my weight stall.  my weight stalled (stayed the same) for 20 days, at 199 lbs.  it didn’t really worry me — i just challenged myself to break the stall.  the hashtag i often use in my fb group ‘ketogenicsPH’ is #killingTheBoredomWeAcquired, simply because: if i don’t kill the boredom, the boredom will kill me.  the secondary goal is (what we call) NSVs or Non-Scale Victories – benefits, besides weight loss, that are both tangible and intangible. 

the tangible NSVs in this case was a smaller belly, fitting into a shirt (a gift from my daughter) i could not fit into before, feeling energized despite a huge calorie deficit, not feeling hungry and weak.  the intangibles would consist of mental clarity, feeling happy with the achievement, confidence that i have done it (and can do it again, when needed), complacency that the 3-day egg fast was not a suffering that i wanted to end quickly, character EQ (not easily tempted by food, both keto and non-keto, during the fast).  autophagy or deep cellular cleansing is another intangible NSV i achieved, but it isn’t the result of the egg fast, but of the accompanying 18-6 IF.

so, how much weight did i lose during my 3-day egg fast??

8 lbs — from 199 to 191. 👌

before and after egg fast

what’s next?  stall (again), at 191 lbs for 20 days or more… then break the stall (again).

#ketoOnAndOnAndOn 👌

january 2018

january 2018 is almost over with a day to go before it completely expires into history.  i haven’t written anything yet.  i had written thoughts on the incoming (new) year for the past years since i began this blog, thestrayschnauzer, but apparently, for this year, i hadn’t.

i was at a small high school reunion last night — only 12 of about 40 old classmates were present.

toast to manolo

we met because one of our classmates based in seattle was here in the country.  we have mini reunions — meet ups — every now and then.  but this one was special because of our balikbayan classmate, manolo (picture below, middle).  it was most special for me because manolo and i last saw each other in 1977… 40 years ago!

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me, manolo, & mar — classmates since grade 3 (but probably further).

the reason i am writing my blog now is because manolo reminded me of its existence — he told me he reads my blog.  there!

driving in the streets of metromanila is very stressful.  this is if you are one who stays in your lane, flicks your indicator (signal) light when overtaking, looks in the side mirror if you’ve completely passed the other vehicle before getting back in lane, keeps within speed limit, and drives cautiously and defensively.  people seem to be always racing for time on the streets.  cars and vans, motorcycles and buses — all vehicles — weave left and right in front of me on the wide 6-lane EDSA highway.  it reminded me of what i have wanted to blog about for the new year, 2018.

it’s about the race.  not the human race, but a car race or a horse race — a race to the finish line.  life is a race — a race to the grave.  and the longer you reach the finish line, the better winner you are!  however, in this race, unlike other races where contenders sometimes don’t finish — everybody finishes!  everybody reaches the finish line — the grave.

this is very sobering.

so when we are at our best, when our intellectual faculties are functioning above our bestial appetites, we do everything in our powers to prolong our appointment with the grave — we take care of our bodily health.  and the number one way to do so is by attempting to go on a diet and lose all those unwanted and heart-risk-increasing poundage.

the best thing that happened to me last year, 2017, by far, is when i learned of and went on the ketogenic diet.  this is 2017 for me — keto (ketogenic) WOE (way of eating).  this was everything on my mind last year — or, at least, the last quarter.  losing 30 lbs in 3 months is great news, as far as bodily health is concerned.  blood works coming in all normal is good news.

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that, my friends, in toto, is 2017 — a radical way of eating and a huge amount of weight lost, a normal blood panel, and getting a new handle on bodily health.

i have no new year’s resolution, as i have had before — but a new year’s target: to reach 190 lbs with normal blood pressure through keto WOE.

happy new year!  and kung hei fat choi to my dear chinese friends on feb.16.