This post appeared last month on my Patreon, as a Patron-only post. Sometimes, I post patron-first content. If you’d like to read this work before anyone else, become a patron!
Originally posted August 4th 2016.
Content note: this post discusses food
Tragically, my original, controversial sourdough starter passed away recently, due to me being such a good pet owner that I forgot to feed a bloody sourdough starter for over a fortnight. On the fortunate side, this presented me with an ideal opportunity to undertake the more-scientific approach I’d wanted to take since pretty much 24 hours after I first mixed flour, water and a vaginal sample.
So, this time round, I decided to do a head-to-head comparison. The question I wanted to address was:
Is the growth of my sourdough starter due to the vaginal yeast, or would it grow anyway with just wild yeast?
The tl;dr answer is…
The vaginal yeast seems to make a bit of a difference for the better and I have no fucking clue why.
The long answer:
Growing the starters
I started my cunt sourdough and my control sourdough on 30th July. The control starter consisted of 1 espresso cup of plain white flour and 1/2 espresso cup water. The cunt starter contained the same, plus a small sample of my own vaginal fluids, which were harvested by sticking my fingers inside myself and then rubbing them on the fork I used to stir the starter.
Cunt sourdough on the left, control on the right, just after mixing.
Please note that this time there was an additional variable: I don’t have a yeast infection. So the sample would have contained vaginal yeast, along with everything else in my fanny, including the friendly bacteria that check yeast growth.
This might have affected the results somewhat, although if it did, it was in a completely unexpected way.
Each day, I added 1 espresso cup of flour and half an espresso cup of water to each starter.
To avoid cross-contamination, I always stirred the non-vag sourdough first, and the one with the vaginal yeast afterwards, using a different fork.
Even early on, I noticed differences between the cunt sample and the control. The cunt sample seemed to react slightly quicker, developing its first bubbles before the 24 hour mark.
By the third day, it was noticeably wetter and frothier than the control starter.
Cunt sourdough on the left, control on the right.
This isn’t to say the control starter did badly. It also came to life. On the third day, both starters began to smell, which is how you know they’re alive. I also had to move the control starter to a bigger container; I’d put it in a too-small pot because part of me hadn’t expected it to work.
By the fifth day, 4th August, both starters were ready to cook with. They had developed the characteristic mature sourdough smell (which smells a bit like yoghurt, a bit like nail polish remover and nothing at all like pussy). I had made 500ml of each starter.
The cunt sourdough starter, mature and ready.
The control starter, mature and ready.
For no goddamn reason whatsoever that I can discern, the cunt starter was still wetter than the control starter.
Even more peculiarly, at every step of the way, the control starter had behaved like the original cunt sourdough starter I made last November, while this new cunt sourdough starter was more liquid than either, and grew slightly faster.
The crumpet test
I am an impatient person, so rather than bake up bread, I decided to make crumpets, which are quicker and easier, and one can make a hilarious pun about crumpet here.
250ml sourdough starterHalf a teaspoon salt1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Whisk the salt and sourdough starter together.
Add the bicarbonate of soda. At this point, it will start fizzing like a salted slug.
Crumpet batter (cunt sourdough sample)
Grease a saucepan and crumpet rings (or metal biscuit cutters if, like me, you don’t own crumpet rings). Heat to a medium heat, and pour or spoon some crumpet batter into the bottom of the rings.
Crumpets heating in the pan
Heat gently until the crumpets slip out of the moulds, and continue heating. At this point, you can pop some more into the moulds and have two mini-batches on the go. Do not turn the crumpets over: they’ll lose their lovely bubbly tops.
Cunt sourdough crumpets
Once the bottom is dark brown, remove from pan and place under the grill for 5-7 minutes, until fully cooked on top. Or, if like me you don’t have a grill, put in the oven at 180C for 7 minutes, and then toast in the toaster.
Which crumpet was nicer?
All the way along, the cunt crumpets were better. As you can see from the picture above, they were much bubblier.
The cunt starter also made more crumpets: I got five crumpets out of the control starter, and seven out of the cunt starter, so I suppose on average this recipe makes six crumpets.
Control crumpets, before toastingCunt crumpets, before toasting
You can probably see from my frankly terrible photos that the cunt crumpets were lighter and bubblier. This made a great impact on the experience of eating them.
Bluntly put, the control crumpets were fucking horrible. They were heavy and doughy and I couldn’t even finish one little one. Meanwhile, the cunt crumpets were nice. They tasted like and had the texture of crumpets.
Conclusion: I have more questions
I made two batches of sourdough with in the same kitchen, with the same bag of flour, so therefore any wild yeast would have been the same wild yeast. The starter to which I added some vaginal flora (including yeast) performed consistently better, and produced edible crumpets, while the other was too thick to make good crumpets. So what the fuck happened?
I don’t bloody know, but I have a theory.
I mentioned earlier that the control starter grew and behaved similarly to my original yeast infection starter. This suggests to me that the original yeast infection starter was always just wild yeast and nothing else. Meanwhile, this new starter would have also contained the other stuff that keeps the growth of yeast going at a healthy rate, and therefore helped make the starter a little healthier.
It’s also possible that perhaps I subconsciously made the cunt starter slightly better: the cup I use for feeding the starters isn’t exactly an accurate measure, and maybe I ended up adding a tiny bit more water to the cunt starter each time.
At any rate, the slightly more liquid consistency of the cunt starter helped make better crumpets: you need crumpet batter to be wet.
The control starter has now gone to live with my partner, who will keep it alive and see if it matures better over time, while I’ll look after the cunt starter and see what happens.
Please do try making crumpets yourself, if you keep a sourdough starter. When they come out nice, they’re really, really tasty!
Update: As of September 5th, I’ve baked three batches of bread with the winning starter, and they have all come out really well. My partner has also baked three batches of bread with the non-vag starter. It’s performed quite well, although their loaves seem to come out a bit flatter than mine. However, this might be due to them continually making their dough ever so slightly too wet.