Quarter Century Sourdough

By , February 22, 2017

On Monday, we celebrated a family member’s important birthday by fattening her up and eating her.

Our sourdough strain turned 25 years old on Monday. We celebrated with sourdough pancakes topped with a friend’s homemade crabapple butter!

Aly makes sourdough pancakes from a sponge that's older than she is (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Aly makes sourdough pancakes from a sponge that’s older than she is (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

To my embarrassment, I’d thought this was the 26th anniversary, not the quarter century mark. Somehow, and apparently within the last year, I forgot that we started it in the early spring of the same year I moved back to Alaska, bringing Michelle with me. I began to believe that I’d started the sourdough the year before we moved, but that is not so. Thank goodness, I journaled faithfully in those days, and kept the journals for reference.

For the story of why I started the sourdough when I did, and a recipe for how to start your own, please see Happy Birthday, Sourdough! Because of the circumstances surrounding the start of this strain, it holds a special place in our family history. It seems like a touchpoint in the beginning of our life in Alaska. This also means that in July, Michelle will mark her quarter century mark as an Alaska resident. That hardly seems possible!

Over the last 25 years we’ve occasionally debated the whole idea of longevity in a strain of sourdough. Since the whole point is to use up all but about a cup of the sponge, some would say that the strain is essentially new with each feeding. However, since we continue to mark our own birthdays despite the regenerative nature of our own bodies, the “entity” of a sourdough strain, like whatever constitutes a human being or any other animal, continues as a distinct living organism. I feel we’re justified in continuing to nurture, and celebrate, our sourdough for as many years as we possibly can.

By the way, if you live in Haines or Klukwan, and want some starter from our 25 year old strain, use the comments link below, we’ll bring you some!

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