the dangers of sourdough starter

This morning, while my KitchenAid mixer was kneading bagel dough (the trouble with sourdough starter is that you have to actually make things with it or throw away a lot of sourdough starter), it started shooting sparks straight out from the motor.

I had to make a decision. I could keep kneading and risk a fiery explosion, which, in addition to possibly burning down my house would likely ruin the dough. Or, I could stop the mixer, averting possible fireball disaster but I would end up with half-kneaded dough and who wants to knead dough by hand? Is that even a thing that works?

In the end, I turned off the mixer, decided the dough was kneaded enough and sent it on its way to proof. Will the lack of full kneading also ruin the dough? Time will tell. Bagels take a long tine before they’re ready to eat, what with the proofing and the shaping and the more proofing and the baking and the cooling.

Here’s a weird thing. We were watching John Waite’s Instagram stories (from Great British Bakeoff season three) a couple of days ago and he just got a new copper KitchenAid mixer. It is beautiful. And so I said that if only our mixer would stop working then maybe we could get that beautiful mixer too.

I’ve had this mixer (the one with the sparks and the black soot) for 24 years. I got it as a wedding present from my (now ex-) husband’s parents. 24 years! And two days after I joke that I’d like it to break, it breaks! How’s that for being dependable!

I ordered a new mixer immediately. I did not order the copper one. Turns out, it’s nearly 4 hundred dollars more than the same model in non-copper.

In fairness, I have been using the mixer a bit more lately (although I use it once a week even in non-apocalypse times) and a screw did just fall out of it yesterday. (I put the screw back in, but perhaps that it fell out at all was a sign of larger problems.)

I have since (post shiny new mixer order) watched a YouTube video that tells me all I need is a $6 part that takes less than 10 seconds to replace and my fiery spark problems will be solved.

So that’s also a thing someone who hadn’t already ordered a shiny new mixer could try, I suppose.

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