Saturday, 20 February 2010

Wild Yeast

For about a month now, I have been making bread with a wild yeast starter. Finally, the starter is performing reliably and my bread not only tastes good, it now also rises - generally considered a good thing for bread. It is still a bit dense, but I love it. It is so cool to watch that mixture of plain old flour & water start to bubble and ferment. As you can see in the picture, it almost rises too much, the bread kind of explodes it's seems in the oven - too much surface tension? Is there such a thing??

I am using a recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks, Baking with Julia. The recipe is Pain de Campagne. I've also done a lot of reading over at the Fresh Loaf. That is one fantastic website. I have learned more about baking bread in the last few weeks than in all my bread baking years (which is a lot considering I started at ten!). I am using a firm starter, almost like a bread dough itself. It keeps well on the counter and doesn't seem to care if I feed it regularly or not. If I am not going to be suing it for a while I pop it in the fridge until a day before I need it. The posts on the FreshLoaf by Jmonkey are really helpful on this subject.

My next adventure is from Peter Reinhart's book Whole Grain Breads using flour ground in my mother's mill. Wells actually that's adventure #2, first I am using the regular whole wheat from the store. I haven't had a chance to get over to Mom's and ruin my hearing yet. Grain mills are REALLY LOUD.

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