Sunday, April 1, 2007
Homemade sourdough bread -
and it's edible.
So, since I'm not the type of person to do anything the easy way...
I decided I wanted to learn to make bread. Without using pre-packaged yeast.
I had this "Amish Friendship Bread Starter" sitting in a jar in my kitchen which I was feeding every few days. You know that Amish Friendship Bread thing, right?
Stir it, feed it, stir it, divide it, bake it.
Give the starter way to 2 friends
They divide it and give it to 2 friends.
And, so on. And, so on. And so on...
I'm pretty sure if we want to discover the mystery of the disappearing Roanoke Island colonists, we should cast an eye toward the Amish.
So, why was I feeding this starter - sitting in a jar on my counter?
Because it was hungry. The little yeasties.
Carefully managed starters can last indefinitely, but keeping up with one is a good bit of work. Kind of like having a pet that you raise and feed and take care of, and then bake and eat.
-Alton Brown, in the Good Eats episode, Dr. Strangeloaf.
So, I tried to change the starter from a sugary based one to a straight flour and water one. Which is a bad idea. You see, whatever the starter likes, it likes. Usually someone would just start a new starter. But, I migrated mine over to a straight flour and water diet and over a week or two it seemed to like it. Smelled nice and sour - sourdough-ish.
So, 3 days last week I made sourdough bread.
Actually, the first 2 days I made doorstops.
The third loaf was edible and I think I can call it bread.
Sure, there were some pockets of un-risen yeast dough.
But, the crumb was tight like white bread. The crust was flavorful and tender like French bread. It wasn't too sour because I was really pushing the heck out of the little yeasties. Trying to make 3 loaves in one week is just barely enough time to get 'em burping and expelling gas for a rise. No time for nice fermentation. Hence, the sour was used up in the first two loaves.
At least, that's what I think. But, what do I know? I mean, this was my first real try at bread making in my life. And, I was lucky to even get something edible. I am happy with that.
So, now I have a collection of bread-making books sitting on my couch from my local library. And, I'm doing some research. I really want to get this. Bread-making. Now, THAT's a skill!
This coming week: Lamb.
And, it's just a coincidence about it being Easter - the risen Lord, risen bread, and Lamb thing. But, I like it. It has been keeping Him in my mind a bit more than usual.
And, that, "Is a good thing."