Friday, January 06, 2006

The Passion of the Yeast Maiden

I just tossed a couple of loaves into the oven. Today was a bit of a breadmaking experiment; I'm using a starter sponge that's been fermenting away since dinnertime last night in the hope of producing something along the lines of a mild sourdough. I have no idea what these will taste like, or if I did the starter properly, but I'm committed to the idea of using a starter now. I like the idea of caring for these hungry little yeast creatures. I keep them warm and feed them flour, and they perform their foamy little trick for me with the eargerness of vaudville poodles. The process makes me feel like a benevolent bacteria shepherd. Eat my pretties, eat and fart! I may be getting a little too involved here... Oh what the hell, I'm going to name them. The Mad Gassers of Who-Ville? The Republic of Glutonia? Boris? I'll have to work on it.

The dough rose nicely once I got it into the bread pans, although I let it sit about an hour longer than I usually do. I've been sorta kinda following Julia Child's recipe for wheat bread from The Way to Cook, and her rise times are quite a bit longer than I usually do. The French theory, she says, is that the yeast needs to work with the dough to build character. So there's not a lot of babying the stuff during the rises; no oil in the bowl, cool temperatures, up to four hours total of rest between kneadings. But I didn't stick to her simple ingredient list. Had to throw in the honey, flaxseed meal and poppy seeds. Maybe I'll follow directions on the next batch.


Hothothot - Just dropped them onto the cooling racks. I forgot to leave a pan of water in the oven. D'oh! I hope that didn't mess the crusts up too much. Here are my wheaty creations:

sourdough loaves
Originally uploaded by bixdog7.

Not the prettiest dough bricks ever, but I think they held up pretty well. In a couple hours I'll try a slice. I'm crossing my fingers.


I don't have any stale Metafilter links for this post, but here's a couple bread websites that had some useful information:
Baking 911 looks like a good bread resource. The bread starter page is so crammed with information it's almost painful, but there's some discussion of homemade starters (that is, using the yeast floating around in the air as opposed to commercial yeast) that's worth a look. This guy has a nice step by step guide to keeping your new bacterial buddies happy and healthy between bakings. I'm going to have to reread this tonight. Breadinfo Looks promising, too. I'll add more as I find 'em. Ta!


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