Sunday, November 18, 2007

Keep the Love Alive
Alright, now just keep feeding your little starter everyday or second day for as long as you can, repeating the procedure of 1/4 cup starter, 3 tablespoons water and 2/3 cup flour (discarding or baking with the remaining starter)kneaded into a stiff dough.
I have made bread from my starter and was pleasantly surprised by the results. (I am eating it right now, and I would be in such trouble if any in the house knew I was eating shattering bread crust bread while over the keyboard)
Sorry Glezer, for some reason I wasn't confident about how well the starter and bread recipe would work. And lord knows, I did not follow the recipe exactly near the end...I over proofed the bread by about 10 hours, (had wine with dinner thereby letting the dough rise overnight!) but because the starter was a little slow, the dough only deflated slightly when I put it on the baking stone.
I will write the rest of the recipe tonight.
Really wish I had pictures to post of my loaf.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

That's It For The Starter
Alright, I fed the starter again, made it into a very stiff dough using the same process as the last. This weekend I'll test its mettle and make some bread.
So sorry there have been no pictures. The new camera that we bought to replace the broken one has mysteriously vanished. Bit of a concern since it cost more than the last. How does one lose a new camera? We hadn't even taken it out of the house yet.
Considering someone just stole our car stereo in the middle of the day in the Science World parking lot, I have the horrible feeling that someone stepped in the door and snitched it under our noses.
Vancouver has a ridiculous level of small crime. Actually, its not too shabby on organized crime either.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Feeding Time
Last night I fed the Glezer starter again. All you need to do is repeat the last step...reserve 1/4 cup of starter, (discard the rest)add 3 tablespoons water, stir to dissolve and then add 2/3 of a cup unbleached flour. Knead to a stiff dough and let sit covered for one to two days.
I did get a very faint greying of the skin on the starter. Perhaps if I had let the starter ferment the full 48 hours it would have gotten darker. Since we only use a fraction of the starter, I just made sure I used the fresh looking sponge from the middle of the dough. It didn't smell particularly bad, just a little sour-ish.
I am addicted to the Free Rice site. Even the kids are on it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Alright everyone, check this out!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Feeding Time Already!
Looked at my starter this morning and thought ' hmm, if this was my recipe it would be ready to be fed again." But it isn't my recipe.
I have waited until at least 24 hours have gone by, (ok, I think its been 20), but I think this starter needs to be fed. This morning it was still domed with tiny bubbles that I could hear crackling just a little when I pulled off the lid of the glass bowl.
The starter is now a slightly deflated, flattened mass that smells a little skanky in a fairly inoffensive way. So I shall continue with Glezer's instructions. Keep in mind that I have not gone the two days as she has mentioned in her recipe.
I still have not gotten a grey skin on top of the starter like one of the listers to the Almanac show managed to grow...that is still puzzling me. I'm still standing by my hunch to that the problem - mould in the flour.
The Fifth Day, Third Starter
1/4 cup fermented starter
3 tablespoons lukewarm water
2/3 cup unbleached bread flour
Measure the amount of fermented starter you need and discard the rest. Dissolve it in the water then add the flour and mix into a fairly firm dough. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and let the dough ferment until it is sticky and slightly expanded, one to two days.
After a day, the starter will appear not to be fermenting at all. But if you smell it, it will smell very sour, and if you pull it open with floured fingers. it will be very gooey, extensible and riddled with tiny air bubbles.

Friday, November 09, 2007

It's Feeding Time
This starter of Glezer's is quite different from others I have tried. I was sure nothing was happening, but after numerous pokes and sniffs, I decided it was time to give my little mound of rye starter its first "feed". By the end of day two it had changed from a sticky pile of flour and water to a slightly flattened, mud-like consistency. When I gently pulled a fork across the surface it made an almost crinkling sound. Ahhhh, the sound of tiny air-bubbles.
I should say that Glezer suggests that the starter should "bubble up, smell and look awful". All things being relative my version looked and smelled pretty dam good. Perhaps Glezer just hasn't been subjected to the plethora of truly foul, neglected starters that those who live with me can attest to. (All in the name of science, or baking, I say.)

The Third Day: Mixing the second starter
2/3 cup unbleached white flour
Mix the flour into the first starter, forming a firm dough and transfer it to a clean nonreactive container. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let it ferment for one or two days. When it is very sticky and riddled with tiny bubbles, it is ready to refresh. It will have very little aroma and will not rise very much, if at all.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Here is a question I received shortly after the Almanac Show. The listener was having trouble with a starter from Maggie Gleezer’s book Artisan Baking.
The listener writes; “At each stage the starter developed a grey, mouldy-looking crust on top. Each time I refreshed it I removed the crust but it developed again after two days. At the end of two weeks (about six or seven refreshings) the starter still didn’t rise much so I gave up and threw it out. Is the grey on top normal? Does it mean there is unwanted bacteria in the starter?”
One of the best tricks I have learned about starters...I think it was from Reinharts book, is that when you refresh a starter, you need to have a small ratio of starter to the flour water ratio. If there is too much starter it grows to quickly and literally eats all the "food" you have provided with the flour and water. So I started adding cups of water and flour to my starters, then having way too much starter kicking around my fridge. So now I use a tablespoon or two of starter for a cup of flour and water. It always seems easier for me to turn this into a larger starter over a day or two rather than be discarding cups and cups of the frothy stuff everyday....I don't have many friends who want their own starters. But don't try storing starter in the tablespoon quantities. Always have about a cup (or more) made. If you have made it fresh, give it an hour or so at room temperature to get the yeast and enzymes a good start...I always picture them as eating, and they can't have a good feed if they start cold. Store that in the fridge if you aren't using it and then refresh it at least once, (three times seems to be the magic number for a nice vigorous starter, but I always use it after the first feeding because I am not thinking three refreshings ahead of time in my life right now!)
The other question regarding bad bacteria...hmm. I've only had starters go mouldy from neglect. If I refresh them regularly they have not gotten mouldy. Greyish, yes. I wonder if there could have been mould in the flour.
I am not sure if the above information will solve the listeners problem, so I am going to make the starter my self.
This starter takes seven to fourteen days to make, and I will write the recipe down in pieces…starting with day one right now.
The First Day
Mixing the First Starter
½ cup water, lukewarm
¾ cup whole rye flour
Mix the water and rye in a nonreactive bowl and tightly cover it with plastic wrap, or transfer it to a sealed glass or plastic jar. Let stand for about two days. It should bubble up, smell and look awful, and then subside. At this point it is ready to refresh.
Well, I’m off to start the starter. I’ll be back in two days to let you know if it got the grey, mouldy-looking skin.

Great question! and thanks for listening to the show,