Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dum, da-dum, dumb...

Who could possibly look around at a massive city-wide infestation of fruit flies, coupled with the first miserable heat wave of the summer (granted, I have a low tolerance for heat; it's only in the high 20's, and already I'm suffering), coupled with our kitchen's propensity to breed spores of unwanted things... and say, "I think I'll make sourdough!"
 
Okay, the timing's not great.
 
But here's why, just to justify it a bit.
#1, I do bake bread more than average and have wanted to do sourdoughs for a while.
#2, I haven't found a kosher bakery in town here offering sourdough bread (granted, I haven't looked that hard, but I don't know of any), and my sister said that is the best, nay, only way to get starter with a good provenance.
#3, I did buy a tasty sourdough-herb-olive loaf at the sole kosher bakery in Calgary - yum!
#4, I begged the bakery guy for a little takeout container of starter - about a cup's worth.
#5, we have been back from Calgary for one week tomorrow.
 
So the timing isn't wonderful, but I didn't want the starter to just sit languishing in the fridge until cooler weather arrived... PLUS, I wanted to make sure it was viable.  PLUS, who wouldn't want homemade yummy crusty Sourdough French Bread for Shabbos???
 
So, overboard as always, I now have sitting on top of the fridge - well covered with clean dishtowels and elastic bands! - the following:
1)  Sourdough Starter "A" - half of the Calgary batch, taken out on Monday and fed every day (some days twice a day)
2)  Sourdough Starter "B" - B is for backup; this is the other half of the Calgary batch, taken out on Tuesday and fed twice a day
3)  "Challah" French Bread Starter - made from Starter "A," proofing for tomorrow's mixing of the recipe, according to Step 15 here.
 
And so the fruit flies hover, assuming innocently that I am preparing treats for them...
 
ALL the sourdoughs smell lovely, by the way.  I hate the word sour because our language has no word for "fermenty," so we use sour, which has connotations of ROT and DECAY as opposed to "the natural breakdown of inedible things (raw flour) into yummy things."  (fermented things are among the first and still most-clever "domestications" in human history:  beer, bread, cheese, soy sauce, miso, etc).
 
P.S.  I offered my mother some of the then-overflowing starter and she said (after a pause which meant, "what kind of an idiot have I raised???") "Well, I don't do much baking in the summertime."  Okay, then!

2 comments:

  1. I don't know you, but I have been trying to cultvate my own yeast sourdough for weeks with no luck. How you succeeded with your experiments?

    =Amber

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  2. Hi, Amber! Top be honest, I have never started sourdough from scratch.

    In my case, I used a bit of pre-made starter that I got from a bakery. I had about half to 3/4 of a cup; you don't need much, and many artisan bakeries are happy to share the wealth!

    However, there are many good recipes online for starting your own with powdered yeast. If you mix it together with flour and water (some recipes also call for a bit of sugar), there's no reason it wouldn't start to puff up after a couple of days.

    I found a good video a couple of weeks ago about starting sourdough using pineapple juice, which apparently gives the yeast a bit of a boost. That might be worth a try, but I can't locate the video at the moment. :-(

    Hope this helps a bit!

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