Sunday, January 16, 2011

Help! I'm a Hostage of Sourdough!

I am being held captive by a colony of yeast.  It's true: I captured them myself about a year or so ago, but I've fed them, nurtured them, kept their home clean.  They've contributed to the occasional flatbread, it's true, but when I asked them to perform a slightly more difficult task (a loaf of sourdough bread), they went on strike.

The sponge
They're alive and well in there..I can tell. Here's what they looked like at noon yesterday. They bubbled away, looking mildly I waited awhile, then added some flour.  And what did they do?

 Not much.  So I went out for the evening, and returned to see this: a little action.

 OK...I took the hint.  I have a slow yeast.  I went to bed.  By the way, my house is rather, um, cool at night. That might be an issue.

 By noon today, this was the state of my sponge.  OK, that's more like it!

 I added some sugar, oil, and salt, and kneaded in the flour a half cup at a time, then left the dough to double in size. Here's the site I'm using for instructions and the recipe.

Do you know I used to bake bread regularly when I was a young woman? Of course, I used commercial yeast and soft white flour. There's not a bit of yeast in this sourdough except for the yeast that is natural to my home environment; this should impart a unique flavor to the bread I bake, a "terior", exactly like the "taste of place" found in fine wines from various regions.  It's also a random blend of the various organic flours I had on hand, all mixed together into a batch. 
I suppose good things are worth waiting for.

It wouldn't rise on the table near the heater; it wouldn't rise on top of the stove, so I put it IN the stove and occasionally turned on the heat for a minute or so.  My dough was unenthusiastic, but eventually it did rise a bit, so I punched it down, then formed a loaf.  That's supposed to double in size before I bake it.

I'm not holding my breath.  It's 6 PM of the NEXT DAY!  How did people survive on this stuff????
And more importantly,
will it be good?????

Epic Fail.

It looks harmless enough. 

It even got nice and brown.  Smelled good, too.

But where are the bubbles, I ask you? Where?  It's like unleavened bread!  Lazy darn yeast!
Well, it's not over, I tell you.
You're trying again.  Starting NOW.  I'm breaking out the heating pad!  Big guns!
I DARE you not to rise!
You're going to do some work around here, darnit!
Just see if you don't!

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