Saturday, August 28, 2010

Adventures in Sourdough

Since my kombucha scoby died, i have been looking for a bacterial pet to replace it with.  Sourdough seems like the perfect alternative. I was intimidated by the thoughtof the creating my own starter.  Just leaving out a bowl of flour and water seems too risky.  What if i started cultivating a flesh eating bacteria  on accident?  I read about a grape  starter in julia child's "cooking with the masters."

The really slow food movement

I started in july with a bag of unwashed grape and some flour and water.  I tore up a pillow case , and put the grapes in a bowl along with flour and water.  I let it sit for six  days.  Since we were having a cold snap, i set the bowl on a heating pad, set to the lowest setting.  I wasn't able to get to the starter immediately so it languished in the fridge for a week.  Needless to say, the odor was strange -- a combination of fart gas and fruitful. And it was a deep mauve  color. The original recipe called for feeding the starter for 3 days and then making a dough with yeast.  Adding yeast seems counter intuitive.  I was attracted sourdough because it meant i didn't have to use commercially prepared yeast.  It's also called for using  a large food processor. I didn't have one so i chose instead to use my mom's standing mixer. The resulting dough was stiff, barely mixed, lumpy and nearly unworkable. I added more water and kneaded it for a long time and finally produced a workable  dough.  Although the recipe stated the dough would be wet, my ball was on the dry side. The resulting bread was sour yet dense. Not quite hockey puck, but heavier than I wanted. 

Even Slower

I found another recipe on the nets for a 100% sourdough bread.  It called for not one, but two sponges, for a total of three more days of fermentation.  I finally

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