Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No Casualties to Report

The starter is a wonderful thing. We can crank it up in size for large volume baking, keep it small for the recreational baker, refrigerate it to save ourselves from refreshing it, put it out on the counter for daily use, play with the hydration for amusement, and otherwise treat it like an old ball cap that accumulates character through age and experience. I didn't mistreat my starter, just played with a new rye flour, and it's still in business. Maybe it's not as rambunctious as I'd like but better than I deserve some days.

After surrendering to my whims and buying a bag of wheatMontana AP at WalMart, I just had to bake to see if my memory of the AP that I hadn't used in about 18 months was accurate. I haven't lost my memory, the flour is still very good even if it's a little pricey at $3.76/ 5#. Using a 35g seed from my renewed madre, I built about 165g of 88% starter that hit peak in 9 hours at a room temp of 72F. The madre still needs some tweaking but so far, so good. From there, I went to my usual house loaf.
Because I was a little generous in pouring sunflower oil to grease my fermentation bowl, the dough was looser than I'd intended so I used a 9.25"x 5.25" loaf pan rather than a free standing loaf. Other than my failure to follow my own procedures closely, there wasn't a problem and the bread still tastes good.

With a little bit more nerve or vanity, I could always give the formula a new name but that will have to wait until I try to deliberately recreate the loaf. As it stands right now, I'm off to search for a small loaf to serve with pasta and a meat gravy on Thursday night. There's some leftover semolina flour in a cupboard that may be the inspiration for the new loaf.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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