Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Starter Audition

Last Saturday, for the TFL Meet Up in Shawnee, KS, Paul was generous enough to bring several small samples derived from the starter that he cultivated during his assignment in South Africa. While the sample I received was quite firm, probably about 50-60% hydration, it was quite active and released enough gas that it nearly popped the small zip lock bag that contained it before I got back home. I knew I had to bake something with that starter soon. I'm not ecstatic about the resulting loaf because it was one of those try this and try that approach loaves so that was my own doing. I certainly do like the flavor of the sample so I'm going to use some more to do a three stage build to get the yeast beasts rolling for my loaf for Saturday and use the discards in my pizza crust for Friday. I found some excellent Scimeca medium heat Italian bulk sausage at the Price Chopper in Platte City, MO so I'm locked into the pizza project.

25g SA starter seed
50g room temperature water
61g 85% organic AP/ 15% whole rye flour mix

100g water
100g white whole wheat flour

280g bread flour
20g whole rye flour
176g water at 85F
9g kosher salt
15g molasses
30g wheat germ
All of Starter
All of Soaker

Despite my guessing at how much extra water I needed to compensate for the starter appearing to be somewhere near 75% and the wheat germ, I didn't get as open a crumb as I was trying for. Perhaps my expectations of the starter's leavening strength with a single build after sitting in the fridge for four days were overly optimistic. After baking so few loaves with wheat germ in the mix, I can't say that I know its behavior. Still, the flavor is fine, probably as good as using the starter I already have so there's no loss except for the birds in the yard. They won't be getting their beaks into this bread.

I checked on the volunteer cilantro plant that I found in the yard and wrote about back on 01 January. It's still there and alive. There hasn't been any significant snowfall so far this year and no extremely cold temperatures yet so it survives. There are some daffodils starting to send up their first leaves, about three weeks early.

My copy of "Inside the Jewish Bakery" by Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg has finally arrived and after a quick scanning of the first two chapters, I'm definitely looking forward to reading it through to the end. I don't know how many breads I'll be baking from this book but I expect that I won't have  many reasons to fall back on my "easy" loaves this year. I have the County Fair's blue ribbon for rye breads on my mind.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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