Saturday, October 2, 2010
Success at Last
I've had regular, yeasted bread down cold for a long time, but lately I've been trying to make bread with wild yeast - with homemade starter. I have two starters I'm maintaining: a sourdough starter I began several weeks ago with just flours and water, the second was given to me by Mark Stambler from the starter he uses to make his famous Silver Lake bread.
At one point my sourdough starter, which was originally very bubbley, appeared to have given up the ghost. I fed it anyway, and added about 1/4 cup of Mark's starter. It began to bubble again, but this time with very fine and subtle bubbles, like champagne.
Over the last weeks I've made a half dozen loaves and they've all been spectacular failures - inedible and unsalvagable. Today my luck turned. I used the recipe in Kelly Coyne and Eric Knutzen's book "The Urban Homestead." I followed it fairly closely, though speeded it up a little being that the weather is so warm. What resulted is the bread above - comprised of sourdough starter, flour, salt, and water. I cannot tell you how pleased I am. The flavor is deep and complex, the texture varied and open, the crumb is moist but light and the crust is hard. It's perfect.
I think I haven't been cooking my bread long enough, and perhaps the ambient temperature was not warm enough for it to ferment properly.
Many thanks to Mark Stambler, Kelly Coyne, Eric Knutzen, and all the little microbes out there that made this bread possible.