Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Capturing Wild Yeasts

Well, this has been an interesting 7 days..... I started a sourdough culture last week, and for the last 6 days I've been diligently getting rid of half of it and then  feeding it with fresh flour and water.

After 4 days I became increasingly suspicious that I was doing something obvious slightly not-to-form, as I could see the starter was reasonably active (lots of tiny bubbles in the jar) but the starter kept having a large collection of liquid on the top. Like this:

hmmmm.... what am i doing wrong?

I put a post up on the forum at the most excellent website that is www.thefreshloaf.com and promptly discovered my starting error from the responses I got: I had been feeding my starter equal volumes of water and flour... Should have been equal weights! This is the curse of being someone afflicted with the trait of reading cookbooks much too quickly.

So after straining off the excess liquid and topping up with a proportionally drier feed, it quickly found its balance and  within a few hours looked like this - the red line indicating where it was after feeding.

nice & active
So I mixed up a sponge (250g flour, 300ml water & a nice ladleful of starter) & left that overnight, & then in the morning I added a further 300g of flour, 12g salt & kneaded it for 10 mins. I found the dough to be a little dry so I kept adding small handfuls of  water until it felt stickier.

After this the dough was tightened into a ball & left for an hour, depressed, & repeated again.

Then the dough was left for it's final prove.... this is described as being "anywhere between 1 & 4 hrs" in the book I was referring too. In the end I left mine 3 1/2 hours just because any longer would have interfered with other plans in my day, & I had a good feeling about things by this point anyway.

After this is was a little spray of water to the top, a quick dusting of flour, slashing & then in the oven. 10 mins at 250c & then another 25mins at 180c. 

Very happy with the results!! 

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