Nov 9, 2010

what have i been up to? mad science experiments

i finally did it! i finally got around to starting my own starter. or natural leavening for bread. with the help and handholding and guidance of peter reinhardt, renowned bread expert. i'm onto day five or so of the process. with a few more days and some luck i will be baking pain au levain with my own wild yeasts and bacteria.

why have this strange mixture bubbling on my countertop at room temperature all week? naturally leavened bread keeps longer, uses an overnight slow fermentation process and tastes better (the last one is just my opinion). will let you know how it goes. to make your own starter, the process is really quite simple. unbleached whole wheat flour and unsweetened pineapple juice and spring water. read more about it from the experts here and here. you can keep the starter forever in your refrigerator as long as you care for it, nurture it and refresh it regularly. in other words, frequent, long vacations are not conducive to healthy starter. but i am going to be around for a while, so here goes nothing. it is bubbling away on my counter right now. apparently one is more likely to be successful if one names the starter, as it is easier to remember to feed your starter with flour every few days if you name it fred or something. so the kids and i have been trying to come up with just the right name. so far we've considered: liz lemon, phineas, ferb, goku, vegita, thomas jefferson, flaubert, etc. if you have any great name suggestions, do let me know. by this time next week, fingers crossed, our first loaf. i wonder if the bread will take on the personality of it's namesake? time will tell.

i've been meaning to do this for about a year now and it seemed for the longest time as though i would never get around to it. but here i am, getting around to it. a great winter project i think. how about you? any seasonal projects on your to do list? i am still carrying around a half-finished knitting project from the 1990s, but who knows, maybe i'll get around to that to, one of these days.

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