Sunday, June 21, 2015
Summer Bread Adventures Part 1: Making the sourdough starter
Mr. Boudet is passionate, as you might expect, about bread and
about the provenance of the flour, salt, and even water that he works with. I am not as zealous as he, but he did make a good point which is that good flour gives good bread. So instead of
Mr. Boudet also firmly believes that while yeast has its place, a really good tasty bread needs time and a sourbread starter. All of his breads take a minimum of two days, and most take three. So, clearly patience is a key compenent of bread. I doubt that I have ever been accused of being patient, but the slowness of this process is just what I am after for the summer. So, today I am beginning the 5 day process to make my starter.
What you need:
A glass jar with a lid that will hold about 5 dl (2 cups)
a fork to stir
Put about 1 dl (a bit less than half a cup) of water in the jar. Add
Put a platic bowl over the jar and let it stand in a warm part of the kitchen. Presumably the bowl is to keep bugs and other icky things away.
For the next three days, I will be feeding it every day with more water and flour in the same proportions. I will report back.
The reason that I use both white and rye flours is, well, because Mr. Boudet said so. But I have read, and Mr. Boudet confirms, that you want to have as many little microrganisms in your starter as possible. So ideally, you will use different kinds of flour. Further, you want to definately use the kinds of flour that you will bake with. As I intend to mainly use wheat and rye, then these are the ones I started with. Later I want to try dinkle flour, which is an old fashioned wheat variety as well as some semolina.
Once the starter is ready, then I am going to make a levain which is a breaddough that takes 5 days to make. Then from this levain dough, I will make bread and save some of the dough to use as a starter for the next bread. You can also use the sourdough starter instead of the levain. If you are not making bread at least every other day, Mr Boudet informs me, then it will be better just to use the starter as the levain will go bad. Bread every other day sounds a bit much for our family, but I have lots of neighbors who I am sure wouldn't mind taking care of some of my loaves, assuming that they are any good.
While I wait for ten days, I will be making some other things, among them a baguette which uses regular yeast only takes two days and from which Mr. Boudet makes other things like pizza.
I think the biggest test of this will be whether or not I have enough endurance to bake bread every other day, when I could be lying in the garden or on the beach sleeping.