Saturday, December 19, 2009

Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head

So.. I've been a bit under the weather.  A long-term cold has had me rather out of my mind.  As such, I'll be a little late on the posts.  But rest assured, I have things a-hatching.

The holiday baking is pretty much out the door this year.  It wouldn't be the first year thats happened, but I had hoped to get a few things out, and just haven't.  Once I get around to one particular family-favorite cookie, I'll post about that since it is rather unique.

As for bread, I have my ingredients together for Bagels, but I just haven't had time and mental clarity to put them together yet.  Soon, I say. :-)  I have been keeping track of my sour dough starter, however, and am rather pleased that the barm is doing well.

Once I'm back up "on my feet", I'll bring you more entertaining tales of my attempts at culinary greatness.

So until we meet again, happy cooking, and keep your flour in the bowl!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

BBA: Adventures in Babysitting - Sour Dough Starter

So at the risk of jumping ahead a bit, I opted to try to build a sour dough starter to work with my Artos bread and any upcoming need.

Following the instructions in the book, I progressed with what worked out to be a thick, sweet-smelling lump that had no apparent lift. At least, it was too thick to show it had lift.

I opted to feed it again, and upped the water content just a tad to loosen it up a little, and ended up watching it burst forth.  I halved and fed it again, and at that point, it just up and fizzled.  Sydney, as I had anthropomophically named the starter, just kinda blew her reserves and left me with what was distinctly not a good smelling result.  Down the sink she went, sadly.

Upon trying again, I ended up accidentally leaving my Day 1 concoction out an extra day, and the most amusing looking thing happened.

The recipe from the book to build the starter begins rather dry and solid.  There is just enough moisture to bring it together.  On Day 2 of Day 1's ingredients, I noticed the surface of the dough-lump pock marked where bubbles had burst at the surface.  It was strange to see.  And looking at the spots where the starter was up against the clear container, I did see bubbles forming.

Encouraged by this, I halved Sarah, and fed her, and she doubled in size easily!  She was frothy and gooey and doing wonderful things and smelling as a proper starter should smell.

Giving her a chance to settle in and double again, she produced nicely, so I rolled her into the barm recipe, and let it sit its requisite 4 hours.

Frothing nicely, I fridged it for its 3 days of rest, and when it came time to feed, Barney was doing very well.  Nothing quite like the yeasty/soury scent of dough just dying to be used.

I fed him and let him sit, and then fridged him for another 3 to make sure we're doing well.  So far, so good.

I'm going to feed him tonight, and then prep dough for some bread on Friday.  Looking forward to it!