Welcome to another round of sourdough. After my first documented attempt (here), I think it’s safe to say that I had some struggles with my starter. And by struggles, I mean a full fledged love/hate relationship. Like the one that develops when you buy a new dog, and it won’t stop peeing indoors, no matter how many times you show it the nice soft grass outside. Yeah, like that. So while this could just be another post about bread #30 in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, I’m also going to talk about the new wild yeast starter that showed up at my door.
When Nicole (Pinch My Salt) started putting the word out about the BBA Challenge, it seemed the twitter and blog world really jumped on board. But like most good intentions, the actual labour required to finish the book, and the subsequent challenge, was more than many could handle. So after a year, it seems the hundreds of excited bodies that forged into the first recipe, has been whittled down to a small and tight group; and of that, I can only think of 4 or 5 people that have actually finished. I’d like to think if my on-again, off-again relationship with wild yeast wasn’t so tumultuous, I’d be right there in the mix.
However, good things come to those who persevere right. So after a conversation with Phyl at Of Cabbages & King Cakes, it looked like I was going to be the proud adopted parent of a dried wild yeast starter. That’s right, a package of white powder (anthrax anyone!) was going to make it’s way from the middle of America to my door. Lucky for me, the trip went without a hitch. Although I think the U.S. Postal Service was bribed into leaving my package alone with all the extra postage Phyl attached.
The instructions that were included with my starter were simple, and remained just as straight forward throughout the incubation process. Yet, as I added water and flour each day, I started to have doubts. What if I couldn’t maintain my fatherly abilities? What if my little American baby took a nose dive off the counter? Would I have to bring in a baby monitor? So many questions were rolling about in the head, that I was going bread crazy. Deciding to take a cue from my Moksha practice, I took a deep breath and let nature takes its course.
Eventually it was time to build the starter into a larger barm in which to work with. And to my surprise, it reacted exactly how wild yeast should. Within a few hours, my little starter could easily double..it was ready. So with high hopes, I decided to stick with a basic sourdough bread recipe. The first and second rise went like clockwork. Needing to wait a day to bake everything, I shaped the dough and shoved it into the fridge. The next day I fired up the oven, poured my steam bath and voila. In a word, fantastic. The crumb was airy, soft, moist and tangy. I ended up slicing the second loaf for sandwiches and toast, before freezing for later use. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but if I can make this work, the last few loaves in the BBA Challenge are going to be delicious!!
*special thank you to Phyl for his support and kind offer; thank you.