Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over

I bake all my own bread. Have for years. Enjoy it immensely. Usually I use yeast, but occasionally I switch over to leaven, until I can't take it anymore. I don't know about anyone else, but I find maintaining a starter to be exhausting. Last night I fed my sour dough starter and left it on a sideboard. This morning a huge pool of starter spread across the wood. Totally my fault. Too small a bowl. I couldn't be bothered to clean out the larger bowl that had the remains of another starter in it. It's a real mother of a thing keeping a starter. (Bakers will get that joke. And doubtless, it's been told a million times.)

The bread made from leaven is so much tastier than that made from yeast in my opinion. So when you feel like getting your hands into some baking for a while, this is the way to go. Or, if you need to bake bread everyday for your large crowd.

Here is the result of a loaf made with this starter. It's Chad Robertson's Country Bread recipe from his book, Tartine Bread, a book I got for Christmas this year. The way the recipe is written, it is clear that Robertson's purpose is to train bakers to think about baking using ratios. It's not the easiest thing to follow. I find myself rereading the paragraphs over and over looking for where I left off, and where to pick up the next step. The cause may be the book design itself. Nonetheless, if you persevere, you will get an exceptional loaf well worth the effort.

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