Archive for April, 2008


Sunday, April 20th, 2008

It was finally warm enough this weekend to begin cultivating a sourdough starter.  I put two cups of filtered water – at 120° F – and two cups of bread flour, by volume – because it doesn’t matter, in a Pyrex bowl.  That went on a dinner tray on my balcony covered with a paper plate punched full of holes.  It sat out there for six hours – after which time it was bubbling just a little, then came inside and sat in the sink overnight.  Now it’s rising like crazy and bubbling and fermenting.  I can definitely smell the yeast and attendant bacteria; the thing smells like sourdough and pretty good sourdough at that.

It’ll be a day or too before I know whether I picked up any nasty bugs that’ll make the sponge inedible. So far it looks like a success.  My house kind of stinks, now, though.  That’s a typical, temporary side effect of growing a starter; it’ll stop stinking in a day or two.  That’s pretty much the same time that I either throw the stuff away or pour it into jars and tuck it in the fridge.

Good times!

Fluffy, Beautiful, Airy Bread

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

You can’t see it, though, because my camera is broken.  This time I made every mistake I know, but the bread blew up beautifully and tastes wonderful.  I have an idea that I made a couple of my classic mistakes more intelligently than usual.  I don’t care to elaborate right now (I ended up doing long rises in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature – oops, elaboration), but I’ll come back with more thoughts after my next loaf, which should be made this weekend, since I’m probably taking the rest of this one to work.

Shelly smells like maple and sausage – so that’s normal. Ciaran smells like a memory of cappuccino.

Also, Ciaran’s tail is broken or bruised or something.  It’s healing up very well and he still has feeling/mobility to the length of it.  There’s a crook in it, now, about four inches from the base.  That was hurting him earlier in the week, but it seems to be a non-issue, now.  He doesn’t complain when I touch it, and it’s moving more or less like a tail – go figure.  My big indicators are he still grooms it all the way to the end, it’s warm, and the end waves like grass in a gentle breeze.  Any of that stops and I’ll worry.