Howdy, just imagine a world without bread, if you can. Boring, right? Nothing to spread butter on, or put a tasty piece of cold (or hot) meat between, bend around a hot dog, or sop up gravy with. Sounds downright dull. For the most part I live in a bread free country, sure I can get it, the wonder bread type, but a nice hearty loaf of the stuff, the kind you’d get in New York, even if it’s mediocre, is the king of breads compared to what you get around here.
Sad, isn’t it?
Last time I told you about some sourdough starter I made. Easy, really, just a few spoon fulls of flour and equal parts pineapple juice in a glass jar and after a day or two you’ve got yourself the beginnings of a nice wild yeast culture. Yes, the wild stuff–the kind that floats in the air, or is already present in the flour. You just harness it, feed it, love it, sing sweet songs to it, and after a few days you’ll have a culture to bake with. So, what did you think, in the old days-like Christopher Columbus time–they went to the local mega store and bought instant yeast in a nice foil package? No, they made their own, a leavening agent that made the bread rise.
Rise!!!! My wife was skeptical, after a few days she didn’t see a difference in my glass jar and said it had a sour smell. I said good, that means it’s working, and added more flour and some juice, and said something sweet to it, kissing the jar before I put it away.
After day five, it looked pretty good, so I figured I’d take it for a spin and see if it worked. I added a 1/2 cup of sourdough starter (my starter), 2 cups of flour and a cup of water to a bowl, mixed it well and set it out (covered) on the counter top before I went to bed. Morning, couldn’t wait to see how it was doing, like a mad scientist, or a kid at Christmas I took the stairs two at a time to see what I had.
WOW, worked, it seemed, nice and bubbly, looks like dough, then added a tablespoon of sugar, 30 grams of butter, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the additional cup of flour (used some whole wheat stuff), kneading the dough for about 8 minutes, and had a nice ball of dough, placing it in a bowl, covered it and crossed my fingers.
Please work! Work! I said all that sweet stuff, fed you, even kissed your jar home…Crazy.
Well, here is the end results, and I am happy to report my dough did double in size, and then after another hour my loaves were ready for the oven. My experiment with bread starter worked like it should have worked, success is sweet, the bread was good, and my experiment in Thai sourdough bread starter had a happy ending.
p.s.–I heard this won’t work in a bread machine, and the 2nd rise I’d wait at least 2, or better 3 hours before you shape the dough, another hour after that, but it’s worth it.