Monday, March 12, 2007

Taming the Wild Yeast

The edible lovechild of wild yeast and my unbridled lust for baked goods.

This bread calls for wild yeast sponge. You cannot buy this in a store. Thus your options are: ask a friend to borrow a cup of their personal starter, or make your own! To catch wild yeast, mix a cup of flour and a cup of water in a bowl and leave out. Each day, "feed" the starter by stirring in another cup of flour and water. After a couple days, you'll see bubbles, but it won't smell like yeast, but rather, sour milk. This is okay-- the first thing you "catch" is bacteria -- incidentally, the same bacteria that is used in cheese and yogurt. Keep feeding the starter, and after a couple days, the bacteria will die off, leaving behind a bunch of lactic acid that makes the starter most attractive to wild yeast. When your starter bubbles next, it will smell sweet and delicious as your favorite bakery. Feed the starter every day, or cover and store in the fridge, feeding once a week. And of course, bake yourself some bread.

Simple Homemade Bread

2 cups wild yeast sponge
1 T sugar
1 T oil
1 tsp salt
"enough" flour to make a soft dough (earlobe test!)

Place dough onto parchment lined or floured baking sheet. Let rise in warmth till double. Slash with knife. Let rise till doubled again. Spritz oven with water to humidify crust. Bake in preheated oven at 350 till golden (about 40 minutes).

A sponge coaxes the flour glutens to develop, rendering a bread as supple and tender as luxury linen. I want to encase myself in this bread. Life is beautiful.


Kit said...

My friend Pete and I went to lunch today and his fortune cookie said, "Love is like a sweet tangerine. Good to the last drop."
After thinking about it for a while, we decided the fortune was completely wrong and that love is better described as "bread".

At first warm, fulfilling, fragrant, hearty, dense or airy,

With the possibility of growing moldy or stale toward the end.
Or in the case of christmas alcohol drenched breads, the possibility of getting better with age.

breasts, abdomens, thighs are plump and sensuous loaves

In fact, I think this has been confirmed by experts on love and its description -- like Neruda.

Making bread = making love

Monica said...

And oh, how I love making bread. ;-)