Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bread things

In response to Spike's question about bread, in addition to the usual stuff I also use a yeast starter, also variously known as "biga" (Italian speak), "poolish" (American speak), "sponge" (British speak). Which basically is flour with water and a tiny bit of yeast, that has been allowed to ferment (typically) overnight. I keep a jar in my fridge. I add some in my ingredients each time I mix a dough, then replenish it with more flour and water, and stick it back in the fridge. As you can see it contains lots of tiny air bubbles, from the yeast slowly multiplying in the fridge over night (sometimes days):

And this is the kind of consistency it has:

It has a lovely acidic smell, and its function is to add flavour to the bread, and to reduce the amount of instant or active yeast that you need.

This below, is a jar of cooked pig's brains:

Actually it is a jar of sourdough starter I keep in the fridge. Be warned: making a sourdough takes A VERY LONG TIME. From refreshing the starter to the finished product, about three days.

You must think I am some kind of bread fanatic, or just a tad obsessed with breadmaking. My mother-in-law appears to thinks so. This book arrived in the post from her, today, unsolicited:

See the size of it? It's bigger than my study bible. Very likely cost more to send than to buy.

And the flour, depending on what kind of bread I am making, I use Waitrose's organic strong bread flour as well as its plain flour, wholemeal flour, White Wings plain flour, Golden Statue.... all available in my local PnS. Citysuper in IFC has an excellent range of flours, and yeasts, for the more adventurous (and with deeper pockets).

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