Sunday, May 19, 2013

Starting a Starter

After reading Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread I decided to try his recipe for wild yeast bread starter. The book is a bread lover's bible filled with not only bread recipes but how Robertson developed his love and passion for bread. The process is relatively simple, just requiring attention and care. 

"Developing a starter begins with making a culture. A culture is created when flour and water are combined, and the microorganisms-wild yeasts and bacteria present in the flour, in the air, and on the baker's hands-begin to ferment spontaneously. After fermentation begins, the baker "feeds" the culture regularly to "train" it into a lively and predictable starter. 

1) Mix 5 pounds of bread flour-half white and half whole wheat. You will use this 50/50 flour blend to feed your culture and develop your starter....Fill a small, clear bowl halfway with lukewarm water. Add a handful of the 50/50 blend to the water and mix with your hands to achieve the consistency of a thick batter with no lumps. Use a dough spatula to clean the clumps off your hands and tide the inside of the bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place in a cool, shaded spot for 2 to 3 days. 

2) After 2 to 3 days, check the culture to see if any bubbles have formed around the sides and on the surface. If the seems inactive, let it sit for another day or two....

3) To feed the culture, discard about 80 percent of it. Replace the discarded portion with equal amounts of water and the 50/50 flour blend. Mix to combine just as you did in step 1. You have now begun training your culture into a starter." 45-46

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