When I pulled the cover off the container this morning, I panicked.
Whaaaa??? NO foam?! And virtually no smell at all. Does this mean failure already?
-me, OUR kitchen
But I panicked too soon. When I started removing 80% to go ahead and feed it anyway, I saw that there was a skin and that below, the sludge was bubbling and smelled a little of yoghurt. And looking back at the above photo, it was clear that it had risen and fallen.
I took 20gm of the sludge and hand-mixed in 26gm water and 26gm 50/50 wholewheat/all-purpose flour. Then I added another little splash of water because it seemed awfully thick.
Just after breakfast, I took a peek under the cloth and the sludge is bubbling and bubbling and bubbling! Whoohoooooo! Why on earth did I think it had died?!
But there’s one thing that is bugging me. I don’t know how to tell that it’s ready to make bread. It’s pretty much the same problem I had before. And it seems like it’s one of those “you need to know the answer before you can ask the question”. Even though Robertson claims that it’s all really easy. Oh sure. Really easy when you know how….
The process is simple. […] The thought, borne out by our test bakers, is that anyone can pick up this book and make a good loaf of bread using this chapter alone. […]
Note how the aroma of the starter changes from stinky and sharply acidic to sweet and milky just after the feeding, when the starter is at the freshest or youngest stage in the cycle. “Fresh” and “young” are expressed and understood here in two ways: 1. the sweet stage of ripeness having been fed the normal 20 percent inoculations (2 to 4 hours) and 2. and/or many more hours (4 to 8) after having been fed using a very small inoculation (5 percent), yet still at the same sweet ripe stage. When your starter ferments predictably – rising and falling after feeding – you are ready to prepare a leaven and mix your first bread dough.
-Chad Robertson, Basic Country Bread, Tartine Bread, p. 42, 46
I have read and re-read over and over those two points about “fresh and young”. Maybe I’m trying to read too much into it.
But. I. Don’t. Get. What. He’s. Trying. To. Tell. Me.
I think I understand the final sentence though and that the sludge is ready for building into a leaven. I just looked and it seems to be pretty close to double what it was this morning (I keep forgetting to make a mark on the side of the container directly after mixing…).
So. Pretending that I’ve never even seen that part about “fresh and young” (why would I suddenly decide at this late stage that I should learn to actually read a recipe?), I’m thinking that tonight, I will build it up and attempt to turn it into an actual wild yeast starter.
Remember I said that we didn’t have any photographic evidence of yesterday‘s pancakes? Well, I was only half correct.
We didn’t have any photos of MY pancakes that I had with goat cheese, honey and sliced banana. But when I went to fetch the photos of today’s sludge out of the camera, there was a lovely shot of T’s pancakes with butter, maple syrup and perfectly cooked bacon. Don’t they look fabulous?
Oooh, let’s have pancakes again!!
Tartine Yeast Capture Experiment:
- Day 1: Creating a Culture …Again
- Day 3: It’s Alive!!
- Day 5: Oh oh… it appears to be working
- Day 6: Attention! Attention! There is NO cause for alarm!
- Day 8: 1st Attempt at Tartine Bread: Looks good, doesn’t it?