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Sunday, 15 July 2007

care for some flat bread, anyone?

(click on image for larger view and more photos)

bread JUST as I suspected! (read about premonition here) Flat as pancakes!

Normally, I love flat bread. But only when it’s supposed to be flat bread. Flat bread that is soft and light and maybe a bit crisp on the outside. Not this flatbread, heavy as a brick, hard as a rock…


Now I’m thinking that this time I didn’t let my starter get bubbly enough before trying to use it. The smell of my (non)starter is wonderful – reminiscent of very mild yoghurt – but, as you can see from the photos, the shaped bread just refused to rise.

As some of you know, this is my second attempt. I tried in April when it was still quite cold. (read about the 1st attempt here) The experiment started bubbling and then fizzled out. I blamed it on the cold.

So this week when it was so insanely hot, I thought I’d try again. Like the first time, I began with rye flour, water and a tiny bit of honey. Then after the first day, I switched to using unbleached all-purpose flour and water for feeding. I soon had plenty of bubbles. I thought everything was going correctly. :lalala:

I made the bread; it rose(ish); I shaped it; it lay there and its only movement was to flatten out slightly.


I want to blame it on the sudden cool front that swept in a couple of days ago. The temperature in the kitchen has dropped dramatically from around 27C to about 18C.

But on the same coolish day that I began mixing the natural-starter dough, I also made regular bread, using commercial yeast (active dry) That bread dough rose like a fiend and those loaves are spectacular… no photographic evidence, you’ll have to take my word for it.

bread Hmmm, perhaps I should take up discus throwing….

I do have one good thing to say about the discs: they smell great!! So good that I might even try tasting some. I hope my jaws are strong enough….

I haven’t decided if I’m going to try to get what I thought was a starter to actually change from being a culture to become a starter*. Or if I’m just going go and hide under the bed.

* Susan (Wild Yeast) is an avid bread baker and has just posted about how she captures yeast. It is there that I learned the terms “culture” and “starter”.

edit 12:47 EDT:
I tasted the bread. :boo:It’s not baked through!!:boo: (I tested the inside with a thermometer too and it was well up past 210F in the center.) and talk about sourdough! I’ve decided that I’m going to hide under the bed… :lalala:


If you haven’t already, please read the sometimes grisly history of my hunt for wild yeast:


  • Susan

    Your bread sounds exactly like what mine was like when I tried baking with a culture that wasn’t really mature — the culture had early activity because of a type of bacteria called leuconostoc that produces a lot of gas but isn’t really good to bake with. It eventually gets replaced by the good guys, though.

    Please don’t hide under the bed! I hope you keep going with your culture — I’m pretty sure you can turn it into a starter in time.

  • ejm

    The photos of your recent sourdough bread are so fabulous looking, Susan and I can’t tell you how relieved I am to hear that your first try at using a natural starter failed as well.

    (I might even come out from under the bed to see what I can do with my culture.)

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