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After weeks of angst with babying my jar of wild yeast, feeling I would never be able to bake a loaf of bread that WASN’T sour (not to mention the several times I was going to throw in the towel altogether), I have achieved my goal.
How do I know? Here are the words from my main critic the other night at dinner as six of us demolished both loaves:
T: (thrilled) You nailed it! When are you making this bread again?
Not only was it not too sour; it wasn’t sour at all! And it was light!! Light as a feather!!
And here’s how I did it: I virtually started over with feeding. Early in the year, I experimented with a two day feeding schedule of
- 1 tsp wild sludge
- 2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp water
That wasn’t really satisfactory. I wasn’t getting the bubbles; the smell was largely like yoghurt and the starter was breaking up into alcohol rather quickly.
So some time in March or so, I brought the thing out of the fridge and returning to McKenna Grant’s original formula, and started a twice a day regimen:
- 2 Tbsp wild sludge
- 3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp water
And kept at it for days until finally finally, it began to look like a real starter again.
Now the question is whether I’ll be able to repeat the success.
based on the recipe for basic sourdough in Piano Piano Pieno by Susan McKenna Grant
- wild yeast starter
- all purpose unbleached flour
- Day before Baking – Morning Take 2 Tbsp of wild yeast starter (discard the rest) and stir in 2 Tbsp water and 3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour . Cover and leave in a warm draftfree spot (counter in summer, oven with only light turned on in winter) til midday.
- Day before Baking Midday The mixture should have doubled and there should be lots of bubbling. Take 2 Tbsp of above mixture (reserve the rest to add to focaccia, naan, muffins, anything that doesn’t HAVE to rise). Stir in 2 Tbsp water and 3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour. Cover and leave… etc.
- Day before Baking Evening Stir ⅓ c (85ml) water and ⅔ c (170ml) unbleached all-purpose flour into ALL of the above mixture. Cover and leave… etc.
- Baking Day Morning The mixture should have doubled and be a bubbling mass.
Reserve a portion for future bread making: Take 2 Tbsp of above mixture (reserve the rest for making bread) and stir in 2 Tbsp water and 3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour. Cover and leave for 2 hours on the counter. Put it into a covered glass jar and store in refrigerator. (Every 3 days: take 2 Tbsp of the refrigerated mixture – discard the extra – and stir in 2 Tbsp water and 3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour. Cover and leave for 1 hour on the counter before putting back into refrigerator. To use the refrigerated starter for baking, begin at step #1.)Note:
*Tap water is fine to use – just make sure that it has stood for at least 12 hours so that the chlorine has dissipated.