What? No Pictures?? – Thanksgiving Fare

summary: nope, no pictures; bread for sandwiches; how to tell if your wild starter is ready; bubbles are NOT the key; float test is essential; substitutions in “punkin pie”; who says you can’t have pie for breakfast?

Before we had the camera, I didn’t let lack of images stop me from droning on. So, now that we have the camera, why should that change? So. Images or not, drone on, I will – me, blog from OUR kitchen, 15 December 2009

Late last night, I built up our Jane Mason whole wheat starter to mix Tartine bread today. Because tomorrow is Thanksgiving Dinner. Which means that the Monday is (yay my favourite!!) Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner Sandwich Day.

J’adore Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner sandwiches (almost exactly the same as Leftover Christmas Dinner sandwiches), with their filling of roast chicken (not turkey – ew!), dressing, oven-roasted parsnips, cranberry sauce, and curly kale salad (if there’s any left over). Oh, yes, and don’t forget to add a little mustard mayonnaise on the buttered bread….

But, I’m losing track of why I’m at the keyboard. This morning, I pulled the leaven out of the oven with only the light turned on to see that it was bubbly. And a little bit concave on the surface.

I was pretty sure that it would NOT float.

I finally understood that I needed to do the Float Test. This was really brought home to me a couple of weeks ago when one of my sisters was visiting. I was showing off to her about how essential the Float Test is. After we admired the starter wildly bubbling, I filled a small bowl with water and proudly said, “watch!” as I dropped a bit from a fork into the water. Being the expert that I am, I was positive it was going to float. The starter immediately sank like a stone. I couldn’t have been more surprised! […]
All this time, because of relying on my eyes and looking for bubbles galore, it turns out that I was letting the starter overfeed.
– me, blog from OUR kitchen | Wild Bread Notes (or… KISS)
[It] might be the case that your starter is rising, but you’re not there to see it. If you feed at night, it might be rising up while you’re asleep, and by morning it has fallen again, so it looks the same.
– Donna Currie, Serious Eats | Sourdough Starter Frequently Asked Questions

This cannot be reiterated enough in our kitchen.

We’re slow learners, but we have finally grasped this notion.

Now, I’m thinking that if the bubbles are visible, it’s an indication that all that feeding is pretty much done. The sludge in the bowl has licked the platter clean; it is finished dining and is in the process of resting quietly on the chesterfield, resting its hands on its belly and burping out zillions of little bubbles.

However, happily for us, the starter’s hunger appears to be unquenchable. It is a little like fish. If more food is introduced, it will just keep eating and eating and eating until there is no more.

The most reliable indication that your leaven is ready is if it floats in water, a result of the carbon dioxide gas produced by wild yeast activity. To test the readiness of your leaven, drop a spoonful of it into a bowl of moderate room-temperature water. If it sinks, it is not ready to use and needs more time to ferment and ripen. […] [Feed] the leaven. […] Let the new mixture ferment until it passes the float test
-Chad Robertson, Tartine Bread, p45-47

This morning, when the leaven did NOT pass the float test, I stirred in a spoonful of flour and a sploosh of water. We sat out on the front porch to have our morning toast and coffee. (Actually, it was morning punkin pie and coffee because this is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada – and yes, of course we served the pie with whipped cream!) But the time we were bringing our dishes inside, the leaven passed the float test. Yay. We will be baking bread this evening!

Punkin Pie

A couple of years ago, as we were happily admiring the beautiful fall display of pumpkins, butternut, and pepper squashes, one of our friends came by, asking excitedly if we were going to make “punkin pie”. She really did say “punkin”. As far as I know, she’s not given to using cutesy names for food.

But her joy about the idea of “punkin pie” was so infectious that we can’t call it anything else.

We especially can’t call this year’s anything but punkin pie. Because this year, the filling was made with a roasted mashed sweet potato….

(Nope, no photos. But trust me; it looks just like pumpkin pie. And it is delicious!)

Happy Thanksgiving!



This entry was posted in bread - yeasted & unyeasted, food & drink, sourdough and wild yeast on by .

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