Things that go bump in the night

summary: Again?? …but we don’t want flatbread; sourdough fail; Oh boy! Squirrel Food!

jackolantern in rain ©ejm2006 gif cue sound effects


We kept thinking about the fact that feeding our Jane Mason 100% whole wheat starter with unbleached all-purpose “no additives” flour should really have worked. The following should never have occurred. :lalala:

    I took the usual spoonful of the wholewheat starter and fed it with equal parts unbleached all-purpose flour and water.
    The next morning, the white-coloured sludge in the bowl was bubbling, but not crazily. And it was really really really gluey and sticky. We checked for floating; it sank like a stone.
    I stirred in more all-purpose flour and checked half an hour later. Sank like a stone.
    Checked again half an hour later – some bubbles, really really really gluey. Sank like a stone.
    What did I do wrong?!
– me, blog from OUR kitchen | If at first you don’t succeed…, 12 September 2019

We decided that what I had done wrong when trying to make all white flour wild bread was to be impatient. So, the other day, we tried again. After 24 hours (that’s a whole day) we looked at the sad and sorry dense puddle of white sludge. It was bigger. And there seemed to be a few tiny tiny bubbles. But.

Both of us said, “Nope!”

Still, I thought I’d just check it anyway to see if it floated. We were amazed!! It was floating like crazy. It was so thrilled to be floating that it refused to sink.

So I mixed more white flour into this miracle all white flour starter to make bread. The dough was v e r y slow to rise. Insanely slow: another 24 hours….

It was so slow that that night, I mixed together a whole wheat starter to make our usual Tartine bread the next day. Naturally, it was stellar, with beautiful ears and even more beautiful crumb.

Meanwhile, as I was mixing the Tartine bread, the all white bread was finally (we think) ready to shape. Its lethargy continued. But we were determined to bake it anyway. Because it was so small, instead of our combo-cooker, we had to bake the loaf in the small cast-iron frying pan with the small stainless steel mixing bowl overturned as a hat for the first half of baking. We used scissors to score the top of the loaf.

Things that go bump in the night

How do you spell “doorstop”?

Because our good bread knife couldn’t penetrate the rock-hard shell of the bread, T had to use his giant, ridiculously sharp carbon steel blade to saw through the crust for us to taste the bread. It didn’t look quite as terrible as we thought and we smelled only a hint of sourness. But the flavour was, well…. Let’s say that if our Tartine bread hadn’t been consistently turning out so beautifully, I would have committed Saccharomycicide for a third time.

White Sourdough Failure
Laboriously Sawing….
White Sourdough Bread Failure
Doesn’t look so bad…

The bread was very chewy. Very. So chewy, we were afraid we might break our teeth. It was also, aside from the slight hint of sourness, rather taste-free.

:stomp: That’s it! …forget “try, try again”! :stomp: :stomp:

Surprisingly, I was able to hack the discus into small(ish) pieces to drop like stones onto the back patio. By late afternoon, the squirrels had chawed through the whole brick. (I hope it didn’t give them indigestion!)

(We thought perhaps it was the fact that our all-purpose flour is old. But that can’t be right, can it? Otherwise, all those other loaves of wild bread would have been failures as well. Wouldn’t they?)

“What about the Tartine Loaf?” you ask?

It was as wonderful as ever. (Sorry no photographic evidence.) It was so wonderful that our Jane Mason starter is still thriving in the fridge, rather than being relegated to the compost pile.


This entry was posted in baking, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, food & drink, whine, wild yeast (sourdough) on by .

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