Monday, March 30, 2009

In the beginning...

Having toyed with the idea of a blog for several months/years now, the time has come to step forward and begin. I can't say it is solely because I recently finished Julie Powell's book (better late than never), though I did enjoy it very about a quick read. I felt like I was reading the food blog primer, or something like that. Nor is it just the fact that I read the food blogs regularly and get that funny, anxious feeling each time, like when summer was winding down and you knew school was going to start soon and that was a good thing as well as a source of unknown anxieties and traumas. Nor is it just a way to motivate and document my continued love of baking and baked goods, though that certainly is a component of the decision to go for it.

Regardless of the purpose/motivation/need/desire, it's time to start. I have tomorrow off from work, and haven't any real plans, so the kids and I will begin. I'm a yeast guy at heart, so yeast it will be. I have not gotten my starter, forever and henceforth known as The Mother, out of the 'fridge to feed her, in preparation for tomorrow's plunge (which really sounds so much more dramatic than it will likely be) so we'll start with a basic preferment.

We've been eating a fantastic whole wheat bread that I made a month or so ago and put in the freezer. I used Jeff Hamelman's recipe from his wonderful book (BREAD A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes), but it requires a well-fed and mature levain, and seeing as how The Mother is not well-fed today, I'm going to substitute a stiff biga. Sure, not really a wild-hair-kind-of-a-thing to do, but the original is so good, that I will be curious to see how the biga version bakes up.

So here's the biga -- big deal..bread flour and wheat flour in equal quantities, a bit more than half that total weight in water, and a pinch or so of yeast. Just a firm dough really, soft but too dry to simply stir with a spatula, so you gotta get in there with your hands and knead it a bit. And yes, there's Mr. Mayor in the background -- he's one of the baking boys -- always there to catch whatever drops to the floor.
So now it sits on top of the refrigerator, to think, humidify, ferment, reproduce, and get wonderfully tangy-ripe overnight.

No comments: