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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Basic Sourdough BBA#30

Just what the doctor ordered, a piece of toast. One I had to wait days to try...

In my refrigerator I have two starters, my trustworthy King Arthur Sourdough Starter. And my starter that I had made by following Paul's instructions on his blog, The Yumarama Artisan Bread Blog. I made Paul's starter after I failed at Peter Reinhart's BBA seed culture. I knew we were approaching sourdoughs so I decided to wake everybody up, see how they were performing and try the BBA starter one more time. About Day three my BBA seed culture was unimpressive. My King Arthur starter had spent a little too much time neglected and it needed a couple more feedings to get back that lovely aroma. But my pineapple starter, Eve, was ready to go.

I wanted to time this bread so I had some for my main stake holder who had to spend the week on travel. I don't know many people who actually enjoy traveling anymore. And a week away is a long time. He is a sourdough lover. It would be great to have fresh bread and cheese ready for when he got home.

Life had different plans. Wednesday I was a little under the weather, unusual for me because I think my years as a school nurse has exposed me to just about everything out there. Thursday I thought I was in The Alien, when the thing pops out of her abdomen. Friday I wasn't going to be doing any baking. It wasn't until Monday when I finally went to the doctors when I discovered that I had food poisoning. Probably something I ate during my let's see how many cheap places we can eat at while your dad is gone stage. It is amazing what antibiotics can do.

This is not a quick bread. But Saturday I thought I would get started. Once you have your barm ready, you need to make a firm starter. You add the barm to some flour and water and let it ferment for four hours, or maybe 8 it is all going to depend on how your starter and kitchen environment are on the day you make it. We were having record breaking cold temperatures. However in about four hours I had doubled the firm starter. Into the fridge for the night, which Peter says is very important for the flavor. Sometimes I wonder if we spend too much time in the fridge.

The next day, the starter is allowed to warm up and then added to flour, salt and water. It made a firm, tacky dough. I decided it was best to do it all in the mixer, but this really gave my mixer a work out.

It was allowed to ferment for four hours, actually five until it had double in size and then shaped and allowed to proof for three more hours. This is an all day bread. I wished that I had a banneton. I made boules. Which were baked in the hearth baking style we have come to expect.

This bread had the best color and crust of any of my breads thus far.

Two days later, I start to think that I could eat some toast. Is there any bread in the house? One loaf is completely gone, half a loaf remains. It was delicious.

The BBA seed culture actually seems to be taking off. Maybe it will be ready for the rye bread.


  1. Sorry to hear that you were under the weather Anne Marie. And glad to know that you're feeling better and baking again. I find it interesting that we both had better luck with Paul's starter than the one in the book.

    Looking forward to getting to the sourdoughs after Christmas.

  2. I was also unsuccessful with the BBA wild yeast and made one from The Fresh Loaf recipe using pineapple juice. It is very healthy and I have been using it a lot lately.

  3. My BBA starter is finally up and running. It took a lot of feeding and watching, not nearly as easy as the pineapple juice one. But I used it successfully to make the rye bread. Which was unlike any rye bread that I have eaten, but tasty.

  4. Yes I know it seems we have been neglecting the BBA but I swear we have a massive update post coming later this week. With switching blogs I really did not want to do anymore BBA posts until the new site was up and we were happy with it.

    Now we are happy so BBA away. This also reminds me I flipped a couple pages forward and we are close to the sourdoughs too. I need to spend some time this weekend feeding bob the blob. Also, I really want to try that pineapple starter.

    Awesome job!

  5. Only after reading does one really understand how loudly that single piece of toast speaks. So glad you're feeling better.

  6. Bannetons are wonderful for baking bread. I love the flour spiral pattern on the top. But looks like you did well. Hope you haven't gotten sick again while I catch up on reading about your wonderful breads!

  7. Wonderful cold and flu season, I am fine my daughter is ill. Which means I got to spend the day making bread.