Filed under: Things that may grow to haunt me
October 7, 2009
It's been awhile since my first post. I've been working on getting french bread down since then and after about 15 batches of dough I think I've finally found the delicate balance between the science and the art of it.
Yeah I wish.
I made a giant, spongy, flat batard for a dinner party a couple nights ago that I just had a bad feeling about right from the oven. One of my friends commented that it looked like an alligator lying in wait for unsuspecting prey. Gotta love those witty food critics.
My mistake was using a new recipe, using my new kitchen scale, and adhering too strictly to the measurements. It called for a 100% poolish and 66% overall hydration. Yesterday to satisfy my curiousity I carefully measured out a 60% hydration dough, which is about what I think I used to make back when I eyeballed everything and it turned out just how I like it - crisp skin and fluffy meat. I think I'm seeing a disturbing trend developing here though. This morning I weighed out my coffee grinds and recorded it in my kitchen journal with spaces saved for additional entries, then as I was weighing out my condensed milk for my coffee I had a WTF-realization moment and quickly shut off the scale and slowly backed out of the kitchen. Note to self: do not become a scale-whore.
Anyways here's my bread from yesterday:
Last night I decided that I've earned my baking yellow belt and was ready to learn the esoteric art of sour-do. I found a simple starter recipe using plain water and plain AP flour since I don't usually stock endangered fruit juices nor mill my own flour. I hope the other starters here won't look down on my modest little starter. What he may lack in sophistication I hope he'll make up for in street-smarts. Okay, I guess breads can't be street-smart so....let's just hope he doesn't taste like socks. Quick question: are starters generally male or female? I think mine's a boy but I'd like to make sure before I name him.
I'm 12 hours in and I'm nervously excited. I can't stop picking it up and looking at it. My mom used to say that that would make it fall off, so I should probably stop. It's condensing a bit on the lid and smells slightly yeasty, but hasn't risen a bit since last night. From what I've read that's still 12-24 hours away so it's all good so far. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Update: 36 hours in
The smell. Dear god, the smell. I took the lid off to feed it this morning and I just woke up, on the kitchen floor. How can something so innocent looking produce such an ungodly stench? Must separate mind from body. You can do this.