Before I saw this beautiful yeast water bread by isand66, I had never heard about yeast water. Or if I had, I had completely ignored the topic, so new it felt to me at that time.
But when I started looking into the topic, I found that The Fresh Loaf is full of people making lovely loaves of bread with this method. And I wanted to join them.
So, after an evening of reading about YW, about a week ago, I mixed a big table spoon of black tea with a cup of water and a table spoon of honey and left to rest on my kitchen table.
For the next week, I shaked the mixture a couple of times a day and watched it ferment. I couldn't stop checking on the jar and smelling it to see if something was already happening!
In two days or so, the water started bubbling and after a few days more, it smelled like the Finnish May first drink, Sima. I suppose that would have been the perfect time to try the water, but as I was travelling (the yeast water travelled with me, naturally), so I didn't get a chance to try to bake with it until yesterday.
Here's what the yeast water looked like just before I used it:
I was worried that the YW might be overripe, but the results were very good (for a first try, at least!). Here's the formula.
- 100 g Yeast water
- 100 g White wheat flour
The starter was left to room temperature for about 24 hours. It was bubbling already at 12 hours, but I felt it could use some more time (and I was busy...), so I left it to ferment a bit longer.
In the morning of the bake day:
- All of the starter above (200g)
- 200 g Water
- 200 g White wheat flour
Again, I left the mixture on my kitchen table and went out for the day. When we came back about six hours later, the dough looked ripe and full of life (lots of bubbles and about doubled in size), so I decided it was time to mix the dough.
I aimed for a 75% hydration, and a quick calculation (in my head) gave me the following numbers:
- All of the starter from previous step (600 grams, at 100% hydration)
- 700 g flour (out of which 100 g was fine spelt flour and the rest was bread flour from Vääksyn mylly, a smallish mill near Lahti)
- 450 g water
- 20 g salt
I kneaded the dough for about 10 minutes and then added the salt just before finishing the kneading.
After two hours, I shaped the dough into two round loaves and left the rise for about two more hours. When I came back, I was surprised to see that the loaves had risen very fast, so I refrigirated them until the oven was ready and then baked in my cast iron pan (covered with a clay pot for half of the baking time).
Here's what came out of the oven: