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wild yeast

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ejm

Cheese Pinwheels made with Baking Powder Biscuit Dough

cheese pinwheels © ejm January 2008

It has been driving me crazy to just throw away the leftovers after feeding our wild yeast starter. Especially as it seems to be in perfectly good condition. I know it's just a couple of tablespoons of flour but still it just seems wrong even to compost it. So now, every time I feed the starter, I have been adding whatever is left over to biscuits or muffins or even bread that is made with commercial yeast.

At first, I was just going to make cheese baking powder biscuits. But then I suddenly thought that cheese pinwheels would be fun. I already knew that adding the left over sludge wouldn't disturb the biscuit dough at all. That's one of the great things about baking powder biscuits. They're so forgiving. Well, pretty forgiving, anyway...

cheese pinwheels

There are some hazards to not measuring... perhaps I added a tiny bit too much cheese. See how it exploded out of the pinwheels in the baking.

Because there was plenty of cheese, these biscuits didn't need any butter, although a little butter was good too. Wheee! So much for adding olive oil instead of lard or shortening to the dough to make the biscuits better for us....

Here is what I did to make the pinwheels:

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ejm

wild yeast bread

I have really been struggling to get our wild yeast bread to be less sour. This time, I added malt powder to give the dough a little sugar rush. I contemplated adding a bit of baking soda as well to bring the acidity down. But not really knowing the science of it, I decided against it. One experiment at a time....

I also added a tiny bit (1/16 tsp) of active dry yeast to the bread, because I've been getting so much flack about flat bread.

I was so pleased at how it had risen that I even tried slashing one of the loaves (while it was proofing, it had a little bird cookie cutter balanced on top - even before baking, it was impossible to see the bird design!) I just don’t know how you others do it.

I admit it; my slashing technique stinks!

It is less sour tasting. Even though the taste is pretty good, I'd still like to make a completely unsour wild yeast bread - without using even a trace of commercial yeast.

wild yeast bread

Tomorrow when I feed the wild yeast, I plan to try bwraith's method of maintenance to see if that will lessen the sourness.

Even though it has been decreed that this is one of my more successful attempts, I am still feeling defeated and just about ready to pack it in and toss the wild yeast out. It was devastating (well, maybe not "devastating"... perhaps "deflating" would be a better choice of word) to have to buy bread at Christmas time because my bread was so sour.

I have to admit that baking bread with commercial yeast is WAY easier!

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ejm

wild yeast bagels


After looking at our bagel recipe sit for months on my recipe stand, I finally made bagels! I don't know why I waited so long. Because I adore bagels....

After admiring Susan's (Wild Yeast) bagels several times, I decided to copy her and use my wild yeast starter too.

And how did the bagels taste? Well, I liked them! I loved them on their own and also with goat's cheese and red currant jelly. And coffee. Of course.

The bagels are firm and chewy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside - just the way that bagels should be (or at least I think so....) Another taster said that there was too much taste of sourdough and not enough of malt. I confess that I didn't really taste the sourness but am certainly willing to tone it down.

Any ideas on how to go about doing that? Can I just add more malt to the dough?

Here is the recipe I used:

wild yeast bagels

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This must be bagel season! I see that FloydM has just made bagels too.

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ejm

Last week, I got pay back for laughing at Jenn's (Leftover Queen) misfortunes. There I was just hitting "send" on my reply to Susan's (Wild Yeast) hilarious account when I realized how much time had gone by since I had put the buns in the oven. And smelled that unmistakable smell of sugar. Burnt sugar....

cinnamon buns

It really was too bad too. The buns were going to be fantastic! In the recipe, I had used about 1½ cups of wild starter (around 750gm on my rotten scale) and only ¼ tsp active dry yeast rather than the 2½ tsp of active dry yeast called for. I also reduced the amount of water to 1¾ cup rather than 2 cups. (1 cup milk, ¾ water) Here is the recipe I followed to make 16 buns:

The resulting dough was beautifully silky and elastic and rose only a tiny bit slower than the commercial yeast versions. In fact, I was a little sorry that I had added any commercial yeast at all.

And I did set the timer.... (I did!!!)

Amazingly, once most of the black had been scraped off, the buns were delicious!

...perhaps I should always burn them on the bottom (bite my tongue!!!)

(Next time I make the buns, I think I'll use only wild yeast. And when I put the buns in the oven, I'll set two timers. Maybe three....)

(There are a few more photos at blog from OUR kitchen)

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ejm

semolina fennel bread

As soon as I saw Susan's (Wild Yeast) post entitled "Semolina Bread with Currants, Fennel, Pine Nuts", I knew I HAD to make it. (Make sure to take a look at Susan's bread.)

I can't decide what I like more about this bread.
The aroma of it baking?

  • Fennel!

The flavour?

  • The currants! The fennel! The slight hint of sourdough flavour from the wild yeast!

Sliced warm with roccolo cheese? Toasted with butter?

  • It's impossible to pin it down. All I know is that we both love it.

semolina and all-purpose flours

We buy our semolina in Indiatown - semolina is called "suji". Even after about 10 minutes of kneading, I decided that the bread dough would probably always be a bit grainy feeling. I added the currants and pinenuts and amazingly, as I was working the dough to distribute the currants evenly, the dough suddenly became smooth and silky!

I really couldn't be more thrilled about the bread. I have only one complaint. It takes no time for a loaf to disappear!

Thank you once again, Susan!

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ejm

wild bread
Lately, I have been having a devil of a time judging whether the dough has risen enough. And I have been allowing it to over-rise. The over-risen dough produces flat as pancake loaves that taste good but don't look all that great. But finally, after weeks of trying, there was oven spring and the loaves are round rather than flat. Yay! I like to balance cookie cutter(s) on top of the just shaped bread to etch a design in top of the loaf. For this loaf, I used 3 star shaped cutters. (Remove the cookie cutters just before baking the bread.) I really like the way it looks! It's not quite as spectacular as the ridges that people get by proofing their bread upside down in baskets but it doesn't require nearly the nerve. One doesn't have to flip risen bread out onto a peel with this designing technique.

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