This year I decided I had to discover how to make my own artsan bread, sort of a late new year resolution, I guess. Since I'm a beginner and have no background experience at all, I took a beginner class from a local bakery. Of course, I couldn't retain all the information so I immediately bought the Bread book by Hammelman. I started from the beginning and chose some exciting recipes and assumed that the levains or bigas that we was asking for in the recipes were just made up 12 hours earlier more or less. Since it's been difficult to think of how to plan making bread in advance using these starters, I guess I've been subconciously working out a solution. This is what's kept me up at night thinking of how to prepare fresh bread balancing a family & a busy work schedule. So it dawned on me a this morning at 2 am that the mature starter he asked for wasn't the stiff biga I made in 12 hours, or the levain using a stiff mature culture 12 hours earlier, it was a "heterofermentative culture" that has been fortified through multiple feedings!
So my question lays really here: What have I been doing these past two weeks? Since I've been making a biga to make a levain or a iquid levain in 12-24 hrs, have I been faking it? Is this a pseudo-mature culture? I guess the upside is, if I actually do have a true mature culture the bread will have a truer complex flavor. I thought the breads I made weren't that bad though. I feel a little guilty having felt so proud to have made bread over hours of attending and then realize that I should have actually started out with a real starter. OR, is it alright to do make bread this way? If anyone can help me figure this out I'd appreciate it. It's keeping me up! :)
Nonetheless, I see the necessity to keep a culture fed now and I'll just have to figure a way to work that into the balance of city life- 'cause fresh bread at home is addictive!