Unnatural elation at bread success
What kind of people are we that success, or even the hint of success, should elicit in us such a feeling of euphoria? Or is it just me?
A little reminder: About a month and a half ago I broke my oven, never mind the details... Two weekends ago I fixed it and last weekend baked the first bread in that long. It was one of my favorites, a WW/rye sourdough I call Country Rye, which makes wonderful sandwiches. Ate them all week. But when it came time to toss in some steam, my wife hollers from the other room, "Are you sure that's wise?" Big blustery reply, "Of course. I'm not doing that idiot thing that caused it's demise last time." without much feeling of confidence that I wasn't, in fact, seriously risking the newly replaced control unit. But it turned out alright, although not as good as usual. Perhaps I was out of practice.
Now this weekend I needed to bake some regular sourdough and both Otis (Oregon Trail starter) and Franco (SF starter) were getting weary from only one refresh during this whole oven down time. Thursday evening I refreshed them to my usual 125ish grams, left them out overnight to grow. Friday morning Otis was fully grown, but Franco, as is his pattern, was sadly weak.compOtisFranco
I built Otis up to 400 grams for his recipe and took him along with Franco to work to keep an eye on them. Otis continued to grow at his excellent rate and had to be chilled by early afternoon, Franco plugged along slowly and finally doubled by mid afternoon and also got chilled. After work I made Otis’ dough and built Franco up to 400 g. The Otis dough got a couple of folds and then into the chiller for the night, Franco stayed out. Saturday morning Otis got scaled and couched for final rise, baked up in the late afternoon to some good crumb.
Saturday morning Franco was ready for dough so I made him up and let him ferment at room temp until Otis’ baking time when he was ready for scaling. I took my wife out for the evening expecting to be home about 9:30 to bake Franco but met some friends that delayed that until about 11:00PM. Of course Franco was over risen by then. What was I to do? I stuck the dough in the fridge overnight, took it out Sunday morning and let it warm up. Baked it late AM and it actually turned out alright. Good hole structure, decent crust. Franco crumb
Sadly, both batches are lacking in flavor, having chosen to cut back on the salt what turned out to be too far. I don’t like weighing salt because my scale is too lenient and I get too much, so I spoon it. Just cut back too far, now I know better and have the right amount after quite some experimentation for this recipe.
The really odd and wonderful thing about this batch of Franco is that in all other times I have used him, since acquiring in the front half of the year, is that he has always been extremely sticky to work with. This time he was not. He behaved a lot like Otis, except for Otis’ speed. The bread is definitely sourer with Franco, but I can’t taste the distinctive SF flavor in this bread. I am hoping this is due to the weird time frame/over fermentation process. But when Franco wasn’t uncontrollably sticky and made both a workable starter and dough, I became as a little child with a new toy, the new sled on Christmas morning to use on freshly fallen snow, the cutest girl in school saying yes to a date, an A on the test I thought I would flunk… E-lation.
So now I have a few loaves to give away, a bit more knowledge to keep myself going forward on, an oven that bakes again, and a little kid inside that thinks this is all wonderful. After all, my parents just gave me permission to go sledding with that cute little red-haired girl because of my good grades…
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.