Potpourri - starters, bannetons, kneading technique and using Anskarum mixer
ONE: About 2 months ago I started a wild yeast starter. It's done everything it's supposed to do, but it never grew/rose. The rubber band marking the starting point is mocking me.
I did make ONE loaf a couple of weeks ago, but that recipe called for a cheat 1/4 or 1/2 tsp. of yeast added to it. I have done the float test and it floats, but no growth. It bubbles, (so it's foamy), and there's no mold and it smells right, but why doesn't every GROW?
I took it out of the fridge last night and fed it. I fed it again this morning - some organic rye last night and some whole wheat this morning just to see if it will DO something.
TWO: I've watched several videos for making sourdoughs (and other bread) and everyone seems to mix by hand to keep the air in the dough. How many of you do that? Does it really make a difference? I have the Anskarum mixer, so I think it mimics hand motion very well especially since I always mixe on a low speed.
THREE: Folding and transferring the dough to bannetons. So, also in several videos, it talks about how it's important to be gentle with the dough, but then I see the dough just being dumped into a pot after rising in a banneton and then somewhat roughly slashed before placing it in the oven. Yet, their bread looks fabulous - even the whole grain loaves (50/50).
FOUR: Size of banneton - does it matter? I have been making the HUGE country loaf. It's so big, I can't use a dutch oven. How do smaller loaves affect oven spring? Is it better? And how do you know if you've sized it right (older books are less clear on what size banneton to use)? Is there some rule of thumb?
FIVE: For anyone who has an older DLX Assistent Mixer (any of the older versions of Anskarum that had fewer watts) how long do you knead for bread? is it different if it is whole grain? I watched a video from some expert the other day and they knead it at a higher speed than I do, but probably for a shorter time.
I'm sure I have more questions, but I've been holding this for a while and since I discovered moldy bread in my bread box this morning and I have to start anew, I thought I would ask before I delve in.