Experiments in Yeast Conservation.
It's been a bit since I've baked. Bread has been bought at our house lately, which I'm not that happy with, and therefore I figured I should get in gear again. I wanted a bread that was relatively low fuss, so I decided on a reduced amount of yeast in a normal, slightly wetter dough.
I started with 2 cups of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of yeast, and 1 cup water. Those were mixed and left in my oven for 5 hours. By this time the mass had tripled and was looking quite good. I mixed in 1/2 cup more water and 1.5 teaspoons salt, then flour 1/2 a cup at a time until I came to the right consistency for me...ended up being about 3.75 cups. It was a rather wet, sticky mass. I kneaded it in the bowl until it formed itself into something vaguely resembling a ball and stashed it in my refrigerator until morning. Woke up, took it out, let it come to room temperature. Once there, I shaped the dough into as nice a ball as I could manage and placed it into a bowl bottom up. I let that double. Baked at 425 for 20 minutes covered, and then 10 minutes uncovered, until the middle reached 200 degrees. I think it needed a little longer in the oven, but it turned out pretty well.
I think the next time I make this I'll not do a preferment at all. I really don't think it changed anything. I'll just mix up the ingredients, knead for a little while, and then stash in the fridge for a long fermentation. It'll probably turn this into 36 hour bread, but that's quite fine with me if the results are this tasty.