Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Feeding The Yeast

Sourdough is made from a starter that traps wild yeast from the air. I have been making sourdough bread, pizza dough, pancakes and crepes since I took a class in The Science of Sourdough at the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, California in 2007. I created the current starter during that class and have kept it alive since. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I fed it during the move to Nebraska and even took it with us to North Carolina during our 2009 Christmas trip. It remains sound and smells delightfully doughy and makes the BEST bread as Mark and many others can attest. I have shared the starter with family and friends. The 'chore' of feeding the yeast takes less than 10 minutes a day which is so little time for the big outcome but it is a commitment.

Mixing the food for the yeast --- 2 cups flour & 
2 cups water ---very simple 

When I'm not baking with it, I "stall" it in the refrigerator but must feed it once a week to keep the yeast alive. It must be removed from the refrigerator three days before baking & fed twice daily to increase the activity of the yeast to the level needed for baking.

The 'food' then is mixed into the starter to feed the
yeast and to attract more wild yeast from the air
Cheesecloth is added to the top so only the
wild yeast can get into the starter

I love maintaining and managing the starter and truly love kneading and baking bread. There is something meditative about it. Plus you get the great smell in the house along with the yummy healthy bread. I use King Arthur white whole wheat flour which is a type of white wheat that is milled to include the entire nutritious kernel, King Arthur bread flour and several grains including flax seed, walnuts, oat bran and sometimes oatmeal, sesame seeds, raisins & other fruit, rosemary or other herbs and/or rye flour. Sourdough bread lasts longer at room temperature than other bread.

We're back to single digit temperatures so it's a perfect day to bake.....bread and 7 dozen oatmeal raisin cookies for Mark. Is that man spoiled or what? Wish you could smell the house...or better yet, be here to share the goodies.


One of the guineas sitting on the back deck railing - a big NO NO.
We certainly don't want birds on the deck. She didn't stay long but
squawked long and hard when I shooed her away. The guineas are
patrolling around the house so I'm encouraged that they'll stay closer
in this spring to capture all those creepy bugs that may want to get
into the house.


Janet said...

Darn it. I just typed this long comment and it disappeared. So this will be short. Your bread sounds yummy but I got confused just reading how you maintain your yeast. Obviously I'm not the baking type or gardening for that matter. I always think I want to do more gardening but really don't do well in the heat. I will just read your blogs and think of what I could do, but won't.

Delores said...

When the yeast is in the fridge, I take it out and feed it once per week. There may be two weeks that go by when I don't use the starter. When the starter is out of the refrigerator getting beefed up to make something, then I feed it twice a day. The food for the yeast is flour and water. Hopefully this clears it up vs making it more confusing. anyway, it makes really great products.

Janet said...

I don't think it was that confusing for most, just me... But thanks for the clarification. Love seeing all you pictures and I do hope you are right about spring coming soon since we are to be about 10 tomorrow.