I like bread. I like to bake it, even though I’m not great at it. I used to be better before living in Montana and having kids. I just didn’t get it done there and so I’m waaaay out of practice. Lately I’ve been grinding my own wheat and experimenting. I made a really good, moist loaf of wheat bread not too long ago. Was pleased.
When I lived in Indiana (before moving to Montana), I took up trying to figure out sourdough bread making. I bought a starter and for the most part, learned a lot, though I never felt that my bread was sour enough (I grew up not far from San Francisco–there’s nothing like strolling through the city with a fresh sourdough baguette straight from the oven). That starter long ago died. This week I decided to try a new one–the pineapple juice and flour method as described on the Breadtopia website, and in Peter Reinhart’s books.
I’ll admit, I didn’t have a lot of faith in starting one with wild yeast. I followed the instructions, and after four days, the recipe says that if I’m not getting fermentation, I should toss it out and start again or go buy some. After four days, I wasn’t seeing fermentation. All the same, it smelled good, like it’s supposed to. So I decided to repeat step two and feed it some more pineapple juice and flour. My house tends to be relatively cool because if I run the heater, I keep it at 62-63, which is not ideal for sourdough starters. I thought maybe the coolness had slowed the process. Lo and behold, another 24 hours later and I’ve got a starter. Fermentation, baby!!
I still have more steps–feeding it up and then using it. But I’m pleased that it worked because I never thought it would.
A random note about grinding my own flour. In the past couple of years, I did a lot of reading about gluten sensitivity (not Celiac disease, which is something altogether different). My son was really sick (throwing up 15-20 times a day) for nearly two years. So obviously we thought it was his stomach and maybe gluten was the culprit. Turned out it wasn’t really his stomach and gluten wasn’t an issue’t, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is I did a lot of reading about gluten because I wondered if that was a problem.
I encountered several articles that pointed out that people with gluten sensitivity in the USA didn’t seem to have it in Europe. The articles (which I can’t find right now), postulated that gluten sensitivity it related to the over-refinement of flours. I’ve been on a kick to eat more ‘real’ things and no one in my family is gluten sensitive, but I have a good friend who is sensitive. (Chocolate also makes her horribly sick–poor thing). Anyhow, she’s eaten some of the bread I’ve made from flour I’ve ground, and she doesn’t gluten issues with it. Which is good for her, because she really likes bread.
I’ll not doubt continue to update you on my bread odyssey. I’m learning a lot about working with whole wheat that I didn’t know. Oh, and also random–you know those strips you sometimes see advertised that go around cake pans to keep the cakes even and relatively flat rather then weirdly humped? I used them today and holy crap! They work!
Anybody out there bake bread? Stories you want to share? Advice? Thoughts?