Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Bread for Thursday, September 13

I am back in town and ready to start baking. I was able to arrange things so my starter never went more than 36 hours without getting replenished (and there was only one 36-hour period, the others were shorter) during my absence. It has had two feedings a day now for a few days and is looking ready for prime time. Which, for the starter, is tomorrow morning.

I get asked a lot of questions about starters and starter management, and I am always unable to answer them with any assurance, or even just an assuring tone, because so much of this is no more elevated than straight up witchery and good fortune. But my experience has lead me to believe that the best bread is baked with starter that is replenished a minimum of once a day, and twice a day if temperatures exceed about 65F in the kitchen -- which is about four months, or five, in my kitchen. This is way in excess of what a home baker will want to do, because with every feeding I am throwing away 150 grams (about six ounces) of flour, half of which is that beautiful Running Rabbit whole wheat flour. (A flour that deserves better!) So you home bakers will want to keep your starter in a refrigerator, replenish it once a month or so if it is unused, and try to take it out and replenish it once a day or more for a day or two before baking.

Enough of that. This week I will have golden raisin and oat, Country French, semolina, sprouted grain, and probably what I've been calling my Oktoberfest Rye. It's mostly organic but some of its many ingredients I cannot find organic versions of, although at least they are present in very small amounts. Cocoa powder, to name one example.

I'll have the usual sweets, too, plus maybe something bigger, with blackberries. For those of you with inquiries about the flourless chocolate cake, I've decided to start baking it again the first week after the first frost. I'll let you know.

See on Main Street from 5-7 PM!

--Erik Ryberg


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