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Christopher Greaves

Bread Dough

I have decided to ramp-up (or to be honest, “ramp down”) my bread-making, and to that end I will try using my own yeast plant as a starter.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

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In a clean (but no need to sterilize) glass jar I drop a tablespoon of bread flour and a tablespoon of whole wheat flour. These are not artisan flours; they are regular packets (2.5 Kg each) purchased from my local supermarket.

I add warm tap water until the jar is half full.

I worry that if the jar is full and the thing takes off I could have gooey-yeast mix where I don’t want it.

Christopher Greaves BreadDough_DSCN3868.JPG

I leave the jar without a cover so that whatever wild yeasts are floating around my apartment (and since I often have my windows open, downtown Toronto!) can settle on the starter and inoculate it.

My understanding is that the yeast/bacteria process is quite selective and ultimately settles down into a stable community populated by Lactobaccilus sanfranciscenis, amongst others.

That is, the starter will start the way it always has.

I am indebted (as are you) to Michael Pollan’s book “Cooked – a natural history of transformation” for this information, and for my motivation to get going in my humble abode.

The jar stands atop the refrigerator alongside my ginger beer plant. I spend much time in this spot, brewing tea or coffee, baking cookies, preparing breakfast lunch and supper, and am looking forwards to watching my starter take shape.

I did consider covering the jar with a piece of handkerchief; I have the occasional insect visitor ( see “I often have my windows open”, above) but have elected to leave the jar open until such time as the plant has settled down. This could take two to four weeks.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

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Twenty-four hours later I stir the mixture, tip out 80% of it into the vermicomposter (Second Use For Everything!) and top up the jar to the half-way point with warm tap water and then add a tablespoon of bread flour and a tablespoon of whole wheat flour.

I do not stir at this point; I want to see if the solids drop to the bottom as a result of gaseous activity in the jar.

And that means I want to see if there is any gaseous activity in the jar.

I note that there appears to be a frothy skin almost to the top of the jar; that suggests that there was some frothing activity during the plant’s first twenty-four hours.


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Toronto, Wednesday, March 02, 2016 1:42 PM

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