Success. I have a really and truly active mother now, bubbling away on the counter. I am still looking for the right bread recipe though. I’m not sure if it’s our flour or lack of detail in the directions, but the dough is kind of soupy. Maybe for this dough method I need one of those baguette baking troughs, although the recipe didn’t mention anything about special equipment – not even a pizza stone. The bread is okay but really not delicious enough yet. I have the vat of the “mother” bubbling away so I will have to figure this out soon.
I mentioned my problem to my friend Mary-Alice whose husband is very technically minded and who is a home bread baker. They responded quickly – like I was having this huge bread making emergency – arriving on my doorstep this morning with another book. What dear friends! They’re loaning me the Peter Reinhart book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice – the one I don’t have – and it is infinitely more accessible than Crust and Crumb. So I will be experimenting with my “mother” in some really fine-tuned recipes. I have high hopes for the bread this week. I keep peering into the pyrex bowl of starter and I still can’t believe I actually made this bubbling living thing! Tonight I will read very carefully and take notes. Tomorrow I’ll roll up my sleeves and get to work.
The second loaf was irrevocably stuck to the baking sheet. Sheer ingenuity with a large metal spatula and brute force only somewhat successfully managed to separate the bread from the pan. As I said – the bread is still not quite delicious enough.
Since I’ve been spending some time researching sourdough bread recipes, I’ve found there’s a whole culture of people very interested in bread starters. There are a lot of articles and sites devoted to the subject. Some of these starter obsessed people will actually name their bowl of tan bubbling glop. After all, it IS alive, right? This one lady who lives in France named hers “Philemon”. Initially I thought this was sort of adorable. But then I thought about it for a minute and the word that popped into my head was “twee” with all of the negative connotations (as in mawkish, affected and precious). Needless to say, I will not be naming my “mother”.