artifactrix: A tiny child in a giant lab coat and a paper bag hat peers at a cookie, and says "I will do science to it." (science)
[personal profile] artifactrix
Every year since I was tiny, my family has baked bread on New Year's Eve.  In earlier years, we used the baguette recipe from the Preschool Power video series, which often turned out dense and chewy and typically tasted overwhelmingly of Fleischmann's active dry yeast.  Bleh.  After acquiring the River Cottage Family Cookbook, we started using the white bread recipe found therein and never looked back.  Recent years' bakings have included wholemeal, fruit, nuts, olives, and other tasty variations.

This has been my first New Year's not spent at home with family; I returned to school shortly after Xmas, and spent First Night with the Boy instead.  Fun times were most certainly had: we went skiing in the morning, then went out on the town for drinks and a surprisingly excellent concert by Prydein, and kissed at midnight with fireworks in the background.  All well and good.  But it just isn't a new year without bread.

Unfortunately, I forgot to buy yeast, but I had a bottle of Blue Moon (unfiltered wheat ale) in the fridge.  In the past, I've gotten good results from a starter which began life as ale lees; it took several feedings to really get the hang of eating flour rather than malt, but once it hit its stride, it made some tasty bread.  On the principle that yeast is yeast, on January 1st I poured it out into a pyrex dish, making sure to get all the sediment out of the bottom of the bottle, and added flour until it had the gloppy (that's a technical term) consistency of a sourdough starter, then stirred in a teaspoon of white sugar to kick-start it.

After googling around a bit, I found a recipe page which suggests that I basically did it right (scroll 2/3 of the way down).  It looks like I can expect to wait a week or so before doing any actual baking, but I'm hopeful (willow willow waly).    Based on the instructions linked above, and on this thread, it looks like I'm on the right track.  It's going to look pretty sketchy and dead for a few days, but apparently that's normal for beer starters, and it should take off and behave more normally after its first feeding.  We shall see.

Edited to add links.  Oops.
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artifactrix: My pseud, written on graph paper. (Default)
Artifactrix

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