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
As predicted by the internets, my beer starter remained an unprepossessing, sour-smelling slurry all week.  It did eventually develop some bubbles, but not very impressive ones.  Nevertheless, yesterday morning I mixed up some dough using the following:

1 cup starter
1 cup water, warmed in the microwave
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
Sufficient whole wheat flour to hold together a dough
4 tsp vital wheat gluten

I left this in an oiled bowl under a damp tea towel all day, and kneaded perhaps another cup of flour into it when I got home from the lab, all-purpose white this time.  Then I abandoned it again and went to visit the Boy, leaving it to sit in its bowl and think real hard about rising.  Apparently it didn't, though, because when I came home this evening, it was only very slightly embiggened.

Having lost patience, I heated the oven up to 420 F (215ish C), plopped the recalcitrant dough into an oily baking pan, slashed the top of it, and baked it for 45 minutes.  It did rise a bit in the oven, but not much.

But oh, it is tasty and it is nice.  It's fine-grained and dense and has a nice tang to it.  I am eating it, still slightly warm, with cranberry-tangerine conserve and very sharp cheddar, and it is delicious.  Entertainingly, something about this combination of flavors is reminiscent of hops; the plain bread does not taste of them at all.

Meanwhile, the starter, which got fed 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour and perhaps 2/3 cup water when I started the dough, did noticeably better, and was nicely bubbly when I checked it this evening.  Encouraged, I have mixed up a second batch of dough and fed the starter again; having been in proximity to the oven vents, it is already bubbling away and smelling much sweeter (i.e. less like sour beer).  The new batch of dough is doing its thing on the countertop, and I'm already looking forward to it.

Happy New Year, internets.

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Artifactrix

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