Saturday, January 26, 2013

Starter trials...the baking begins

For several days now, my remaining starters have been rising and falling predictably, and are very robust, with the pineapple starter having just a slight lead in the 'robust' category.

Last night I made my leaven, following Chad Robertson's country bread recipe from Tartine Bread.  This morning I woke to find a billowy leaven that passed the float test, so I went forward with preparing the dough for baking.

There is no question this process is not for the faint of heart, or those lacking in dedication to a task.  It's tedious and lengthy, but if the bread turns out to its potential, it will be worth all the work.

I measured out the leaven, water and flour, and brought it together.  After a 30 minute rest, I added the salt and the last 50 grams of water.  Once fully incorporated, I split my dough into two different containers.  I plan to make a lemon and herb olive loaf with one half, and pizza with the other.  I figured it would be easier to keep each half separate for the purpose of folding in the extra ingredients needed for the olive loaf, hence the split.

The beginning of the bulk rise.

The olive loaf I'm making is the one in Tartine Bread.  It calls for lemon zest, Herbes de Provence and olives.  I chose a combination of green and black olives.  In a small country town, our selection of olives is limited to a small olive bar in the local market, so I didn't have the selection I would have preferred, but you work with what you have available to you.

I had looked for Herbes de Provence in the store, and I couldn't find it.  We have a spice shop in Bend, so I decided to look there.  It was quite a bit more than I wanted to spend, so I looked up a recipe online, and made my own for about $3.00. It made one cup, which will last me quite a while.

The Herbes de Provence recipe I used can be found here.  I had to visit a specialty spice shop for the Chervil and Summer Savory, but it made all the difference in the final spice blend.

The process of baking the loaves covers several hours and is worthy of more than one entry.  To see my results, and final baking notes for this first effort, see my entry starter did the first loaf turn out?

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