My foray as a baking amateur continued this week with part two of my attempt to make bread. I decided in order to truly appreciate the process I needed to begin with the very first step, the starter.
After perusing some of the more popular cookbooks on the market, dedicated entirely to the art of bread baking, I decided that this could be as confusing as I let it be. Instead of continuing to study up and research, I made the decision to jump in and just get going.
I hit the kitchen with my bag of flour. With great trepidation, I let my professionally trained chef husband assist. To his credit, he watched quietly as I started to measure and study directions. Also to his credit, my notoriously precise husband stopped me and said, “You know what, you don’t need to be that precise. Just dump a bunch of flour in and then add water a little at a time until it gets gooey.” I was reminded that bread baking is something that has been done for centuries. Long before beautifully illustrated cookbooks were popular.
So I dumped flour into a ceramic bowl and added a little water. I mixed this with my hand and added more water until the mixture became gooey. I loosely covered the bowl with saran wrap and set it on top of the refrigerator.
Two days later I looked at the starter, it was bubbling and had grown. It was alive. I used a second bowl to repeat the process above and added a few large spoonful’s of the active starter. Then I covered it and let it go for another two days.
And this is where my starter is now, continuing to bubble up and be fed, like a quiet new addition to the family. There is a yeasty smell in the kitchen. Next week I plan to take the leap and make an actual loaf.
My friend, who happens to be a professional pastry chef, encouraged me to name my starter. “You should, it is alive after all,” she stated. So after giving it some thought the bubbling mixture is Georgia. I’m not sure where this name came from. Perhaps my woefully undomesticated self associates it with a more genteel, accomplished in the kitchen woman. Regardless, I’m hoping Georgia will survive for a while and make my family a nice, airy loaf of bread, or at the very least some crusty croutons.