Where’s the bread?

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I haven’t posted many bread baking blogs lately…I’ve just been too busy!  But here’s what I am working on:  I recently started cultivating a classic sourdough starter.  It has been bubbling away for about 3 weeks now, and I plan to make some sourdough breads with it soon.  I also just started making a rye-wheat based levain, or pre-ferment.  A rye levain is an essential ingredient in many French and European breads.  In case you’re wondering, rye flour has a higher proportion of wild yeast spores, and preparing a levain creates an ecosystem containing active yeast cultures, such as L. sanfranciscensis

Levain and sourdough are considered cousins.  Sourdough uses all-purpose flour, and maintains a pure white color.  Rye levain is darker in color, and the amount used in recipes doesn’t necessarily give bread that “sourdough” taste, but it does provide leavening power.  About 40% of the recipes in the FCI book use a rye levain.

I’ll post several blogs here in the upcoming weeks once I am able to experiment with the sourdough and levain preparations.  And don’t worry – casual home bakers don’t typically need to start their own pre-ferments to enjoy baking bread.  You normally just need some instant dry yeast.  I just want to try some breads that have been previously off-limits for the home baker.

 

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