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Amie C.
True Blue Farmgirl

2099 Posts


Finger Lakes Region NY
2099 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2009 :  6:01:04 PM  Show Profile
Alee, you must be some kind of yeast charmer. I tried baking with my full-week-old mother today and got absolutely no rise out of it. Flat as a pancake. I let the dough sit for something like 30 hours, and finally had to give up. And that was with the oven turned on to warm the kitchen up from its usual 60 degrees.

My mother has seemed fat and happy all week, so I'm going to give her another chance next weekend. But after that, as the saying goes, "If you don't work, you don't eat." Sorry, Ma, it's hard times all over and organic flour don't come cheap.
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kristin sherrill
True Blue Farmgirl

11303 Posts

kristin
chickamauga ga
USA
11303 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2009 :  6:18:38 PM  Show Profile
Has anyone done a survey yet to see who's had good luck with their dough and who hasn't? I'd love to know the percentage of no rise at all to a great rise. Just a thought.

I did make my whole wheat bread today in my new Zojurushi bread maker and the dough rose very fast in it even in my cold kitchen. I also noticed it has a sour dough setting. I'll have to experiment with it and see if I can mix it up in the machine and let it rise in there.

I also have had a hard time with my rolls getting hard after a few days. My bread will be fine for several days, even in the fridge in summer. That's why I'm trying this new machine. All my friends here have it and their rolls and bread are so soft for days. I do think it's the whole temperature thing though. But the bread doesn't really last too long before it's all eaten.

Amie, was this your first try?

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. Maori proverb
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2009 :  6:36:43 PM  Show Profile
Guys you need to remember we are working with sourdough. Sourdough is typically a firmer bread. It can be "tender" but if you are expecting Wonder bread it will be NOTHING like that. You should be getting firm yet tender bread that is crusty around the edges and chewy in the center. Even the "French" bread I've recently purchased in the bakery of the grocery store is nothing like it should be!

Someone earlier mentioned getting a doughy middle. Try reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe just a bit next time you bake. That should help. Also you might want to invest in a thermometer for your oven. If you oven is running too hot that could also cause that issue.

Farmgirl Sister #17
Blog
www.willowtreecreek.wordpress.com
Felt and Fabric Crafts
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Buffalomary
True Blue Farmgirl

199 Posts

Mary
Caldwell ID
USA
199 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2009 :  8:44:17 PM  Show Profile
Ta Da!!!!



Oh my, oh my, oh my!! Such heavenly scents came wafting from my humble kitchen tonight! Yeah!! This week is so much better than last. Grandma always told me that mother gets better with age. Something I did different this time was to warm up my cast iron pot before I put the dough in to rise. I then left it sitting over the burner with the oven vent and occasionally barely turned the oven on for about 10-15 minutes and it created just enough heat. I can already see this one loaf is not going to last very long!

Thank you, MaryJane! You're the greatest!!

Buffalomary
Farmgirl Sister #293

You can take the farmer's daughter off the farm but you can't take the farm out of the farmer's daughter!!

Please visit me at my blog: http://buffalomaryscorner.blogspot.com
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Huckelberrywine
True Blue Farmgirl

1607 Posts

Michelle
Rosalia
1607 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2009 :  9:23:48 PM  Show Profile
Wow! Congratulations Alee and Mary. Your breads look so great! Thanks for the pictures.

We make a difference. http://huckleberrywine.blogspot.com
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gramax18
True Blue Farmgirl

106 Posts

Elinor
meeker Colorado
USA
106 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2009 :  9:30:37 PM  Show Profile
Mary,
Your bread looks wonderful.
I set my bread last night and baked it this morning. It ook 40 minutes to get the temp up. But it turned out better than last weeks. I also took out 2/3 cup this morning to make half the recipe of the pancakes. I just cut the recipe in thirds and it worked very well. I have enough for more tommor morning.
This whole sourdough thing is lots of fun.

Happy baking!

Elinor
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gramax18
True Blue Farmgirl

106 Posts

Elinor
meeker Colorado
USA
106 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2009 :  9:32:32 PM  Show Profile
Oops! I ment that I cut the recipe in thirds not half.

Elinor
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Alee
True Blue Farmgirl

22856 Posts

Alee
Worland Wy
USA
22856 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2009 :  9:43:27 PM  Show Profile  Click to see Alee's MSN Messenger address  Send Alee a Yahoo! Message
I always make sure to have my bread materials at about 70 degrees before I start. Also any liquids which go in are warmed up too. My bread is always nice and warm when I knead it (which using MaryJane's recipes you don't need to knead). I think that helps give the yeast a fighting chance. I also try to keep my mother warm (she is living in my office where I have a space heater going and that seems to keep her happy. I also always feed her with warm water. I think the warmth is the key.

My mother has already recovered from me "robbing" her this morning I left about a cup worth of starter in the jar and made a 2 cup replacement mix. She was in the warm kitchen all day and I can already see bubbles all the way through! I can't wait to feed her tomorrow!

Alee
Farmgirl Sister #8
www.awarmheart.com
Please come visit Nora and me on our blog: www.farmgirlalee.blogspot.com
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Buffalomary
True Blue Farmgirl

199 Posts

Mary
Caldwell ID
USA
199 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2009 :  10:00:22 PM  Show Profile
Oh, I forgot to mention that I also warmed up the honey before I added it. It was sorta crystalized and wouldn't pour so I warmed it up. That probably helped as well.

Buffalomary
Farmgirl Sister #293

You can take the farmer's daughter off the farm but you can't take the farm out of the farmer's daughter!!

Please visit me at my blog: http://buffalomaryscorner.blogspot.com
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Ronna
True Blue Farmgirl

1891 Posts

Ronna
Fernley NV
USA
1891 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2009 :  10:46:43 PM  Show Profile
Kate, thanks for answering Diana's question on covering the bread during the second rise. I do so much without thinking, sometimes hard to remember every step/tip to tell someone else.
MaryJane was faster than me with the "upside down" tip for seasoning cast iron. I pulled 4 dutch ovens out of the back corner of the cupboard yesterday and 3 of them are quite "crusty" inside and out. Really need to be hit with a wire brush to loosen all that and then seasoned again. Bought them that way and just never took the time or effort to clean them up yet. I cooked breaded pork tenderloin and fried potatoes with onions tonight and each cast iron skillet only needed a quick wipe with a paper towel to get the crumbs out. A well seasoned pan is worth it's weight in gold! If I do need to wash mine, it's a quick swish with soapy water, rinse and dry, also set them on the stove upside down to get the residual heat from the burner and be sure they are dry. Never soak a cast iron pan or you'll need to start the seasoning process over again. The ones I use all the time live in the oven, just habit from the days of pilot lights and to be sure they never got rusty from moisture. Besides, I have way too many of everything in my kitchen and it's just an extra cupboard to me.
Glad some of you are having success with your sourdough bread adventures. The longer you use the starter, the more flavor it will develop. As you feed it and build up the amount a bit, toss a half cup or so in your next quick bread recipe and see the extra flavor it adds.
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whimseyc
Farmgirl at Heart

4 Posts

Jill
Riverdale GA
USA
4 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  06:11:36 AM  Show Profile
I was so excited when I read how easy it was to begin a starter. Went and bought all the ingredients. The first three days it worked great. The morning of the 4th day it looked a little watery on top but I added the water and flour and stirred and then it looked fine. By Saturday it looked really watery on top and not bubbling exactly. I still removed two cups and made my bread. Let it rise all day in a warm spot and it still looked like two grapefruit sized lumps when I went to bake it. Those loaves would have killed someone had you lobbed one at somebody! So what did I do wrong? The only thing I can think is that the starter also has to stay warm - the article didn't mention that though. And the kitchen counter where I kept it is next to an outside wall so is a little cooler that elsewhere in my kitchen. Could that have been the problem? I haven't tried again yet. Thanks for anyone who can help - I'd still like to have a successful starter.

Sometimes you just have to take the leap, and build your wings on the way down.
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Quintessential Kate
True Blue Farmgirl

175 Posts

Kate
Tyler TX
USA
175 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  06:47:54 AM  Show Profile
I know I've said this before... but I LOVE this topic. I have learned so much through this and I thank all of you.

I have several comments....so here goes.

Ronna,
You're welcome! I never want to step on anyone's toes...or be a "buttinski", but I saw the post and since I had just made your recipe...I responded. AND what a GREAT recipe it is. Thank you sooooo much for sharing it with us.

Paper or plastic?? I think, waaaaay back in the single digit pages of this thread, MaryJane mentioned paper sacks for storing our breads. (And again....I don't want to be putting words in someone's mouth...so set me straight). Anyway, I am using a paper grocery bag. I have used plastic ziplock bags to store my "breadmachine bread" and because our breads have no preservatives, they start growing a "beard" in a relatively short amount of time, unlike the "Frankenstein bread" we buy in the grocery store.
I like the brown paper bag. Yes, the cut end of the bread is dry, but once it's cut off, there's a soft, chewy slice of bread just begging to be eaten. I have a nice sharp bread knife and just slice off less than 1/4"....and set that thin piece on a rack, and once it's completely dry I crumble it up and put it in my "breadcrumb jar". If you are going to make the breadcrumbs...make sure it's absolutely dry before adding to your other crumbs...or one day you'll pull out your breadcrumbs and find a nice beard growing in the jar.

And...one more question/comment! Does anyone know the record number of pages on any given topic here at MJF???? Just curious, as this one is growing by leaps and bounds everyday.

Okay, okay, okay....one more thing. I was adding up my critters in my head.....2 schnauzers, 3 rescued cats, 2 cockatiels, one 50 gallon guppy aquarium, 2 beta bowls....and "Ma". These are all beings that need attention each and every day....they depend on me for their nourishment. They all know that I will keep them safe and healthy....and they the four legged ones follow me around all day long. Oh....I'm so glad "Ma" stays on the counter in the kitchen. I LOVE them all!!!!!



This is Jill....my toy schnauzer. She's a cutie pie and a JOY. She will soon be 3 and weighs almost 7 pounds.

Ciao,
Kate

Heart of Texas
Chapter
AKA: Hot Farmgirl #234
http://quintessentialkate.blogspot.com

Today is my best day!
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TheresaB
True Blue Farmgirl

393 Posts

Theresa
Loveland Colorado
USA
393 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  07:26:37 AM  Show Profile
My first sourdough loaf turned out divine! It's already gone. Aesthetically, it wasn't very pleasing as it stuck like mad to the enameled cast iron (even though I oiled it prior) and the pan was too big so it spread out like a free form loaf. Looks aside, it tasted wonderful and I am so happy with it. Decided I will feed the Queen more and bake twice this week.

Thank you all, I love this thread!

Theresa in Colorado
Proud Farmgirl Sister #124
www.thegypsysdaughter.etsy.com
www.thegypsysdaughter.blogspot.com

"I see skies of blue, clouds of white, the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night, and I think to myself, "What a Wonderful World!" ~ Louis Armstrong
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Amie C.
True Blue Farmgirl

2099 Posts


Finger Lakes Region NY
2099 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  08:13:00 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by kristin sherrill

Has anyone done a survey yet to see who's had good luck with their dough and who hasn't? I'd love to know the percentage of no rise at all to a great rise. Just a thought.

[...]

Amie, was this your first try?




This was my first try with the MJF starter. I made sourdough bread last weekend from a starter I had begun earlier with commercial yeast. Sourdough bread seems to be a cultural trend this winter! That bread turned out quite well.

I'm not terribly worried about my failure...I suppose the wild yeast may take longer to get established and I'll have to work on some kind of trick to keep the mother warmer. I'm not home during the day, so I can't move it around and adjust it.

I tried using the electric-blanket cat bed that we got as a Christmas present. Mr. Stubbs won't go anywhere near it, and I thought it might as well get used for something. But my mother is too bulky to tuck in where the warmth stays. I may try our heating pad next, but I'm afraid of killing the yeast off.
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  08:37:06 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by willowtreecreek

Remember that sourdough starter is a living organism. It is made of wild yeasts that have been captured from the air. The starter will consume starch in the flour, and it produces alcohol (hooch) at the end of the process. The starter will be like a smooth batter when you feed it. As it digests the new flour you have added it will bubble and froth. When it has "eaten" all the available food it will start to produce hooch, the liquid layer you'll see on the top.
When the hooch builds up, and there's no more bubbling activity, it's time to feed the starter. The Hooch will build up more as the week goes on. when you add your flour and water in the morning you can stir it back in. It is a natural process and will not hurt anything.

Farmgirl Sister #17
Blog
www.willowtreecreek.wordpress.com
Felt and Fabric Crafts
www.willowartist.etsy.com
www.willowtreecreek.com




Jill - above is an explination about the liquid on top. I am currently working with three starters and 2 produced a lot of hooch and 1 produced none. If you get a lot - try adding a tablespoon or two of flour to your feeding the next morning to see if that helps a little.

Many of the girls who had hard loafs last week baked beautiful ones this week. Remember that your starter needs to build up natural yeast. I'm certain if you keep at it your loafs next week will be even better. Depending on your air quality in your home you will have varying amount of natural yeasts. Your starter may just need to develop more.

Also - free form loafs or loafs cooked in a cast iron pan that doesnot touch the dough will tend to "spread out" rather than "rise" That is just the nature of the dough. If your pan is too large add some extra flour when you are mixing so your dough isn't quite as "gooey" .

KATE - I read several resources that suggest paper bags as well and that suggest you turn the loaf cut side down. That is how I plan to store mine unless I notice it REALLY drying out like someone else did and then I may try the airtight container.

I am baking three loafs today. I am doing 1 in the cast iron and two on stoneware baking sheet. I was gonna give the enamled cast iron a try but it is full of Chili for lunch today!

Here are some pics of my loafs rising.




Farmgirl Sister #17
Blog
www.willowtreecreek.wordpress.com
Felt and Fabric Crafts
www.willowartist.etsy.com
www.willowtreecreek.com
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Alee
True Blue Farmgirl

22856 Posts

Alee
Worland Wy
USA
22856 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  08:39:32 AM  Show Profile  Click to see Alee's MSN Messenger address  Send Alee a Yahoo! Message
Hi Jill! What the starter is trying to do is grow wild yeasts and bacterias. According to "Ask a Scientist" The optimum yeast growing temperature is between 86 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit (30-37 Celsius), though 70-75 will work. So your starter might be in hibernation if it is closer to 60 degrees where it is growing and you might need to find somewhere a little warmer to keep her so she can grow a bit more.



Alee
Farmgirl Sister #8
www.awarmheart.com
Please come visit Nora and me on our blog: www.farmgirlalee.blogspot.com
Put your pin on the farmgirl map! www.farmgirlmap.blogspot.com
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Alee
True Blue Farmgirl

22856 Posts

Alee
Worland Wy
USA
22856 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  08:40:33 AM  Show Profile  Click to see Alee's MSN Messenger address  Send Alee a Yahoo! Message
Oh and I forgot to mention- Doug had named our starter "Ma Stonefeld" because he says that sounds like an old timey name! LOL

Alee
Farmgirl Sister #8
www.awarmheart.com
Please come visit Nora and me on our blog: www.farmgirlalee.blogspot.com
Put your pin on the farmgirl map! www.farmgirlmap.blogspot.com
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willowtreecreek
True Blue Farmgirl

4813 Posts

Julie
Russell AR
USA
4813 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  08:49:07 AM  Show Profile
Alee you want to be careful about your STARTER being in a location that warm. The starter is really "collecting" yeasts and feeding. Keeping the temperature of your starter this high could cause bacteria to grow in your starter. The starter itself is better kept at temperatures below 80 with 60-70 being the optimum temperature. The dough on the other hand does need a warm place to rise and between 70-80 degrees is perfect for this.

Jill - just incase you missed it I reposted about the "hooch" (liquid on top) at the bottom of page 16.

Farmgirl Sister #17
Blog
www.willowtreecreek.wordpress.com
Felt and Fabric Crafts
www.willowartist.etsy.com
www.willowtreecreek.com
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Ronna
True Blue Farmgirl

1891 Posts

Ronna
Fernley NV
USA
1891 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  08:49:07 AM  Show Profile
Your starter can be called whatever you want, but actually a mother is a chunk of dough kept from one baking to the next and a starter is thinner. I like mine the consistency of pancake batter, some keep it thinner or thicker as they choose.
An alternative to a paper bag is putting the loaf cut side down on a wood board, pizza stone, unglazed pottery or some such that will allow it to breathe and any excess moisture to be absorbed. Be sure it's totally cold from baking-which it should be if you've waited to cut into it. If you cut too soon, and it's hard to wait, you may have a doughy slice when it's actually baked but not left to cool.
Have to go back and read, think I had a couple other suggestions.
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Ronna
True Blue Farmgirl

1891 Posts

Ronna
Fernley NV
USA
1891 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  08:56:43 AM  Show Profile
I believe the longest thread on this forum is Aprons and more in the
Stitching area. And I'm guilty of adding to it.
Julie, yes, too much warmth will allow on overgrowth of the wrong bacteria. This summer, when the kitchen is hot and not much baking done, those who have kept their starter may need/want to keep it in the frige. Only takes about an hour to come to room temp when you're ready to use it again.
I started to count the number of bread books I have and it's a couple dozen, but just a handful devoted to sourdough only. I buy all those when I see them in the thrift shops to share with others.
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wooliespinner
True Blue Farmgirl

1311 Posts

Linda
Manchester Ohio
1311 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  09:08:47 AM  Show Profile
I was so excited yesterday. I started my mother last Sunday. I made my first loaf of bread in a 2 quart dutch oven Saturday and it rose wonderfully !!! It rose so well that after 6 hours I baked it. The crust was thin and crunchy.....everyone loved it. This is so cool.

I started my mother on Sunday with unbleached white flour. Then from there on out I mixed half white flour and half homeground Montana gold wheat. The experiment worked out great. I was amazed at how sour the bread tasted after just one week.

Today I added 3 times as much water and flour mixture(unbleached white and Montana gold) so we can have more than one loaf a week. I can't wait to try the cin/raisin bread. I didn't use organic flour when I started my mother. All I had was a good unbleached flour and my own homeground. I was worried it wouldn't work but went ahead and tried it anyway. So was glad it worked and I think adding the homeground really helped too. Finding organic flour is not easy and the stores aren't close that have it. When I venture out will pick some up. Until then will just keep working with what I have.

Hope everyone ends up with great bread.Those that have not had good luck yet keep trying. I think you will eventually get some wonderful bread.

Linda

Raspberry Run Farm
Nubian Dairy Goats
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Alee
True Blue Farmgirl

22856 Posts

Alee
Worland Wy
USA
22856 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  12:36:18 PM  Show Profile  Click to see Alee's MSN Messenger address  Send Alee a Yahoo! Message
Hi Ladies!

As you will see in my previous post, I did mention that 70-75 degrees works
great for sourdough, which is what the average room temperature is.

However, I am concerned that bacteria is getting a bad rap. Yeasts cause the
bread to rise, but the local bacteria is what gives each sourdough its
individual flavor. For instance, the local bacteria in San Francisco (that
makes San Francisco Sourdough Bread famous) has been given its own name-
Lactobacillus San Francisco.

The symbiotic relationship between yeast and certain bacterias--especially
the universally prevalent Lactobacillus strains, creates a PH Balance that
is unreceptive to bad bacteria unless the PH balance gets disrupted. When
this happens you will know it right away. There will be a really foul odor,
and often times black bacteria or pink or even red bacteria grows. Of course
if you start seeing green, purple or any other color other than tan in the
starter, you have some sort of mold or fungus growing. However the hooch or
liquid that rises to the top after it's eaten all its food can be clear,
yellowish, or even gray which is all perfectly normal. Here are just a few
of the links that I found useful.

The higher temperatures are fine for sour dough. The summer that I did sour
dough, it was fine in my unconditioned kitchen with temperatures in the
eighty to ninety degree range. Also if you consider the fact that sour dough
has been around since ancient Egyptian times, long before air conditioning,
it would have had to work at warm temperatures during the summer months.

Here are some links to my sources with a short explanation of what I took
from each source below:

http://www.schoolofbaking.com/sourdough_tips.htm
International School of baking- recommends 85 degrees temperatures while
feeding sour dough

http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/bio99/bio99693.htm
Ask a scientist- specific temperature range

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqxkMqsEQI0
Quick You Tube Video of Food Network's Alton Brown (science cooking)
explaining Sour Dough and Ph level

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:Sourdough_Starter
Has a section about temperature



Alee
Farmgirl Sister #8
www.awarmheart.com
Please come visit Nora and me on our blog: www.farmgirlalee.blogspot.com
Put your pin on the farmgirl map! www.farmgirlmap.blogspot.com
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kristin sherrill
True Blue Farmgirl

11303 Posts

kristin
chickamauga ga
USA
11303 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  1:40:07 PM  Show Profile
I started my "momma" this morning! (That's mine's name) I was reading alot here just now and am glad. It was so cold here that my well was frozen so I used bottled spring water from the fridge. So I put it in a small pan on low to get the chill off. I am glad I did now. So it's sitting on my stove in the kitchen. It is about 65 in there if I'm not cooking. I had to peek under the cloth (I hope she doesn't mind) and there are bubbles already!! I sure hope this works.

So not only is this fun and hopefully I'll get some great bread, but it's also educational. It's like a science lesson every time I get on here. I do know certain bacteria is good for us, but I guess too much isn't. That's why I don't have any anti-bacterial soaps in my house. And so each house probably has all this different stuff floating around in it. If we had a taste of everyone's bread from all over this country, it would all taste different because of all the different bacterias and yeasts. That's so amazing. Thanks for all this info.

Kris

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. Maori proverb
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gramadinah
True Blue Farmgirl

3455 Posts

Diana
Orofino ID
USA
3455 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  2:13:33 PM  Show Profile
So mom is resting nicely I have attempted bread twice the first time the dogs got it the second was very tough crust and dense inside but we ate it. I keep forgetting to ask on the days I bake bread do I feed mom and then take out my starter or not feed her at all that day?
I will have a loaf of bread if it takes forever.

Diana

Farmgirl Sister #273
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Alee
True Blue Farmgirl

22856 Posts

Alee
Worland Wy
USA
22856 Posts

Posted - Jan 25 2009 :  2:24:22 PM  Show Profile  Click to see Alee's MSN Messenger address  Send Alee a Yahoo! Message
Hi Diana!

On the day you bake you don't feed your starter, you just bake with it. That way all the by products of your yeast eating the starch gets captured in the bread. The by products are gasses that cause the bubbling/rise. Then the next day you start feeding the starter again.

Alee
Farmgirl Sister #8
www.awarmheart.com
Please come visit Nora and me on our blog: www.farmgirlalee.blogspot.com
Put your pin on the farmgirl map! www.farmgirlmap.blogspot.com
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