I can, actually, bake bread that turns out near-perfectly -- brown crust, open crumb, great flavor. I do this at least once a week, experimenting with flours and flavorings.
I explain this, because, once again, my June bread for the Babes has failed. Oh, it looks fine on the outside and has a tangy flavor, but if one were to throw it at an intruder, and if it were to connect with said intruder, that individual would be knocked out cold.
The experience began on a promising note.
I revived my dormant starter. It looked fine, smelled fine, and was all nice and bubbly.
I picked fresh lemons and tangerines from my backyard trees.
I used the emmer flour that I had purchased at a local, artisan bakery.
I used a seed mixture that I found at Trader Joe's.
All ingredients came together nicely, although there was little evidence of a rising dough. That should have been a red flag.
But, I continued on.
The loaves went into the oven. The loaves came out of the oven.
Dense. Heavy. Dangerous. Small crumb. Too sour.
Because of my initial disclaimer, I know I can bake bread. I've been doing it successfully for decades. Clearly, there must be a weak link among the ingredients. I suspect it is the starter.
Before I condemn it to the compost bin, I have been experimenting with a different process. Stage one was successful; stage two had mixed results, but I did take the stage two #2 starter and refresh it. Stage three seems viable. Tonight I have created a biga, using the stage three starter. In 24 hours, or so, I will see if that works, then continue on to the next stage. If it works, terrific. If not, it's back to square one and a new process.
All that aside, the other Babes had great success with the June recipe. All their breads look beautiful, outside and inside.
Cathy, at Bread Experience, was the Kitchen of the Month. You can find the recipe for Pain au Levain on her website. You still have time to bake this loaf and submit it to Cathy for the Buddy roundup.
Also, be sure to check out the results from the other, successful, Babes.
- blog from OUR kitchen – Elizabeth
- A Messy Kitchen – Kelly
- Karen’s Kitchen Stories – Karen
- Bread Experience – Cathy
- Feeding My Enthusiasms – Elle
- Thyme for Cooking – Katie
- My Kitchen in Half Cups – Tanna
- My Diverse Kitchen – Aparna