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The rehabilitation of a failed baker


gsquared
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Hmm...maybe the starter is not yet fully active.

No worries, just give the preferment a few more hours, if you can.

and refresh the starter (throw out half, add another 100gm flour and 100gm water0, leave out (ideally 30C but room temperature will do) for 24 hours.

Ok. Room temp is a chilly 18C today, so I'll try to keep both at around 28C. I'll report back tomorrow morning.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Do you have a light in the oven?

Turn the light on, place the strter in the oven... that should give you a constant temperature... around 28C

Sometimes I proof my bread that way.

Edited by MamaC (log)
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Do you have a light in the oven?

Turn the light on, place the strter in the oven... that should give you a constant temperature... around 28C

Sometimes I proof my bread that way.

Thanks. The light in my oven is a teeny one, but I'll switch it on and take the temp.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Change the bulb? :raz:

Good luck

Might help... to also place a pot of hot water in the oven but covered with a lid and a thick towel so the steam wouldn't get to the starter. Just enough to keep a constant temperature in there.

The oven is a close space and cold air can't get in and out... as in open spaces.

Edited by MamaC (log)
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Hullo, Gerhard.

I can't help feeling excited for you now that you have Jack's starter too. No matter how 'unlively' things are looking, do persevere. My experience with Jack's starter. It's been a year since, and I'm still amazed by its readiness to perform. :wub:

By the way, your intriguing blog encouraged me to have dinner at Our One-and-Only South African restaurant and we were not disappointed. A return for the more exotic stuff in the menu is highly likely.

Rooting for you. You're in good hands.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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By the way, your intriguing blog encouraged me to have dinner at Our One-and-Only South African restaurant and we were not disappointed. A return for the more exotic stuff in the menu is highly likely.

Rooting for you. You're in good hands.

Thanks, TP!

I am somewhat amazed that there is an S.A. restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. "Kudu bar" though? Taking the concept of "watering hole" to the extreme?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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The preferment is dead and discarded. The mother look more promising.

gallery_7837_2715_21819.jpg

Jack:- leave it for longer or start the preferment again?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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I am somewhat amazed that there is an S.A. restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. "Kudu bar" though? Taking the concept of "watering hole" to the extreme?

They have been around for 10 years, and, credit to you entirely, for giving us the necessary push to sample the cuisine. Article about them. The recipes look interesting...will try them soon. Are they authentic enough? With 3 young children in tow, we didn't manage to check out the Kudu.

Thank goodness Mother is looking very healthy.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Article about them. The recipes look interesting...will try them soon. Are they authentic enough?

Pretty authentic, except for the octopus potjie. Perhaps a nod to local preferences but all self-respecting S.A. potjiemakers will shudder at the thought.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Mother looks fine. I'd start the preferment. After all itd only 100g of flour if it doesn't work, but I expect it will...may need to leave the preferment for 24 hours, but see how it looks.

Ok. I'll let you know what the preferment looks like later this afternoon.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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The preferment has been going for 8 hours now. I am cautiously optimistic.

gallery_7837_2715_16347.jpg

Ready to rumble or should I give it a few hours more?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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I'd give it a few hours more, if you can (I don't know what time it is there). Up to 24 hours is OK.

Bear in mind that you will need 2 hours after mixing the dough, so you might want to leave it until the morning. Alternatively leve it a few hours then put it in the fridge (covered) until you are ready for the next step. Then take it out an let it warm up for a few hours in the morning. The great advantage of refrigeration is that you can do it when it suits you, rather than the other way round.

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I'd give it a few hours more, if you can (I don't know what time it is there).  Up to 24 hours is OK.

Bear in mind that you will need 2  hours after mixing the dough,  so you might want to leave it until the morning. Alternatively leve it a few hours then put it in the fridge (covered) until you are ready for the next step. Then take it out an let it warm up for a few hours in the morning. The great advantage of refrigeration is that you can do it when it suits you, rather than the other way round.

Thanks. It is now 15:30 here. I'll leave it until the morning, I think.

At what point does the food source provided by the 100g flour get exhausted?

Also, if I prefer to bake late tomorrow afternoon, will an 8 hour retarding in the fridge be sufficient? Should I rather make the dough in the morning, allow the rise and then leave in the fridge, probably for about 24 hours to account for my breakfast activities the day after?

Here are Jack's instructions:

For the next step you will need a something like a floured linen teatowel, a

chopping board and a rolling pin or equivalent.

Dough:

All the preferment above

500g flour (AP as above)

320g water

10g salt

1g Vitamin C (if you have any)

Put all the above in a strong food processor and whiz for 2 minutes.

The dough will pick up on the blade and then release.

This dough is very sticky indeed, and initially more like a cram than a

dough - don't panic, but make sure everything it touches is floured or

oiled.

In fact oil is probably easier than flour, at least initially. Wipe some oil

on a work surface and on your hands. Turn out the dough onto it. Otherwise

use lots of flour to tame the dough until you get used to it.

Fold sides to middle, and top to bottom twice - should begin to feel more

like dough. Divide into half and form each into a ball. Traditional way is

to take a corner and fold to the middle, rotate by 45 degrees and repeat 8

times around.

Form each into a baguette or batard shape: flatten the ball, then fold in

the corners then fold in half, and roll a bit.

Make the couche: Take your floured tea towel and wrap one end round the

rolling pin. Lots of flour or the dough will stick. Put one cylinder of

dough next to it, and fold up the tea towel. Then put the next piece of

dough and fold up the tea towel again, then another rolling pin or pieces of

wood.. Sort of like a W shape with the dough resting in the bottoms of the

V, supported either side, and with the centre fold separating the dough -

don't forget they will double or more. Put the whole thing in a large

plastic bag, like a bin liner and leave at 30C for 2 hours, then put in the

fridge.

Next day preheat the oven to hot (250C) with the empty heavy baking tin in

it. Also preheat an empty cast iron pan.

Might be useful to have a "flipping board": something like a strip of smooth

plywood or old floorboard the length of your baguette/oven/baking tray.

Flour it well, or use rice flour or corn meal. Roll a baguette carefully

onto it. Slash the top with five slashes (use a thin sharp knife or razor

blade), nearly parallel to the length, Roll off onto the hot baking tray in

the oven.  Do the same of the other loaf. Throw a cup of water into the cat

iron pan (caution hot steam) and slam the door. Wait 40 mins, or until the

bread is well coloured.

Eats better if allowed to cool somewhat before cutting.

The thought of actually having something to cool before eating leaves me somewhat breathless. Like when you went on your first date.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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I'm excited for you too...bread virginity...

The dough will need a total proof time from mixing to bake of about 4 hours. Overnight in the fridge is roughly equivalent to 2 hours warm, pretty well regardless of how long you leave in in the fridge (above say 4 hours in the fridge, and up to a few days) since it goes on proving a bit while it cools down. Thus you can mix, prove for 4 hours, then bake directly; or mix, prove the dough for 2 hours, refrigerate until ready, then bake from cold. I suggested this latter since it might suit your breakfast schedule better, and the cold dough is easier to handle.

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I'm excited for you too...bread virginity...

The dough will need a total proof time from mixing to bake of about 4 hours. Overnight in the fridge is roughly equivalent to 2 hours warm, pretty well regardless of how long you leave in in the fridge (above say 4 hours in the fridge, and up to a few days) since it goes on proving a bit while it cools down.  Thus you can mix, prove for 4 hours, then bake directly; or mix, prove the dough for 2 hours, refrigerate until ready, then bake from cold. I suggested this latter since it might suit your breakfast schedule better, and the cold dough is easier to handle.

Great! I shall wait until the morning then.

Not so sure about the bread virgin. Maybe closer to erectile dysfunction?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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THIS IS SO EXCITING! I wanna bake sourdough bread, too. I've always been a bit afraid of it, though I've long baked yeast breads with commercial yeast. When I was a teenager, I visited an aunt and uncle -- nothing special about that -- I'd been their guest plenty of times before. This time, though, something seemed very amiss in "my" area of the house in the basement. Uncle ____ had begun experimenting with sourdough baking in his quest to learn about all things self-sufficient and was keeping his starter on top of the water heater. A most unpleasantly noxious odor permeated the basement, including my bedroom. The resultant bread birthed from said starter was, um, unusual, as in, not good. I got out while I was still alive...

Am a bit confused by these celsius numbers being thrown around as though most of the world used the metric system or something. Somebody take pity on me and tell me what 30 degrees C converts to in Fahrenheit. (I'm guessing it means "warm".) One last question: is it possible to be an adequate baker of sourdough bread and without being the possessor of a scale? Somebody say yes.

I lied -- one more question: Can somebody tell me how to make the start of sourdough starter? Please don't point me to the EGI course. I've read much of it a few months ago, but, good as it is, I remember a lot of metric system, right? Though this post probaby contradicts my assertion, I'm really not stupid, but I just don't do numbers very well. My intellectual functions on the planet are to write, appreciate and enthuse over history, art, and nature, and procure math tutors for my homeschooled children.

Gerhard, I'm pulling for you. May your starter ever bubble and your loaves never meet your foot.

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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umm...most of the world uses the metric system.

However nothing to be afraid of. 30C is near enough 90F.

To convert C to F multiply by 9, divide by 5 and add 32.

Roughly double and add 30.

You do really need a scale. The digital scales are easy and comparatively inexpensive. A digital scale and a digital thermometer will make your cooking a lot more accurate and reproducible - although there is one person I know who claims measuring anything takes the soul out of it.

Most digital scales let you switch from imperial to metric. Volume measures for dry ingredients like flour are much less precise and depend on the type of flour, the humidity and how tightly packed.

Easy conversion is that 1oz is roughly 25g, so 100g is 4oz, and 100g/4oz is near enough one cup, although strictly one cup is 113g white flour on average. Water being denser a cup weighs 229g, so 100g is roughly half a cup.

So we have been talking about 90F and a cup of flour and half a cup of water.

Making sourdough starter is easy, you just need patience. The bugs are already present in the flour, you just have to give them the right environment to breed. Take a cup of flour and half a cup of water. You can add a tablespoon of rye flour and some diastic malt if you happen to have some as they have the enzymes to promote growth, but it works fine without. Don't add sugar or fruit. Mix them together and put them, covered, in a warm place - 90F. Leave for about 4 days, or until its bubbly, stirring everyday. Now throw 2/3rds away and add another cup of flour and half a cup of water and stir, and leave overnight in the warm or until its bubbly. This step, called refreshing, gets rid of a lot of the junk and waste, and promotes the growth of the right bugs. Refresh a couple more times, and you are ready to bake, or to store the starter int he fridge until you need it.

Alternatively PM me your snail mail address and I'll send you some of mine.

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My comment about the rest of the world was totally tongue-in-cheek -- I promise I'm not an Ugly American. :smile:

Ninety degrees F, huh? I'm trying to think where in my house I could replicate that at this time of year.

If I can figure out where it can live, I would love to have some of your starter, Jack, and it is terribly kind of you to offer to go to the trouble to send it. Let me think, let me think.

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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Thank you, Michael. Consider it bookmarked. Charts exist for people like me who shudder when people like Jack start out with, "Coverting to celsius is simple. Just divide..." I'd like to think that if Jack and I were friends "in real life," he'd often shake his head ruefully but affectionately at me behind my back and wonder at my ability to exist so blithely in a world of numbers, while I would count (on my fingers, of course!) him among my greatest blessings, a companion of concreteness and exactitude, a resource for figuring out the measurements of anything I want to build, cook, or grow. (Don't worry, Jack, my husband generally takes care of these things for me -- I won't be emailing you every time I design a new perennial bed or bookshelf.)

Edited by Lori in PA (log)

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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As per Jack's instructions, I put the ingredients into a food processor and whizzed for 2 minutes. Looked good.

gallery_7837_2715_11722.jpg

This is what it looked like after removing it from the Magimix. The glint is due to the oil on my hands.

gallery_7837_2715_10192.jpg

Folded as per instructions.

I had a baguette pan around and used that as the couche - made getting it into the bag easier. I am not so sure that the shapes are good, but the wet dough is not all that easy to shape.

gallery_7837_2715_21531.jpg

Into the bin liner. Actually a garbage bag - I do hope that is not an omen. Note the printout of Jack's instructions lying on the scale.

gallery_7837_2715_21746.jpg

Two questions, Jack:

I left the preferment overnight and removed it from the 30C environment early this morning. When I got around to mixing the dough, the preferment had only a few small bubbles - it seemed pretty dormant. I assume that the additional food and 2 hours at 30C will revive it?

Should I see a doubling in size during the 2 hours proving? Will insufficient increase in size be a harbinger of doom? I think I will post a pic after two hours before putting it in the fridge.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Sorry to be late checking in. Both me and the computer had trouble waking up.

The bread looks great! The leaven will wake up when it gets more food, its hungry

After 2 hours the dough will begin to move a bit, but probably not double. Its quite a subtle change.

The major volume increase will come from spring in the oven, and its better for the dough to be under proved than over proved.

Are you going to put it in the fridge, or let it prove for 4 hours and bake it today?

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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Am a bit confused by these celsius numbers being thrown around as though most of the world used the metric system or something.  Somebody take pity on me and tell me what 30 degrees C converts to in Fahrenheit.  (I'm guessing it means "warm".)  One last question:  is it possible to be an adequate baker of sourdough bread and without being the possessor of a scale?  Somebody say yes.

Bite the bullet. Get some equipment (measuring cups, thermometers, scale) that can swing both US and metric measures.

The only pricy bit is the scale, but it is super useful. Many of them come with lbs and kilos. (The tare is a must.) Besides ducking out on all the computations, it will help you avoid the weight variable in weighing such things as flour.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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