Skip to main content

The Sourdough Project, Day 1

Crust makes the pie. Master the dough, master the Universe.

I have been making my own pizza dough from scratch, every weekend for the past 3 years. I think it's safe to say that I might be getting the hang of it. I have finally gotten to the point where the dough is lovely and fragrant, the homemade sauce is piquant and aromatic, and my cheese of choice (cut from a block rather than getting a bag of shredded mozzarella), are producing edible joy on a weekly basis.

But it's not enough. It's never enough.

Everyone has their own idea of what the perfect dough should be; New York thin, Chicago thick, West Coast crunchy....Papa John's (not saying anything bad about Papa's. If eating dog turd on a cracker is your idea of a perfect...by all means...mangiare). My vision of perfection is thin. Not paper thin, but thin, with just a slight chew. Something that holds up to the scrutiny of the heartiest of toppings, yet not so obnoxious as to insist on usage of fork and knife. I've tasted this in a couple of places, and they've immediately became my favorite. Which is why it maddens me that I can't replicate it, or rather up until now, haven't replicated it.Gathering ingredients and toolsPeter Reinhart's American Pie is quickly becoming an important read in my library, right up there with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It's equal parts questing travelogue and cook book. Within its pages, I recognized my own hunger for wanting something new; something I haven't tasted before. Maybe it buys into my obsessive nature, but I think I might have found my latest life's calling. I have never made it, but I'm sure I've had it, I believe a sourdough crust will be the next logical step in approaching bliss. Master the dough, master the Universe. For as long as it takes, I will chronicle my quest for my white whale. For the one or two of you who caught my previous blogs, I don't think I need to explain my need to indulge in labor intensive activities. Sourdough takes patience, nurturing, a keen eye, and lots and lots of time. Sounds like something that's right up my alley.

Day 1:

Presently, I'm used to making my dough the American way, as opposed to the traditional, Italian, DOC approved, kinda tasteless dough. I've made it the traditional way, I found it in direct violation to my delicate American taste buds. I stick with what works and stopped giving a damn on what the DOC thinks.
Still, the dough that I make, while sufficient, isn't quite doing it for me. Which is why I'm switching to sourdough. Now, this is something new to me. Sourdough is made from a wild yeast. Wild Yeast is not found in stores. Wild yeast has to be farmed fresh. Wild yeast originates from a mother starter. A mother starter comes from what they call a seed culture. A seed culture is produced by making bacteria, and they way to get this certain type of bacteria is by introducing pineapple juice to whole wheat flour. I'm process oriented, but there's a simplicity to this that intrigues me. Bread has been made like this for centuries. It's important to remember one's roots.

Today, I make the seed culture. Initially, it takes less time than my usual dough prep. But my usual prep time is for one night, and one night only. Sourdough prep time takes days. It's like a plant: Tend to it, walk away, let it do its thing.
Adding the wet to dryIncorporate ingredients, knead into a tennis ball sized ball, cover in an air tight container, leave on a counter top for twenty-four hours, and bam! Instant seed culture. Time to go on to step two.

Dough!

More later.


Popular posts from this blog

The Strays of Hotel Pine St. Part 2

November.

Another November has come calling to our Hotel. In an ideal world, it would be as quaint as a Grandma Moses painting this time of year; everyone all snug and cozy in their idyllic, New England scenery and stiff linen shirts while somewhere a hearth was burning bright against the impending gloom that was lumbering in from the top left corner of the canvas. But for our little building in our little neighborhood, we had to make do with what was offered.

Being an old building, every corner and joint, everywhere where wood met wood, there was air escaping through it. Fortunately, air conditioning is a foreign concept for many of the historical buildings in Maine. A cool breeze was a good friend to have in July, but by November, he has worn out his welcome. Drafty. But, as time went on, you eventually got used to the klunk-klunk-klunk of the window in the living room that was dangling by sheer will itself every time a breeze wanted to let itself out. You eventually didn't not…

So Glad You Asked (Warning: Contains Lame Top 5 List)

There are a dozen things on my plate that are begging for my attention at the moment; not least of which is trying to find gainful employment.
I just bought stacks of index cards this weekend, so I'm pretty serious about writing Chapter 2 and beyond for my current piece of fiction. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.I have to finish a company logo for a re-launching of one of my brands. I love the process, but designing is still “French As a Second Language” type of thing for me. Left to my own devices, something that should take minutes takes hours.There are courses that I started weeks ago and have yet to finish; Not because they're boring, which they are, but because I have begun to question the validity of such an endeavor to begin with. I'm I helping myself, or am I kidding myself? And cooking and cleaning and on and on... Oh, and not to mention that something had better change for the good soon because I'm going to be welcoming another child into my …

With Apologies To Crosley Owners (A Brief Overview of the Crosley C200A)

Let's talk about fandoms for a minute.

Fandoms usually revolve around a particular celebrity, fictional character or pop culture staple. Fandoms have been around for as long as anyone can remember, and seem to have a direct correlation to serialized fiction: Turn of the Century fans of  "Sherlock Holmes":: Present day fans of "Game of Thrones".

At their best, fandoms could boost an economy, foreshadow a direction in which a society is headed, and cultivate new paradigms and metrics in which we as consumers purchase things.

At their worst, they're a dense jungle filled with big animals with big teeth who look at you as a nice little snack.

Actually, that's not true. Uummmm...

At their worst, they're a gauntlet of San Quintin lifers, and it's your first day in the slam, and they're all looking at you like you're a nice little snack...

...holy hell, where did that come from? Okay, one more time...

At their worst, they are a society of unwa…