Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Backing Up to December 21: Or, How I Acquired Pete's Starter

My brother Peter Pilewskie, an avid bread baker since at least the time of his marriage in 1991, has kept a starter alive and well for the past 12 years.  Since he is now on sabbatical in Leipzig for 6 months, he really wanted to keep this starter going.  He froze some at home, and (I think) left some in his fridge there.  He brought some with him when he visited this past Christmas,  refreshing it at my house.  I baked a loaf of plain Italian bread from that starter- very nice rise, a kind of wet crumb, and very tasty.  I had not paid attention to the ratio of starter to flour, so it's possible I used too much starter.  Regardless, this stuff is potent and rises easily.

Peter took 1/2 c of starter with him and left me with about 1/2 cup,  stored in the fridge in a little plastic container with a "shower cap" top.  It has been in my fridge undisturbed  since December 27.  I took it out  before bed last night and set it overnight on the kitchen counter.  I refreshed it this morning with 2 c. flour and 1 c. water.  (Described in the previous post.)

See the next post for the bread that I baked from this batch.  I decided to weigh the starter I was keeping in the fridge so as to keep some of the variables manageable.  I need to look up the formulas for "hydration ratios" for bread.  It makes sense. I tend not to pay attention since I like to play around and do things by feel, but if I am to replicate recipes or at least keep track of how I preserved this starter for Pete, then I want to keep track.  Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. It really a loss that they took Home Ec classes out of the schools. How fascinating real life can be--painless biology, physics, and math--as well as Art. :-) Have a few people over to sample, and it's also sociology. :-)