Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bread rising

Kitten came ‘round yesterday with the world’s most perfect house warming present: Starter. Starter is a living thing that is used for making bread. It captures naturally occurring yeast from the air and gives it a nurturing home in a mixture of flour and water. This has several advantages: as you are already exposed to this yeast on an everyday basis, your body is accustomed to it and can digest it easily; you don’t have to buy manufactured yeast which is made in a factory and transported from far off places; a starter can live for hundreds of years, and some have; the timing is not fussy when you make bread this way; and it’s the prefect thing to give to friends when they move into their new home. I suspect that this has been a tradition since people started making bread.

Kitten actually brought two different starters. One is a rye starter, I started about two or three years ago (I’ll have to check back on my blog to see when) and gave to Mr and Mrs Kitten. I let mine die off when I got super-sick and couldn’t eat yeast in any form. The other, a white wheat starter, Curleysalamander started and gave to them.

Today I’m making bread for the family. I’m trying out Curleysalamander’s starter to see how it goes. As it’s still cold in the house, I have the dough sitting on top of the dehydrator for warmth. It seems to like it there. I put some Buddy Holly on earlier, but the dough seems to respond better to Grieg. My rye starter use to like something with a heavy beat, so it’s interesting to see how different starters respond to different music. I’ll have to get some Tchaikovsky and see how they like it.

You think I’m crazy? Bread responding to music? How can I tell? Simple. Yeast is a plant. Science says that plants respond to music and that different plants respond to different music. When yeast is happy, it makes the bread get bigger faster and the speed that the bread is rising has more than doubled since I switched music even though the room temperature is less in favour of helping the bread.

Something that makes me happy: a month ago, I didn’t have the energy to kneed the dough.


~Tonia~ said...

I have heard of the sour dough starter. Didn't realize that you can have them for any bread. Duhh.

Josiane said...

What a wonderful gift! And I'm so happy to read that you have the energy to knead bread dough again!
The thing about the music makes perfect sense, but I had never thought about it in relation to bread dough. I have to give it a try next time I make bread! I haven't yet made bread very often (though I would like to do it more often), and I'm still using manufactured yeast. I really have to try it with a starter one day.

TinkingBell said...

What a wonderful gift. I'm so happy you've moved in and are getting better.

Love the Canadian moving day - sounds like a Tasmanian moving day except that in Tassie the truck costs more and you're expected to supply beer at the end of the move - and you generally round up every friend you have wtih a ute or car and they move stuff too!