The weather has been frightful. More to the point, it's hot as hell but my levains have been stuck in the fridge, unfed. And if I don't get back to feeding them they may not come back to life. Despite lacking the scientific eye of some fellow bakers, these last few weeks led me to an observation. Specifically this: I made some bread using a lower hydrated levain; around 60%…what's called a stiff levain. Now, I have been a liquid levain user for sometime, and I can tell you it's a hard habit to quit. Anyway, this particular levain came from a formula I often use for a miche. It comes from an article Amy Scherber had written for in Pastry Arts and Design few years back when I was just getting a grip on Miche (lots of double entendre in baking terminology!)
Nevermind, my wife had laid down her golden rule for our NYC apartment. No baking in this summer heat, especially with her family visiting! Thankfully they loved this bread so much they asked me to bake another loaf to take home. No problemo! And from this loaf was left over a bit of levain which was duly dispatched and propagated for the next loaves for the care packages. Ready for my observation? Here goes. This same levain somehow still showed strength after sitting in the fridge. With just two feedings it was percolating , ripe and ready to make some awesome loaves. I used Jeffrey Hamelman's book, which admittedly I haven't had that much luck with in making a fantastic loaf for some odd reason. Strange since I took a course with him and the formulas are spot on? Must be me, the heat, or my schedule.
Enough verbiage. Here are two of my latest bakes…mostly big miche's that I baked au creuset, to get that nice crust and bakery look!
Another levain from Hamelman…levain with whole wheat.
Oh, and it makes for a great peanut butter and marmalade tartine too!
Title of my post is from the Honorable Robert Nesta,"Bob Marley", song Bus dem shut (Pyaka).
This is post is being submitted at Susan's yeast spotting!