Santa Monica – staff of life

The Santa Monica Farmer’s market on Wednesdays would be a reason to live in Santa Monica. We were there in the last weeks of our stay in Pasadena and generously was given some of the dried yeast from The Bread is Red (http://www.thebreadisred.com/). I didn’t exactly know how to use this particular product and in subsequent emails with the company’s bread-maker Rose, it’s clear I did not do it the way she would have instructed and she thought this dried yeast was not alive enough. But it still worked for us!

I started it late in the evening using a basic 5:3 weight ratio of wheat to water, about 17 ounces of flour to 10 ounces of warm water. The flour itself was three-quarters unbleached all purpose and a quarter whole wheat; plus salt (of course); one egg; and a very minor amount of honey (maybe half a tablespoon).

I added the yeast to the water and it took well over an hour to soften and I added a few tablespoons of flour.
I thought it was soft enough and added the rest of the flour and the other ingredients, kneaded by hand for maybe 15 minutes and put it into a covered bowl. It seemed barely to grow. Worry set in!
I popped it into the refrigerator overnight and in the morning it had got bigger but not in any obvious way, certainly not doubling in size. I let it sit out, covered, all day and finally I was pretty sure I had real and alive bread dough!
Into an oiled small cast iron pot, scored it, brushed some olive oil, chunky salt, covered, and in a 450 degree oven for about 30 min and about 12 minutes uncovered. If temperature measuring, looking an internal temperature of 200 degrees +\- about 5 degrees.
Voila!

Crusty sourdough bread, yeast from Santa Monica market

Crusty sourdough bread, yeast from Santa Monica market