Tuesday, December 11, 2007

just, anticipation, waiving

With a half-hour wait on a cold platform as an alternative, catching a train, just.

I usually bake bread every week. Too often, I use a "sponge" made with a liberal quantity of fresh yeast, and the bread ferments and then, formed into loaves, proves in a matter of three or four hours. The bread is good, but not nearly as good, as when, leavened by a mature "starter", the dough ferments more slowly. It can take 12 or more hours to ferment and the same amount of time again for the loaves to prove. The result is sour dough bread, so flavoursome that, when it is fresh, you want nothing with it. This morning, having left the loaves to prove overnight, I come down to the kitchen full of pleasurable anticipation to see how well it has risen. I bake the bread after breakfast and the house fills with the smell.

A beaming woman waives vigorously in my direction. I have no idea who she is and I admit to a sense of relief when I realize that the object of her attention is walking behind me, and I do not have to summon a name from my failing memory.

2 comments:

Lucy said...

I must say I've never been overly impressed with sourdough bread, but perhaps the key is the patience required in leaving it to prove; it sound delicious.

Plutarch said...

Sourdough can be a dubious label in commercial bakeries. San Francisco used to be famous for sourdough bread, (I don't know if it still is) and I have never forgotten queuing up for a new batch from the baker on Fisherman's Wharf. The sour taste of the dough is part of the attraction when you bake it at home, but there is also the enhanced flavour of the flour brought on by long fermentation. It is significant, that bread made this way keeps fresh much longer.