Monday, August 2, 2010

makin' lemonaide from hot hot lemons

ooh mama it is feeling like texas.
today will be day two of triple digit heat.  

so far the creatures have been doing well.  a good great number of the chickenychicas are moulting.  bunbun is placed in the shade and comforted by his very own whirling fan while the kitty creatures and myself seek shelter in the shaded parts of the homestead place.  

i am busy on project this morn in hopes of moving the project on to the next phase later this afternoon.  moving the project on would make time for honey extraction of the frames from hive one and honey pulling from hive two but all in good time.  first things first.  

i had an interesting live active culture bread experience here just the other day.  i set out a jar partially filled with an organic flour and water mix.  no yeast was added just the flour and water.  i let the mix set for a few days, feeding a bit more flour and water each day until naturally formed culture bubbles were witnessed.  the bubbles were present day three, a sure sign that natural yeasts and bacteria were captured and in process of turning the flour and water into a lovely sourdough starter.  or so i thought.  

as the days passed, the starter began to smell cheesy-ish but looked fine.  there was no mold growth, nothing looked odd in color, everything seemed good.  i thought hmmpfh,  that must be what bastroptown yeast smells like.  five days in, i decided to make bread as it was bubbling real good and the homestead bread stores were down.  

again, while rising, i sensed the cheese-ish smell.  cheddar cheese i thought or rather cheddar like.  interesting.  and sure enough once baked and sliced there was a deep cheese flavor to the loaf.  deep enough to fool anyone who might not know it was a cheese-less organic loaf.  so i got to wondering which got me to searching for what might be going on.  i was sure it was something that magically occurred in the fermentation process.  i was not sure what the magic was until i came upon the following. 
Salt rising (or salt risen) bread is bread in which the main rising agent is a bacterium Clostridium perfringens , which leavens the bread along with lactobacillus and other wild microbes, as opposed to mainly yeast or baking soda. It is thought that the salt used in the starter is used to suppress yeast growth and provide an environment more conducive to the C. perfringens bacterium, allowing the flavors from the bacterial metabolic products to predominate over the more typical yeast and lactobacillus flavors; in situations where reduced salt might be necessary, similar yeast suppression results can be achieved by adding a Campden tablet to the starter mixture. Another assumption regarding the name is chunks of rock salt were heated and used to provide a warm, stable temperature in which to incubate a "starter" overnight for the C.perfringens to grow.

Salt rising bread is made from wheat flour, with a starter consisting of a liquid (water or milk), either corn, potatoes, or wheat, and some other minor ingredients. The starter distinguishes itself from a sourdough starter by working best with an incubation period of 6-16 hours at temperatures ranging from 38-45° C (98-113° F); a sourdough starter will usually work best at or below room temperature. The resulting bread is of a dense crumb and favorable cheese-like flavor. The exact origin of this bread is unknown, but evidence suggests that it was well known throughout Scotland and Ireland during the mid- to late-1600s. Currently, the tradition is kept alive by relatively few individuals and bakeries that tend to be clustered in the mid to eastern United States. 
i believe the lack of a.c. in our hot hot temps helped to create a most excellent growing environment for the microbes and yeasts to grow. interesting fact though is that i used no salt nor campden tablet. the process happened all on it's own.

i put to jar another experiment just yesterday. this round is a mix of organic buckwheat flour, organic bread flour (wheat) and water. already it's bubbling. i wonder if it too will produce the cheese effect. all we can do is watch and wait. one thing for sure is that the temperatures are cooperating. i wonder what the yeasts and microbes will do next?

moral of this cheesy bread story...

it may feel hot for you.
it may feel the perfect temperature for others.

so when it's hot and your hankering for something cheesy put a mix of flour, water and time together and see if you too are able 
to make cheesy lemonaide from some hot hot lemons. or rather yeasts and microbes if you dare.


Kim said...

Very exciting experiments you've got going on over there in your universe. Scottish bread in Texas! Who da thunk!!!!
Mmmm then again, I see a new side business growing, especially if this bread of yours is a hard to find bread! Keep us posted.

Kate said...

I'm impressed! Glad the scorching heat wave and lack of a.c. have a silver lining. Your bread sounds delicious.