Okay, so after accidentally killing off our ball of old dough “yeast”, I had to start over. Since I have no idea how my grandmother got her first ball of old dough, this is all a guessing game, anyhow!
This time, I went with another old technique: the sponge.
It’s just 2 cups warm water, 2 cups flour and 2 Tbsp of yeast, mixed together. This is the sort of thing one might put into the fridge overnight, to bake in the morning. Instead, I put it in the oven that was warmed up to its lowest setting, then turned off.
After about an hour or more, the resulting sponge was all soft and fluffy!
I added another half cup of warm water, which also made it easier to transfer it to my big mixing bowl, then added the salt and flour, as usual.
Once I’d kneaded in as much flour as I wanted (I have to catch myself and not add too much!), the dough was set aside to rise in a floured bowl. Once again, it went into a warm oven to rise.
But not before I took out a dough baby! My mother described my grandmother as taking dough out for the next batch after the second rising, when she was shaping the loaves. Since I’m using actual yeast in this, I did only one rising before shaping the loaves. I flattened the ball out this time, to see how that changes things as it sits buried in the flour.
As for the rising dough, it ended up taking about 2 hours, even with using commercial yeast!
This would have been a 2 loaf recipe, but I decided to play around a bit.
I made 4 plain mini loaves, first.
Yes, there are only 3 in the picture. My husband already ate one. 😀
After taking the picture, I ate one, too!
The other half was used to make surprise buns. During our city shop, I’d found a gouda-like cheese (I can’t remember what it was actually called) with truffle in it. There was still some left, so I cut it into small slices and wrapped them inside the dough.
I did try and seal the dough well, but as you can see in the photo, the cheese still made its way out, and started bubbling in the middle!
I can hardly wait to try it out!
With our new dough baby, I will have to make a point of using it every few days again. Since I didn’t start out with an “instant sourdough” yeast, it will take longer to develop that sour flavour. At least, that’s my assumption.
I will also keep taking the dough baby out for the next batch at the start, as the dough it being setting aside to rise. That way, I can do things later on, like knead baking soda in again, or knead in things like herbs or shredded cheese or anything else that catches my fancy.
I just have to not kill the old dough again! 😀