July 15, 2004

We have seven critters living in the house:
me and J
the two boys
the dog
the cat
and Enrique.

Enrique lives in the refrigerator and eats once a week.

He is a sourdough sponge.

We know he is a boy because he is a slighly ruddy shade of beige, and in our house the boys have red hair while the girls are all dark tressed.

I got him the new-fashioned, way, by mail-order.

Every time we go to use him for bread or pancakes or whatever, we scoop out half of Enrique, add half a cup of de-chlorinated water(1) and a cup of AP flour, stir well, and let him sit out for about three hours before chucking him back into the 'fridge.

The half of Enrique that gets used is either used as starter in a recipe or worked into any yeasted product as if it were half a cup of water, a cup of flour, and a half-teaspoon of yeast. So my normal one pound loaf of bread changes from 3 cups of flour, 1 cup water, 1 1/2 tsp yeast, 3/4 tsp salt to being 1 unit Enrique, 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp yeast, 3/4 tsp salt. Does that make any sense?

Anyhow, Enrique needs to come out and play, for I ate the last of the bread for breakfast.

Did I mention that home-made bread and fresh blueberry jam is a very fine thing? I should mention that, for it is very true.

ps, this entry dedicated to Rocket Jones.

(1) To get dechlorinated water, either leave a pitcher out overnight or, for the lazy folks, keep some bottled water around. We use bottled water for baby formula and for feeding Enrique - buying the 2 1/2 gallon bottles at the discount club and keeping them in a corner of the kitchen.

Posted by Red Ted at July 15, 2004 01:19 PM | TrackBack

What's a sour dough sponge?

Posted by: Claire at July 17, 2004 06:25 AM


A sourdough sponge is a culture of yeast living in a slurry of flour and water. You can create one by making up a flour and water slurry, leaving it open on a windowsill for a few days, and then seeing what grows. Wild yeast will have unpredictable keeping, rising, and brewing tendencies, which is why once folks get a good sourdough culture they tend to preserve it and pass it along.

In the U.S. sourdoughs are commonly associated with San Francisco and New England. In Europe sourdoughs are more commonly found in rye breads and in some French breads - think about the sponge process that starts a brioche.

Yeast are little critters that eat sugar and excrete carbon dioxide and alcohol. They are used in both brewing and baking, although yeast has been bred for specific purposes over the millenia.

In general, commercial bread yeast works quickly and makes a lot of gas, commercial beer yeast works at moderate speed and produces little gas and lots of alcohol, sourdough yeast works slowly but creats a lot of gas and a little alcohol. Sourdough bread normally starts by an extended period where you let the sponge eat, followed by kneading, two long rises, and baking.

Posted by: Ted K at July 17, 2004 11:15 AM

I wub sourdough bread.

Posted by: Me. at July 18, 2004 12:15 PM

Thanks! I had a basic idea of sourdough starter, but no real details. Originally from Northern California, I grew up on sourdough bread.

Posted by: Ted at July 18, 2004 07:49 PM

I might try that. Thanks Ted. :O)

Posted by: Claire at July 20, 2004 03:26 AM
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