Baking in Beqiua 5

Off to a late start with the baking as I hadn’t realized that today I was scheduled for a dentist appointment in St. Vincent. So off I went to catch the 9:30 ferry, and fortunately had P&T Cantina as my travelling companions.

First up – the music selection. Since I’m making this bread for Pammy, it seems fitting to listen to her favourite Live365 station, Spirit of the North, with songs from the 60s & 70s, broadcast by Truenorth out of Brampton (?), Ontario. No, really… Brampton. Al Green is playing now. The good thing about Live365 is that they list the artist and song being played so there’s no need to stretch those memory cells unnecessarily.

I thought yesterday that the starter smelled “ready” and plenty sour (as they say on Bequia) to be test-driven. I’m using a San Francisco-Style French Bread recipe that I’ve made before, from the Sourdough Cookery book published by HP Books, but had used a sourdough starter recipe previously from that same book that proved to be not sour at all. Since the loaf itself turned out quite nice, I figured I might as well try baking it again, but am using the new very-sour starter this time, to see if I get the results we’re looking for in a sourdough bread.

It must rise first for an hour-and-a-half – plenty of time for a swim and a snooze in the hammock! Have to work off the effects of that Gravol I took for the ferry crossing.

Okay, first rise is over, and I’ve mixed in the rest of the flour. Now I have a very stiff dough – too stiff for the machine to finish without straining a bit, so I have kneaded it by hand for a few minutes. I’m going to let it rise for a second time, hoping to incorporate more air bubbles into the dough, before I shape it into loaves. Time for another swim! (Did I mention that it’s hot here again?)

The dough doubled in size in less than half an hour, so the starter and yeast are definitely working. With as little handling, and deflation, as possible, I’ve formed the dough into two French loaves and will let them rise on a buttered baking sheet. Time for another swim – and a glass of wine!

And this is why one should reread the recipe a couple of times before venturing forth – Let rise 1 to 2 hours or until almost doubled in size. So that means we can prepare dinner and be eating by the time these loaves are ready to go into the oven.

In the meantime, and while we were swimming, Dennis lit a small fire in the pizza oven, because he hasn’t used it in a while and was afraid it might crack if he set a raging inferno going tomorrow for our planned pizza-birthday dinner for Rodger. We might actually have a good sunset tonight, too. It hasn’t rained all day. Music has been great, as well. CCR just now. Stampeders with Sweet City Woman. Rolling Stones. Too many others to list. The sun is setting behind a big cloud on the horizon, so no green flash today.

Time to switch the music over to Radio Vietnam. I feel as though this other station is on a tape loop and that I heard everything already on Sunday. Course, how much Classic Rock can there be from the 60s?

The bread has baked and cooled a bit, and the official taster has cut off the heel of one loaf. The verdict is… Pretty perfect! There’s a crunchy crust, and the interior is chewy. But the taste is what we were after here, and Dennis declares, “I think it’s excellent!” It is very tasty, too! We’ll see what Pammy and Tommy have to say about it tomorrow.

And while the bread was baking, Zoom was sleeping on Dennis’ desk…


One response

  1. I can’t wait to give this starter a try. Although it’s roughly hot enough to bake bread here without an oven, I’ll need to improvise a proofing oven (hood vent microwave with the light on), else my air conditioning will keep the ferment from fermenting! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

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