Yeasty. Poor bees.

I did a yeast experiment. I promise it’s a nice thing.

So I found two different places that promised to show me how to grow my own yeast. You know, for bread. Instead of the jar/envelope kind. Well, hey, why not? I’m a make-it-from-scratch kind of girl. So I started the yeast as recommended here, with 2 T. of orange juice and 2 T. of flour. (I used fresh squeezed and rye, respectively.) I covered the bowl and left it out. The other recipe was found here, and required a cup of flour and half a cup of water to start, cover and leave out.

Each day after I had to add to the original batch, until day 4, when I began taking away from the original batch and then adding to.

At this point, evidently, I was nurturing a colony of yeasty beasties if I saw bubbles and evidence of rising every day, and a winey smell was a good thing. Well, I saw said evidence, though smell was less authoritative, as I’ve been sick and can’t smell anything. (I usually stuck the uncovered bowl under TMoTH’s nose and said, “What does this smell like?” Given that I was warned of the possibility of rather strong odors this probably was not the kindest thing to do.)

In any case, both colonies were doing fine. See?

Yeasty.

After a few days, the second batch (the larger one, on the left) was supposed to be turned into a barm. A barm, according to my handy OED, is

1. A bosom, or a lap.
2. A fermenting agent, yeast or leaven, or the head on a beer.

To go barmy is to become frothy-headed. Perhaps.

My favorite use comes from 1580. Montgomerie to R. Hudson, “This barme and blaidry buists up all my bees.” Poor, poor bees.

So I made the barm out of the one successful frothy mass, mixing it with more flour and water and putting it in the refrigerator. Now I can make sourdough bread with my own local yeast whenever I like. I just need to do it.

The other yeast sat on the table for several days, being fed. Then one day I realized that I would never make enough bread to warrant keeping two separate bread starters and I just cut bait. It was a successful experiment. I could successfully culture yeast and leaven bread without a commercial product. Yay. Into the trash it went.

Now I have barm in the fridge and I need to bake with it. Hmm… Walnut scallion bread is sounding very tasty right about now…

By the way, here is the Pane Siciliano.
Completed Pane Siciliano.
Just out of the oven. I made it with no sesame seeds (we couldn’t find any at the store, sigh) and using Kamut flour instead of semolina. It was awesome.

Here it is again.
Sliced Pane Siciliano
Beautiful, no? I want to make it again, but the down side is that it gets eaten so darn fast. Three loaves gone in two days. It takes longer than that to make the stuff. Maybe I could make it, and hide it.

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3 thoughts on “Yeasty. Poor bees.

  1. Okay, yum. I was afraid that bees discovered your yeast and died a barmy death. Glad no bees in real life were damaged.

    We have colds too (not cods, as I originally wrote), and this is involving lots of moodiness.

    Send me some of that bread please. But make sure it’s just out of the oven when I get it. Ha ha ha ha!

  2. Not at all, Chris, I don’t really mind! Deana, as soon as Glen gets that transporter (solar-powered, of course) finished I’ll be popping you over a loaf in no time. 🙂

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