Monday, March 4, 2013

Feeding The Starter

The quest began in January & I've followed it down probably, any normal path.

You know, One of obsession, torment, & love. 

One where you take the treasured sour dough starter everywhere you go?

After 2 failed attempts with Baguette a l'ancienne, Sunday's Cigar Brunch rolled around & in walked a nice looking grayish haired man, who sat amoungst 3 lovely ladies & were coming to The Wild Fern as a result of just hearing Rick Redington play a few lovingly poetic songs for a passing & dear friend of this man, Jerry

Who turns out, 
is from BabaALouis Bakery in Rutland Vermont which has been operating as one of the finest Bakeries this side of the Green Mountains for over 30 years. 

So, Jerry & I talked about bread. He tasted my baguette just as I pulled it & assured me the salt was perfect. We saw pockets of air & that was good..but hmmmm, not much rise. 
He sampled one of my bagels & a baked donut too. 
He truly liked them. =) 
And he invited me to come talk with his man, Jeff at BabaAlouis.

A few days later when visiting the Bakery, 
The English Muffin Man, Jeff & I were yak'kin it up & he began a story of Jerry knowing exactly the right amount of tastes such as salt in particular & always knows as soon as it goes into his mouth when tastes are off or not! I replayed my "salt experience" with Jerry we both were in wonder of Jerry, but personally, 
I felt like I was with some Bread Gods or something like that, between the two of them..... ;)

I caught a few tricks from Jeff, who lovingly shared his time & expertise with me. The coolest trick, was to mist the muffins so that they don't puff up & stay wonderfully english muffin flat on both sides ;) I really enjoyed learning that one! 

So I was given the Tour of the most beautiful simplest bakery in my experience. It's a wide open million year old brick building that couldn't be more pure & simple in industry design. 

I &, Simply, fell head over heels in love. 

I watched a lovely lady roll out puffed pastry, which I've never done. Both she & Jerry explained a bit to me, & both pointed in the direction of Julia Childs for their recipe!

They got their tecnique from her Cookbook! That was genious to me. 

Jerry gave me a canvas, for the couche ;) 
He gave me The BabaALouis Bread Book. 
He gave Rick & I a chocolate croissant. 
Jeff gave us a brown bag of Fresh English Muffins.    

Then, as if that weren't enough to make me blush, Jeff scooped me out a glorious hunk of starter. 
Not just any starter, but his own, cultivated & fed for over 10 years now after humbly beginning amidst the grape arbor not too far down the road from BabaAlouis. 

I nearly fainted at my fortune & my smiles were so giant, I could feel the dorkiness of my strained cheeks stretching across to my ears =) 
Hard to believe.

I got home, fed it & crossed my fingers. I was still crossing my fingers 4 days later when I thought it had gotten too warm & KILLED it. 

The torture & suspense killed me all the next day. "I feel shamed. I feel sad. I feel dismayed. 
How could I do this?? As I subconsciously whomp my head." 

I googled sour dough starter & I devoured the pages of a great websight for sourdough for 3 days, over & over, determined to stick with it, as what else could I lose? 
It never died! 
I was happily, & faithfully relieved & restored. 

The 3rd batch was so delicious & there were 3!

Of course, it didn't come easy. 

I don't own a peel yet to get the bread from the couche to the next peel to get it into the Oven. I also don't have a lame either to make scoring maybe a little prettier. 

But, I pushed forward & didn't open the Oven for a few minutes & then when the suspense had finally done me in, 

I slightly opened the door & took a peek. 
YEs!!! they had risen a tad more & looked like the Real Deal to me! 

Rick Redington & The Luv
I left The Wild Fern at 2ish on that Thursday in 
a stupor of giddiness! 

We were playing at
 that night with 

& I was leaving with my 
First Baguette & some Olive Oil!

I shared it with everyone I ran into, rushed into the Grove Street home to make Rick sample it, then tried to stop both Ben Redington & myself from eating the 2nd one, unsucessfully. 
The 3rd became an experiment based on the book I am learning from, Local Breads! 
& I wasn't really into it, but what I did learn about it, was that pre-heating even on the 3rd day, the baguette was still delicious in its own right, though obviously some integrity was lost & they are best eaten they they are Baked. 

I'm learning that sour dough breads have a really good & long shelf life. I love that! 

I'd like to Thank All of The CSB participators who are both, willing to try all of my Breads, but also, are sharing a vision of longevity & sustainability at The Wild Fern.

The Month OF March has begun & don't forget to pick up your Bread!

If you're interested in our Community Supported Bakery, please contact me!

Time to feed the starter ;) 

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