taking good care of my mother

February 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

Today I made my first ever “mother dough”; what I hope will be responsible for generations to come of delicious little breads. It was surprisingly easy, only requiring a mixture of water and flour. The Tartine Bread book walks you through making it as well as how to feed it. They refer to it as a starter, since I believe “mother dough” is used more in the context of sourdough. I like the term though and think I’ll be more inclined to take better care of a something called “mother” than I would called “starter”.

Starters are basically a result of fermentation that allows you to naturally leaven your bread using wild yeast vs bakers yeast. I was struck by the fact that “lactobacillus” came up in my research again. When I did my pickling week, I came across it in the fermentation process of kimchi and sauerkraut. It has become a popular health subject as a probiotic that can potentially do anything from boosting your immune system to improving digestion to even staving off various cancers. In bread, it is an integral part in the making of bread but doesn’t typically survive the baking. Many companies are attempting to change that.

The “mother dough” I’m making should take a few days to feed and train before it’s ready. For many bakeries their starter is something they tend to and craft over many years. The Boudin Bakery in San Francisco has a starter dough that dates back to 1849 when their sourdough french bread became famous during the Gold Rush. Supposedly it was so valuable that Louise Bourdin heroically saved it in a bucket during the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

I will try to take good as good of care of my mother this week.

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