Sunday 5 April 2020

Sour dough bread: my lessons during the Coronavirus "holiday"

Growing up in rural Kenya under very grinding poverty, my widowed mother made busaa, the proceeds feed us and paid fees for our education.

Busaa biochemistry is complex.

No yeast is added at stage one. Thence, only maize flour (mostly) is mixed with water and the "dough" is stored away to ferment naturally. After about 7 days, the ferment is scalded to kill the fermentative microbes and develop delicate flavour. Today we know that as mailers reaction.

My mother and the generations before her looked for the delicate brown colour. That was all!

If course the fermentation at stage two is aided by millet which is aimed to be richer in (natural) yeast.

Busaa, like Mursik (the traditional fermented milk you call Kefir elsewhere), is driven by natural fermentation.

Sour Dough baking is a busaa type process.

For bread.

During this COVID-19 #StayAtHome I wanted to learn something new.

All my academic life, I've never attended a baking class.

So I took to YouTube, the best learning medium of our time.

To make Sauerteig (German for sour Dough), you follow the busaa process.

1. Develop and feed the starter (up to 7 days)
2. Then bread process

Today, after failure on day 1 because of very cold temperatures which suppressed starter activity, I've made bread!

I'll make a video later. Here are the photos, meanwhile. The bread is 50:50 Rye: whole grain wheat flour. Very healthy.

My next move? Baguettes!

Note: After proofing, I kept the two parts in the fridge overnight because I didn't have the time to wait for the 3 hrs. After 2 hrs upon removing from the fridge, I "signed" and baked at 240°C for 25 min (preheated oven and poured water on a hot ready to create stream to make the bread crunchy!), followed by 5min at 180°C.

Now we can enjoy some fresh bread!

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