Friday, August 10, 2007

Todo Sobre Mi Madre...

A Greek saying states that only women who have washed their eyes with tears can see clearly. This saying does not hold true for Cristina. The night her bread starter died, Cristina cried until her eyes ran completely dry. Far from seeing clearly, her bread making becomes mixed up in darkness.

That same night, while trying to revive her starter, she reads the last lines written in a food journal that she always keeps by her side. "This morning I looked through my cupboards until I found a bag of white bread. The consistency and flavor of tissue paper. The remaining slice, exactly 1/4 inch thick, and cut in half. My fate, I suppose. I have the impression that my life is missing that same half. I want to make my own bread. I don’t care what the grocery store offers, or who how long it takes. No one can take that right away from me."

Cristina never told anyone about her difficulties with bread starters. For years she used freeze-dried commercial yeast from the grocery store (gasp!). She was a freelancer, she reasoned. It was impractical to take her starter wherever she went. In memory of two failed bread starters that began with commercial yeast, Cristina threw caution to the wind and decided to start from scratch.

Organic Grapes.

The quest to make the perfect sourdough starter cannot be simple, or can it?

Day 1:
Cristina finds a bag of Organic Grapes at the grocery store. Feeling inspired she wraps them in cheesecloth, mixes up a bucket of bread flour and luke warm water and gentle crushes the parcel of grapes over the flour mixture. She swishes the grapes through the mixture, then secures the lid and leaves it in the darkness. Alone.

Day 2:
The mixture begins to separate into a thick, starchy mass with a few bubbles and a layer of liquid on top. Not very appealing.

Day 3:
Full of frothing bubbles, a yeasty aroma fills the air when the lid is removed. The mixture is no longer separated, instead it is one growing, bubbling mass…

The plot thickens…

1 comment:

moneypenny said...

hi chef..
impressed with your repetoire...
i must admit i have great difficulty with bread starters. in 13 years of cooking still it is not perfect.
tonight the special at my restaurant in monk fish tail massaged with honey and lime, and alphonso mango dressing

ps i like your blog

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