Last weekend, Alex bottled a pumpkin beer that he made. We've often talked about cultivating the dormant yeast that end up at the bottom of the carboy as a method of saving a few dollars on beer brewing. Though I got inspired to use the yeast for a sourdough starter. After just a few days of feeding the yeast, I had a pretty fragrant starter going, so I used one of our snow days to make bread. I've never been very successful at bread making, but I'm happy to say this is my best attempt yet! I loosely followed Julia Child's recipe, which called for violently kneading the crap out of the dough in a mixer with a dough hook. When this first knead was done, the dough had an amazing smooth, moist, sticky texture.
I stuck it in the warmest room in our house to rise for a couple hours, then a light knead, second rise, and then it was ready to be shaped for the final rise immediately before baking. I used a technique that Julia suggested: put a pan on the bottom of the oven and just before you put the bread in, pour some water into the pan - it will immediately turn into steam and increase the humidity inside the oven. A humid oven makes a crusty bread. I also periodically added water to the pan in the oven and used a spray bottle to spray water into the air in the oven. Here is my lovely loaf of bread!
This bread has a fantastic texture! Fluffy, soft, and moist with a thin, crisp crust. The flavor however will need some work, it has a wonderful earthiness, but then it also definitely has a strong essence of bottom-of-the-carboy sludge from which it's yeast was born. It does make fantastic french toast though!