The chef I love

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No, no, no worries.  You haven’t entered a parallel universe where Chez Pim becomes Gluten Free Girl.  I’m not about to wax poetic like Shauna does about "the chef" of hers.  Noes.  When Shauna does it, it’s way cute but when I do it I bet it’s not so much.  The only time I’ve ever referred to David as chef is when I call Manresa’s kitchen number and ask to speak to chef–and in that case it would be chef and not "the chef" anyway. 

I’m actually talking about the other chef in my life: my chef levain, or my starter.  I am really quite in love with my starter at the moment.  It’s been producing some of the most delicious breads I’ve ever tasted, and I’ve done it all with simple adaptations from the effortless no-knead recipe.

It’s been an interesting experience, having a big jar of bubbling,
breathing, living starter living in my cool cupboard.  It’s really
hasn’t been much trouble, really.  I disregard most of the complex
instructions about keeping and feeding starters, and only do what works
for me an my daily activities.  Basically when I feed my cat in the
morning I also feed my starter, a little over half a cup of flour and
equal amount of water.  When we drink a good bottle of Burgundy at
dinner I save a half glass to feed my starter in the morning.  The
other day I gave it some wild honey.

I’m building one very confused chef, but it’s also lively and happy, and has been making deeply flavorful breads for me with little to no effort involved.  Who could argue with that?

Do you have a starter in your kitchen?  How do you feed yours?  What
do you do with it besides bread?

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15 Responses to “The chef I love

  • Jason said:
    April 9th, 2008 at 4:54am

    I’ve been wanting for a while to adapt the no-knead recipe to accommodate my starter. What have you found to be successful? Thanks

  • veron said:
    April 9th, 2008 at 5:02am

    This just wants to make me cry. I just buried my starter last weekend. 🙁

  • Jeremy said:
    April 9th, 2008 at 5:04am

    Pim, glad to see you have caught the bread, sourdough bread bug, check out my site for some of my notable and not so notable loaves!
    I have many starters, in the bottom of my fridge, when my wife lets me bake or I just get the urge I feed the little critters and go for the gusto!

  • veron said:
    April 9th, 2008 at 5:05am

    And I forgot to add. Mary aka Breadchick has a series of posts plus picture about her starter.
    Here is the link:
    http://breadchick.com/?cat=31

  • Deborah said:
    April 9th, 2008 at 8:35am

    For the commenter asking about the no-knead bread, just use about a tablespoon of active starter instead of the yeast called for in the original recipe.

  • Redneck said:
    April 9th, 2008 at 11:10am

    Hi! I´m really love a starter. It has a taste of morning, of life. Wake up, the starter starts day. See you!

  • Jason said:
    April 9th, 2008 at 8:01pm

    Thanks, Deborah! I’ll try it out this weekend.

  • Diane said:
    April 9th, 2008 at 11:13pm

    So…how do you start a starter?

  • Susan said:
    April 10th, 2008 at 6:47am

    My starter care is a bit different from yours, but I’m a huge fan of doing what works for you. Bottom line is good bread.

  • Denise said:
    April 10th, 2008 at 11:52am

    Something new for us to try .. hmmmm!!! Sounds fun not to mention exciting to see it grow and produce!

  • riceandwheat said:
    April 11th, 2008 at 12:24am

    What a coincidence! I just tried to make my own starter about a month ago and to my surprise, it worked! I’ve even baked a few loaves of bread with it and they’re just wonderful.
    http://riceandwheat.wordpress.com/category/starter/
    But what I didn’t know is that you can feed the starter with things other than flour! Thanks, Pim!

  • Jeremy said:
    April 11th, 2008 at 6:58am

    Pim,
    You ought to check out my friends on either Dan Lepard or Sourdough.com.au where there is a lot of info and buzz on sourdough, even definitions of sourdough;as well there is a spelt baking competition at work, my dough will be 100% Spelt!

  • Pim said:
    April 12th, 2008 at 9:55pm

    Deborah, your starter must be a different hydration rate than mine because 1 tablespoon of my starter will probably rise a pancake or two, but certainly not a whole loaf of bread.
    Veron, it’s time to start again, no?
    riceandwheat, thanks for the link. I’m far too impatient to start my own so I cheated. 😉
    Jeremy, a 100% spelt loaf sounds interesting. I wonder how you’d get it to hold without any gluten. Will you need to add some sort of lecithin?
    cheers,
    Pim

  • Ginger said:
    April 13th, 2008 at 1:35pm

    I have a spelt starter that I love the taste of, but am still working out the speltiness difference to wheat in getting a nice hole-y loaf. I too never realized I could add things like wine to my starter, thanks for the tip!

  • Ginger said:
    April 13th, 2008 at 1:42pm

    Spelt has gluten in it, just not the same level or exactly the same type as wheat. When working with spelt, you will need to add a little extra spelt flour than you would wheat flour as it is very water soluble, also, knead it less and the rise time is shorter. I use 100% spelt in my bread as I can’t eat wheat. No need for lecithin.

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