In my previous post I introduced Bruce, our newly-minted sourdough culture. At the time, I mentioned his godlike power of raising the bread; but I didn’t realize that was only a fraction of his abilities. Last week, I discovered that Bruce can fly.
As you might guess, this was not a happy revelation.
For the last forty-some years I’ve made my bread by hand; but Graubrot is new territory for me, so I was following the recipe. And the recipe said ‘It’s best to use a stand mixer with dough hooks’.
Right there: That’s when I should have asked some probing questions.
“It’s best” implies “it’s better than something else”; but the recipe didn’t specify “better than what”. The whole fiasco was probably better than undergoing a root canal performed by a drunken chimpanzee; but since I’ve never had a simian dentist (inebriated or otherwise), I can’t accurately state that the dough hook experience was “best”.
Blindly optimistic, I scraped my rye starter dough and wheat starter dough into the mixing bowl and added the liquid and seasonings.
(Useful knowledge: Wheat flour has a lot of gluten, which makes its dough elastic. Rye has very little gluten, and its dough is like modelling clay. Bruce occupied the rye starter dough.)
Even at their lowest speed, the dough hooks rapidly churned the wheat starter into a compact springy ball while the rye starter formed a slurry with the liquid.
Then (in a fit of temper or maybe malicious glee), the dough hooks seized the ball of wheat dough, flung it high, and slapped it down into the slurry at approximately thirty miles per hour.
And Bruce flew.
Oh, my, did he fly. Ev-er-y-where.
That would have been bad enough, but the starter doughs have to ripen for at least eighteen hours before use. So if I wanted to bake that day (and I did), I had to salvage the slurry.
It took about half an hour, but I managed to scrape most of Bruce off various surfaces and back into the mixing bowl. I did try to use the dough hooks again, but when the mixer started to smell like burnt wiring (did I mention that Graubrot is VERY heavy?) I turned the dough out on the counter and kneaded it by hand, as I should have done in the first place.
After all that foolishness, the bread turned out fine; but I’m haunted by the knowledge that there are probably still microscopic particles of Bruce throughout my kitchen. And now that he’s both all-powerful and omnipresent, I’m really hoping he turns out to be a benevolent deity.
But if there’s no blog post next week, you’ll know what happened…
Book 15 update: In between rounds of company and dicing with death atop a 30-foot ladder (because our brand-new house needs most of its exterior re-caulked, grrr, don’t get me started), I didn’t make much writing progress this week. But I’m nearly finished Chapter 5, and hoping for more writing time this week. Fingers crossed!