Fermentation and Retardation

April 11, 2009

I am at a place in my training program where the end of classes is in sight… I can see it in the not so distant future – and perhaps that is part of the expansiveness I am feeling right now. Once the coursework is over – the apprenticing begins and with that apprentice stage – there is also room for the creation of my own unique style. The last two years have paid off – and it has been a long  journey. This last round has been particularly intense – and I have not been able to savor the experience.

I have sourdough fermenting in the first rise right now – and I have been thinking about how I never use commercial yeast anymore (well I do for orange rolls and sticky buns! – but not for bread). There is a slowness, an unpredictability to the way my own wild yeast interacts with me, my kitchen environment, the warmth or coolness of my hands as I knead it. I have some control over the growth experience – with temperature mostly – I can accelerate or retard – but there is an element that is completely up to the mood of the yeast – and I have to learn to listen and speak its language.

I am enjoying the long, steady rain last night that watered in my plants. I am enjoying the flour under my fingernails. I am enjoying the slow, deep breathing of teenagers lost in dream time. Today is a good day to be emerging from the winter.


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