If you’re a long time reader, you may remember the fateful day that I began to grow my own yeast. I did it so that all my yeast-risen breads would have a unique flavor, an original taste unlike any other sourdough bread on the face of the Earth.
For a while, it seemed to be working.
The sourdough recipes were difficult, and I can say confidently I only did one completely correctly. Every time though, I used my homemade proof. I knew that as my proof grew –with every feeding I felt it– I was creating something great. I was going to be the proud owner of the tastiest sourdough yeast in the world.
Then, two things happened.
First, I tried to make a chocolate raisin sourdough bread. To this day I have not rechecked the recipe to see whether its bitter, overly-chocolatey taste was my fault or if the recipe is just flawed. I honestly don’t want to check because I am 99% sure it was my fault. My mom took one bite of that bread and it was over. She had allowed me to grow, like my yeast, unbridled. My experiments were ok with her so long as they produced delicious, edible products. The chocolate bread changed everything.
The second thing that happened was really my yeast’s fault. I left it out after making the chocolate bread, on my kitchen table in the sunlight so it could heat up. Yeast loves heat, and every website would say to put it near your stove when you’re cooking or in the sunlight if it’s not too hot. So, I was doing that. (Maybe it’s more my fault). I ended up leaving my yeast out for two days, in the sunlight, baking like a cookie. It began to look a little weird, I’ll admit. Did I think it should be thrown away? No. Would a sane person think it should have been thrown away? Probably…
My mom, still bitter over the bitter black bread, saw my “moldy” yeast. She showed my dad, both of whom are willing to let me try just about anything so long as it’s not illegal or too dangerous (see 4 Horsemen Burger). My dad and mom decided it was time to put the kibosh on the yeast, and told me to say my goodbyes.
There wasn’t much to say. Most recipes only call for a 24 hour proof, and I don’t think the age development of a proof starts to show until a few years down the road –I wasn’t keepping it that long. I took the yeast, jar and all, out to the trashcan, and gently set her down.
“Goodbye,” I whispered. “Goodbye.”