I have recently started baking with a natural yeast. It has been a real interesting experience. I went to chef school and learned the art of bread baking. How much different could this be? Alot! There has been a real learning curve to it.
I thought that I would turn out beautiful breads like the one pictured above. I found out that so much of what I learned at school, I had to throw out. We learned the art of commercial baking. We learned the art of baking with active dry yeast. A natural yeast is a whole different set of skills.
My first try looked like this.........
all swollen and cracked along one side. It was pretty ugly, although it tasted pretty good.
The next loaves were free form and a bit better looking. the texture is still a bit heavy. (I wish that my camera was not broke so that I had pictures of them). What is going on, why can't I get this.
It was after that experience that I discovered that they really recommend starting with pancakes and waffles until you get a hang of the yeast and it's properties. I agree, We have started making waffles with the yeast and I will never ever go back to anything else. The waffles are soooooo goood!
The bread, well it is getting better. There is still a big learning curve to go through. There are not a lot of instructions on using natural sweet yeast. So much of it is done by feel, and much was handed down through the family. You learned by doing it. I am learning by internet. It is not like using dry yeast, yet that is where my training is.
My sourdough experience is limited. This yeast is similar to sourdough, yet different. I am finding that some of the information about sourdough breads do apply here, but not all. So many of the sourdough recipes use active dry yeast along with the starter. It seems that the sourdough starter is for the flavor, not to raise the bread. In the case of a sweet yeast, you use the yeast start to both flavor and to make the bread rise.
You can get your own start by sending an email to email@example.com You can read about natural yeast at his blog calebwarnock.blogspot.com. He has just written a book all about baking with natural yeast. It has just come out. Maybe I need to buy it and learn a bit more.
I will have to post later about how we made the delicious waffles. be on the lookout for that in the next week or so.