Another loss for 2016 and a pre-fermented bread to warm up our hearts a little
It's friday, at last, and I woke up to the news of Leonard Cohen's passing. It has been a strange year, where it comes to loosing staples of culture. Some have marked me deeply, some have influenced me quite a lot. Others meant something at a certain point, and after that not much at all, but had their weight in my formative years. Like Prince, yeah, I saw Purple Rain in the cinema and cried. I love "When Doves Cry" but not much more. And David Bowie, I mean! Can't deny that I have danced like mad to his songs. Can't deny I always found him to be one of the most creative people ever. And I can't say I didn't watch "Labirinth" a few times, as well as "The Hunger."
But I'll be honest when I say it hit harder when Alan Rickman passed away, he was one of my favourite actors long before he went and made himself even grander in my eyes by playing one of my favourite literary characters, Snape. I think I loved Alan most in "Snow Cake", but the fact that he was in "Barchester Towers" (first Trollope novel I read, because I remembered watching the tv show!) has probably ingrained him in my head forever as an actor to follow. And follow I did, as best as I could manage, he was so versatile and he had such an insight when creating a character. Gone too soon, like Jeremy Brett.
And now Leonard Cohen. I love his poems, his lyrics. I love his play with words and his bluntness. I love the honesty he put into his writing and the ease in which it can be understood. I love the fact that I can relate to the feelings behind his songs. One of my upstairs neighbours is right now listening to one of his albums, and I didn't even bother with turning on the music. I'd be listening to much the same thing, I guess. When Bob Dylan won the Nobel, my reaction was "What about Cohen? Are they crazy?" I nursed the hope inside me that he might win next time, as the door seemed to be wide open for it now. Only, now he's gone. They really should have given it to him, already.
It has been a year of loss, but life goes on for those still living. We wake up and get to work on our projects and our dreams, as we should. We fill up with hope for the future and for brighter times. We remember those who have passed and carved a place inside our hearts. But we move on. So I move on, with my work, and now I'm already at page 157 of my editing, so I can see the end ahead. Rejoice with me, people, because it has been quite fun doing it, this time round, contrary to what I thought. I haven't done much else, I know, apart from exercising and those menial everyday chores, I haven't done much else. The second installment of my trilogy is on hold, while I edit the first one, so I haven't even written anything new. Not that I have been inspired to, frankly.
But I did manage to edit these pictures of a loaf my husband baked me using poolish. Now, I have been wanting to try a bread made with poolish for quite a while, and finally I have. Poolish is a pre-fermentation method that renders breads less acidic than sourdoughs. Although I love a good sourdough, the fact is sometimes that level of acidity does not go well with me - it's like certain white wines, although I love them, they will sit terribly in my stomach, so I avoid them like the proverbial plague! Poolish does render the bread lighter, and because it uses commercial yeast, it is quite straightforward to make and bake with it. I shy from homemade sourdough, I don't think it would work with us, honestly. But poolish has been a winner, really!!
So to make this, how does one go about it? Well, you make the poolish in advance, and the quantity of yeast you use in it depends on the time you plan to let it ferment. We allowed it to ferment for 12 hours - overnight - so we used .1% yeast. Also,we used fresh active yeast - I dislike the dry one very much, the taste it renders is not for me. These were our quantities:
For the poolish:
- 100 gr strong bread flour
- 100 gr lukewarm water (not hot, hot will kill the yeast!)
- 0,09 gr fresh active yeast (just break up a few crumbs from a square of fresh yeast, one small corner will suffice, a pinch is fine)
In a bowl, combine the flour, water and yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon so it's all mixed in, and cover with cling film. Place it inside a cupboard where it's safe from the light and allow to ferment for at least twelve hours - overnight is perfect!
For the bread:
- poolish - all of it, yes.
- 1 tsp salt
- 100 ml lukewarm water (you may notice you need to add a little more)
- 100 gr flour
- 150 gr of rye flour (or spelt, or oatmeal)
- 1/2 cup of mixed cry nuts and fruits
- 6 gr fresh active yeast