[Sca-cooks] Yeast reservoirs

Christiane christianetrue at earthlink.net
Sat May 5 07:18:13 PDT 2007

Bear says:

>While I've never experimented with a wooden dough trough, other experiences 
>suggest that if you exploited a yeast culture embedded in a wooden dough 
>trough, it would probably take a couple of days to get enough yeast to 
>produce a decent rise.  A cup or two of dough left in the trough to act as a 
>starter would be more practical and , in the case of a commercial baker, 
>provides greater control and consistency (although the commercial starter 
>would probably be closer to 5 pounds than two cups).  Leavening a lot of 
>dough with a miniscule amount of yeast is largely a matter of technique, 
>temperature and time.

Many Italian bread recipes of today that I have found refer to a "lievito madre" (leavening mother), which is a bit of the leavened dough kept from the previous batch of bread. In Sicily they call this a criscenti. Seems logical that in a time when bread needed to be baked every day in the palazzo kitchens to feed the household, the baker kept a lievito madre or criscenti goimg at all times in the kneading trough or taken out and set aside in a bowl for the next day's baking. And it would be such a matter of course that it may not be mentioned in the recipes.

Is "lievito madre" is a period term? Admittedly I have not done any real research into period Italian bread to know, therefore I'm throwing this one to the list.


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