Oct 9, 2020.
Pizza from pears ?
At the beginning of lockdown all the shops ran out of yeast and I started experimenting with making my own. The last batch was spectacular ! I have never got such a lift out of any yeast, home made or shop bought. It even smells like my mom's baking did fifty years ago ! None of the shop yeast smells that way anymore, and I hate to tell you its been tampered with genetically.
I've tried making a dough mother with apples and used granny smith. It worked, but nothing like the pear ! I don't know what variety it is so I've posted a picture, and it also shows the state the pear was in when I used it. I'd call it over ripe. The pear ferment in flour has an aroma that comes out, and this happened both times I used it. So it seems the fruit source of the yeast is important.
You chop up the fruit, cover it with water, add a half teaspoon of sugar now and then and let it brew with a loosely placed lid on it. Let it get nice and stinky. A week in our Cape Town weather, maybe longer in colder places, shorter in warm ? It should smell distinctly alcoholic when you use it.
Strain off the solids and put the liquid ferment into a mason jar and add two heaped tablespoons of flour. Add flour and water every 24 or every 48 hours. It should puff up a bit and show some bubble holes in between. You can even add the fresh flour when the swelling subsides. If you leave it a day longer don't sweat. Don't throw it away. I use a metal spoon to add the flour, and a chopstick to stir it to reduce mess. Metal is supposed to kill the yeast so it musn't contact the dough. The mix in the jar can be quite liquid compared to a bread dough, but a little gummy so that it can rise.
Once the volume of dough threatens to erupt out of the mason jar move it into a bowl, stir it until its collapsed down and add about a third flour. Keep adding flour or if need be a drop of water. Add very slowly until its soft, elastic and not sticky anymore. Work the dough for about twenty minutes. You will know its ready as it becomes as smooth and flabby as an inner thigh.
You can then use this dough for making ciabatta, a sourdough loaf or pizza. Ciabatta needs to be a bit wetter and is worked differently. You can find recipes on this site for both Ciabatta and Pizza.
The sourdough bread is just made with old ferment, once this process described above in the mason jar has been repeated for several weeks. The dough ball is just plonked in a greased bread tin after the twenty minute working, to rise. Slash the top and bake it.
To make old mother, or old sour ferment, don't wash out the extra dough in the mason jar, just add two tablespoons of flour and some water and start the process again. If the dough ever gets mold on it throw it away and start with a fresh pear.
rough marble slab, floured
roll super thin
trimmings back in jar
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