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Meet Renée, le petit Boulanger

Meet Renée, the Boulanger at Le Pain de Molitg | flour-and-spice-blog.

Renee in front of his oven at Pain de Molitg

Here’s a great post (one of several so far) from the relatively new Flour-And-Spice blog by Tia, about Renée, a dedicated artisan baker from Molitg, in the south of France. Running his small scale operation, he and his assistant produce 150 to 400 loaves of bread three days a week, depending on the season. All artisanal, all as organic as they can be. He sells his wares at a local market in Prades and anything not sold that day goes to a co-op shop.

Hop over to Flour and Spice to read the posts on this ambitious small baker.

Starter Maintenance: Regular feeds

Feeding a starter

There are several ways to keep a starter, relating to it’s thickness:

  • a “wet” starter which is like a thin cake batter
  • a thick pancake batter type, as seen in the photo above
  • a stiff starter that looks like a ball of bread dough

There are advantages to each but for our purposes in this post, we’ll use the more common ‘thick pancake batter’ type. We’ll also be keeping it at what’s referred to in the bread world as “100% hydration”. This simply means your starter has 100% of the flour’s weight in water weight. If you use 163g of flour, you add 163g of water; if you use 47g flour, use 47g water. Your flour’s weight is always the base and your water is the percentage of that weight.

You’ll possibly see other percentages of starters, like 65% hydration starters which are more dough-like since the water weighs 65% of the flour’s weight, therefore less water than flour. This hydration level is in the area that a regular bread dough so you could actually knead it, it is that thick.

You may also see higher hydration levels, like 125% or even more, making the batter thinner. I just wanted to touch on hydration percentages because it seems to pop up a lot in the bread world.

One great thing about 100% hydration starter is no matter how much you use, you’ll always know that it is half water and half flour so it’s easy to adjust any recipe.

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