I learned something about living bread last night. Yes, bread is alive. So are beer, yogurt, and many other tasty things. I made a rustic olive bread which requires a sponge to be made a few days ahead of time. A sponge is just flour, water, and a tiny bit of yeast. This particular sponge was a poolish type, which is the consistency of pancake batter. After you mix it up, it bubbles and froths for a few hours, then you put in the fridge. The yeast continues to multiply and eat the flour, then you add it to the other ingredients to make the bread. But last night my bread was super watery and kept requiring more and more flour. What?! My recipe hadn’t changed, then it hit me. The yeast ate up some flour, but the water remained in the poolish, so my water/flour ratio changed. I imagine the yeast organisms like tons of little Pac-Man creatures gobbling up flour. Nom nom nom!
Okay, this seemed way more interesting last night at 11:30 as I was kneeling in front of the oven. Maybe it’s the 500-degree heat, or the thrill of spraying water on hot oven walls and watching it vaporize in a hissing puff, but I do get a thrill from making bread. Skydivers and croc-wrestlers may laugh, but baking provides plenty of excitement.
Aside from baking, I’ve begun my new writing project and have an outline roughed out. I am following Jon Franklin’s Writing for Story method which involves very precisely-worded complication, resolution, and development clauses. Picking the exact action word is important, and helps you figure out exactly what your story is about. Since I’ve started using his outline method, and his sequence of writing (end, beginning, then middle), my projects have been much more cohesive and goal-oriented. I think this saves a lot of useless wandering and bloated prose. If you don’t know where you’re going, why start walking? So now I know a little more about my main character, her problems, challenges, and resolutions. After a little more outline tweaking, I’ll be ready to put on my goggles and jump into her world. See, writing is exhilarating too!