November 13-19, 2005
Tuesday of this week is day 10! He's been in the fridge and I forgot to take him out for use Monday night. So...I took him out Tuesday night and left him at room temperature. There's been much discussion around here over which recipe to try first. I want pancakes but Richard wants bread. We compromised and I baked a batch of Herman biscuits Wednesday for breakfast.
Richard liked the biscuits but I thought they had a real strong yeasty/alcohol flavor. Nothing some butter and honey couldn't cure. The biscuit dough itself was perfect and there is no need to roll and cut unless you want to. Each biscuit is made by pinching off an egg sized piece of dough and placing it into a greased 8' or 9' cake pan. The sides of each biscuit should touch. Traditionally they were baked in a cast iron skillet. Then cover with a tea towel and allow them to rest at least 10 minutes before baking. I did note that they took longer to cook than other biscuit recipes I've used.
Herman was fed and left outside the fridge because I have plans for him Thursday morning. Grandma Ruby used Herman almost daily so I don't have a problem using him the next day. I only mention this because many Herman tips recommend using Herman every 48 hours - 10 days after feeding. Some suggest pouring off the alcohol layer that forms on Herman but Grandma Ruby just stirred it in. Be aware of the color of the liquid, if it's green or brown toss your Herman and start over. Some say to toss if it's orange but some say it's okay. If the layer is clear or yellow, it's fine. For those of you who feed Herman milk or milk products toss Herman if there is any pink in the crock. Grandma Ruby used water and so do I. Herman will normally have various scents such as yeast, wine, beer and sourdough which can be quite strong. However, Herman should not smell rotten or have mold growing on top of him.
Thursday is Herman pancake day! The recipe I used is basically a regular pancake recipe with 1 cup of Herman added. Since yesterday's biscuits were so-so I didn't feel too confident using Herman as the pancake base, see TreeHuggerz Herman Blueberry Pancake Recipe. The pancakes were good and cooked up beautifully. They didn't have that strong yeasty taste but not a sourdough flavor either. Herman wasn't fed after the pancakes and he went back into the fridge.
With Thanksgiving next week I want to have Herman rolls for dinner but I think I better do a dry run first. After getting Herman to room temperature on Friday, I tried a Herman roll recipe from the internet. All I can say is YUK! The recipe itself had me worried because it only called for a dash of salt. Even biscuits use 1 teaspoon of salt. Then it also required one package of dry yeast in addition to 1 cup of Herman. This seemed like a lot of yeast for a recipe that claimed to make 12 rolls. I calmed my fears by looking at the rave reviews for this recipe. The first sign of trouble was that the dough was more like batter. So I added another cup of flour. This helped but the dough was still too sticky to knead. More flour was added. The recipe only required one rise after kneading and shaping the rolls. However, I gave the dough a rise before I formed the rolls because I wanted them fresh from the oven with dinner. In my bread baking experience an extra rise makes for a better end product. All was well, the dough rose just as it should but it made almost a double number of rolls. Okay, we'd have extra rolls. My timing was on and they were done just as dinner was to be served. They smelled delicious and looked picture perfect. But even hot buttered from the oven these rolls were awful. Very yeasty in flavor; bland due to lack of salt; and the texture was quite coarse. No one wanted the leftovers so I fed them to the birds. Now I've got to find another roll recipe and get it right before Thanksgiving.
Fed Herman and left him at room temperature to work. Grandma Ruby always kept her crock near the stove and since I plan on using Herman often, this seems best. Maybe my lackluster results are because Herman hasn't had a chance to fully ferment at room temperature.
Stay tuned for Week Three.