Creating a sourdough ‘starter’ – which involves developing your own yeast culture rather than adding yeast to the mix – entails mixing flour, water, and other ingredients that have been colonised by wild airborne bacteria.A sourdough starter contains a strain of yeast that is tolerant of the lactic and acetic acids produced by the lactobacilli, giving the bread its unique tang.For bakers considering developing their own starter, the best tip for a successful sourdough is to reduce the risk of microbial contamination from other sources as much as possible.The conditions in a mother dough need to be controlled to ensure the continued reproduction of yeast cells.If the dough becomes contaminated with other micro-organisms – yeasts, moulds and bacteria – and the storage conditions favour those micro-organisms rather than the yeast (all micro-organisms have their own favoured food and growth conditions controlled by temperature and pH), then development of ‘off flavours’ and loss of performance can become a real problem.Here are Dan Lepard’s top tips for better sourdoughsStart with an active, bubbling, acidic leaven mixed with equal quantities of flour and water, without the addition of commercial yeast.Starter Every 24 hours you should hold back one-fifth and replace what was used in baking with fresh flour and water stirred in well.Regular replenishment with flour and water is essential as it is a living thing that will respond to regular rather than intermittent feeding.The acidity will ensure that the mixture stays hostile to bad bacteria and other organisms, and will keep it fresh tasting and healthy.Recipe & methodAdd 30-40% active leaven to flour weight and water to take the dough moisture percentage to 65-70% (allow for the flour and water in the sourdough). Mix and then wait.Extend the bulk fermentation until you can see clear signs of fermentation in the dough and only then divide and shape.Time You might find that you want to chill the dough between shifts to slow down the fermentation, as it is no good if the dough ripens when there is nobody in the bakery to scale and shape it.Equally, if it is looking a bit sluggish then you might want to increase the amount of leaven in the dough. Some bakers take the percentage up to 60-70% to create a big sour tang to the crumb.ProvingWith sourdough or other naturally leavened breads everything takes longer. So bakers often use a soft dough to encourage the fermentation, but this tends to flow if left on a tray.So some sort of containment, like flour-dusted baskets or cloths, that trap the dough and force it upwards rather than outwards, is needed. It will need a deft hand to quickly upturn and roll the proved fragile dough onto a peel without degassing it, then to slash it quickly without it deflating. But it is just knack, not a tricky skill.Strong floursThe longer the fermentation, the better strong flour will perform. The lightest loaves will come from strong white flour, but sometimes the flavour is a bit thin.So try using 70% strong white flour, 20% wholemeal flour and 10% dark rye flour for a big flavour and a relatively light loaf.
Ninety-six-year-old Roy Englert of Springfield, Virginia, broke the 5K world record for his age group (95 to 99) when he completed a 5K in 42:30:23 at the USATF Masters Outdoor Championship, smashing the previous record of 50:10:56. Englert also holds the world record in his age group for the 800 meters and the 1500 meters as well as the world record for 4×100, 4×400 and 4×800 relay teams. 96-year-old Virginia man breaks 5K age-group world record If BLM headquarters moves to Colorado former directors warn it will cripple the agency The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that a private company’s plans to mine minerals near Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp poses “substantial risks,” and potentially irreversible damage, to the environment. “I think the endgame is to try to make it almost impossible to manage these public lands,” former BLM director Robert V. Abbey told Bloomberg. Abbey and another former BLM director warn that the move will isolate the agency and render it ineffective, eventually convincing Congress the land would be better managed by the states. Once in the hands of the state, environmental protections could be stripped and the land developed, if that is what the state chooses. Twin Pines Minerals LLC wants to mine titanium dioxide within four miles of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. The permit request is currently under consideration. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is still reviewing the plans but wrote in a memo back in February that the agency has “concerns that the proposed project poses substantial risks for significant affect to the environment,” and that “should impacts occur they may not be able to be reversed, repaired or mitigated for.” The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced last week that it will move its headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado, relocating about 80 percent of the personnel currently residing in Washington D.C. The agency claims the move will put employees closer to the lands and resources that they manage. But two former BLM directors are speaking out, warning that the move is an early effort to dismantle the agency completely and transfer millions of acres of federal lands to the states, Bloomberg reports. Plans to mine near Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp pose ‘substantial risks’ The swamp has been protected since 1937 and serves as a habitat for alligators, bald eagles, and other protected species. It is the largest federal refuge in the east. The administration of then-President Bill Clinton dismissed a similar mining plan by DuPont 20 years ago. According to Runner’s World, Englert runs 2-3 miles per day, mostly on a treadmill, near the retirement community where he lives. “It’s fun,” he told Run Washington. “It’s not fun while you’re doing it, but it’s fun when you’re finished. It’s hard work, actually.”
By Nick MulvenneyMELBOURNE, Australia (Reuters) – Rafael Nadal had to be at his battling best to outlast Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-4 at the Australian Open tennis yesterday and set up a mouthwatering ninth grand slam final meeting with his great rival Roger Federer.The Spaniard looked every inch a 14-time grand slam champion as he slugged it out with his 25-year-old opponent over nearly five hours on Rod Laver Arena to reach his first major final since the 2014 French Open and 21st overall.“Grigor was playing unbelievably, it was a great match,” the 30-year-old said.“I think both of us deserve to be in that final, it was a great fight. Finally it was me, I feel lucky and I am very happy for that.”With 35-year-old Serena Williams facing her 36-year-old sister Venus in today’s women’s final and a rested Federer, 35, waiting for Nadal tomorrow, it is the first time in the open era that all four grand slam finalists have been over 30.Dimitrov, riding high on a 10-match winning streak and seeking his first grand slam final, did his best to keep the twentysomething standard flying into the weekend.There were no signs of the mental frailties that have prevented Dimitrov from fulfilling the potential promised by his nickname ‘BabyFed’ as he went blow-for-blow with the powerful left-hander.It’s never easy to lose a match like that,” said Dimitrov, who hit 79 winners. “But it also shows me that I’m on the right path. At least one thing I can say is I left it all out there on court.”Ninth seed Nadal was forced to save two break points in the opening game alone, setting the tone for a frenetic evening.The 2009 champion soon hit his stride, though, and a booming pass that the world number 15 was unable to get back gave Nadal a break for 3-1 and he wrapped up the opening set in 35 minutes.The Bulgarian refused to buckle, though, and pounced to break to love for a 3-1 lead in the second set, Nadal perhaps distracted by a time violation warning.From there, the set descended into chaos with both players broken twice and Nadal forced to save four set points before Dimitrov evened up the contest on the fifth.The break points continued to come thick and fast in the third set, Nadal converting his third and Dimitrov his fourth to keep the set on serve.BLISTERING FOREHANDAfter a short break while a spectator received medical attention, Nadal held for 6-6 and the set went into a tiebreaker.Nadal missed a large part of the 2016 season because of a wrist injury but proved there was nothing wrong with his fitness as he scrapped to go 2-1 up, sealing the deal with a blistering forehand which Dimitrov parried into the net.Another tiebreaker looked inevitable when the break points dried up in the fourth set, and Dimitrov quickly took control before serving up a 195 kph bomb to send the contest into a decider.There were chances for both men in the fifth but, with midnight long past, Nadal came to the net to punch a backhand into the back court, break for 5-4 and earn the right to serve for the match.Still Dimitrov would not lie down, though, and Nadal needed three match points to win his 12th straight grand slam semi-final and reach his fourth Australian Open final.“It’s special to play Roger again in the final of a grand slam, I cannot lie,” Nadal added.“I need to go back to the hotel, to rest well, and to recover.”