Keeping PastaMadre alive

Through some e-mail conversations I learned that there is yet no pasta madre in the house. This is a sad thing, especially since it is not so hard to keep it alive. But I also understand myself better than before how to do this.

We used to keep it relatively liquid, and we tried to refresh it every other day. This is not necessary. Having traveled with pastamadre from the house for 7 weeks now, I discovered many new things.

1. You can leave the pastamadre in a smaller shape and more like normal dough (as in a little ball) in the fridge for more than 2 weeks easily in a glass. To give it more strenght you can add some oil. It has to be able to breath, so some holes in the top of the top of the lit would be good.

2. You take it out only once in a while to kneed it. Add some water and some flour, but just a little. It doesn't need much to stay 'alive'.

I even returned pastamadre back to life that was stored inside a fridge for more than 4 weeks, and also have been successfully traveling with my own little piece of pastamadre. I made more than 50 breads with that little piece. And what's even better: it has been mixed with pastamadre from the same cultivation that had been stored in Berlin and Barcelona.

There are also video's available on youtube, see for example this one:

3. If you want to make bread, add a maximum of 3 times more flour and as much water as you need to give it the same form of consistency. Wait for mimimal 6 hours, take a small part apart that you use as pastamadre and use the rest to make bread. Again, 3 times as much flour and just as much water as you need to make it into a bread. Leave it for 2 to 4 hours (see how it grows and define for yourself the best time). And put it in the oven.

The amount of time you leave it in the oven and the temperature doesn't really matter. Every oven (and climate, think humidity and temperature) does something else to your bread. The least you want is half an hour, and the best thing is max temparature when you put the bread inside, as long as you bring it down afterwards! The minimum is 180c for at least 40 minutes. But if you keep it higher, the bread can also do with less minutes. Just experiment and you will notice how different it tastes.

A nice tip: instead of water, you can also use fresh tomatoes. Add some herbs such as fresh basil to give it an 'Italian' taste. Add pepper and (fresh) ginger to spice it up. Put these things in the mix of water, or tomatoes. And never put too much salt ;) Some other ingredients that go really well: seeds, muesli, raisins, olives.

Happy bread-making!


amylin's picture

pasta madre images

if inspiration is needed to keep pasta madre alive, just look at flickr images of breads made from "pasta madre":[email protected]/360538948/