I’m the kind of guy who has song associations with odd words and phrases. When I’m in rare form (or not so rare, I don’t know) my son will say something like, “Gosh Dad, you’ve sung a song for everything I’ve said in the past hour!”. He’s 8 years old and it brings me to tears that he picks up on my whack brain ticks… So where am I going with this? Barm is one of those words for me. Nearly every time I read or hear the word I sing Diana Krall’s version of Frim Fram Sauce. I don’t think she even says the word in this song, but its almost like a drooling dog’s response to a bell.
So Barm you say? What the heck is that? Well, its a fancy word for sourdough starter. And, sourdough starter is another phrase for saying wild yeast. You make a starter by collecting wild yeast from a whole grain rye flour or some other slightly processed flour. You add water and flour to feed it and eventually your starter will collect and grow enough wild yeast to be used in bread; sourdough bread more specifically. It is also used in pretzels and a number of other yummy delights. I took the easier route and bought a fresh starter from King Arthur Flour. It came in the mail and I was able to feed and grow this little 1 oz starter into a big bowl of barm. The starter comes with a simple sourdough bread recipe and it turned out great!
I’ve now moved into the world of “what else can I bake with this Barm?” Fortunately the list is very very long. And, I love that song by Diana Krall. I’m probably going to drive my family nuts. Hopefully they enjoy the baked goods enough to ignore the off key, off rhythm singing.