|HoMu Sourdough Bread |
Photo: Tom Cinko
When we reach out to new audiences, we do not just reach out: we give. The Homeless Museum is proud to be the sole museum in the world to literally give away culture. To be able to sustain this generous commitment to needy parts of the population, we rely on our very own sourdough mother, who thrives on our museum's free-floating yeast spores and enables us to produce a never-ending supply of freshly cultured sourdough loaves, the main beneficiary of which is a part of New York's population that has been badly neglected by other cultural institutions: the city's pigeons. Every week, we distribute at least half a loaf of HoMu Bread to them in one of the city's multiple public parks or plazas, where most of these deprived creatures are resigned to hang out.
Swiftly stir together all ingredients and leave to rest in a covered bowl for up to 18 hours, by the end of which the dough should have at least doubled in volume. Punch down the dough and kneed it for a few turns on a floured surface (use additional flour if the dough is very sticky). Tear off a small piece of dough, add more flour to it and roll it out to 1/8 inch thickness. Using alphabet cookie cutters, cut out your own organization's name. Shape the rest of the dough into a ball, brush it lightly with water and paste the letters on top of it. Let the dough rise again for another hour. Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of your oven and preheat it to 400 º Fahrenheit. Slide the loaf onto the pizza stone and bake it for a good hour until crusty. Serve half of the loaf to your staff and reserve the other half for the designated beneficiaries of your outreach program.
To make your own mother, make sure you can provide her with a nurturing, healthy environment first. Mothers are notoriously temperamental and can literally suffocate if not treated properly. Be aware of the commitment you make by inviting the mother to live with you. Our mother is constantly bitching about our Main Hall's unstable temperature and unpredictable humidity quotient, and we have to regularly beat her to keep her in good spirits and are forced to feed her as often as every second day to prevent her from turning cheesy.
Mother (Sourdough Starter)
Stir flour and water together and store in a covered stone or porcelain container. Automatic exposure to your environment should activate her innate yeast cells. Beat and feed her with flour and water every 2-3 days. The mother is ready when she froths at the edges and smells sweetly of beer. When making batches of sourdough, use half of her and keep her other half happy and well fed.
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