Cook It: Sourdough Bread

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Hi! How are you? You are still here… that is a relief. It has been a long stretch, I know. I’m sorry. I feel the need to apologize to everyone. Anyone reading. My lovely partner. My seriously awesome kiddo. My friends. The chickens. And, oh, the dog. The poor dog. Does anyone want to take her for a walk?

You see – I had a business to launch. I had a launch party. It turned out fantastic! I couldn’t have hoped for better. So many lovely people. Rare, perfect weather. Amazing support. And, it was my birthday. What a better way to have a birthday than to finally launch the business you’ve dreamed about?

I also have tended to hundreds of seedlings. Yes, really. Hundreds. The little plants take a lot of monitoring and shuffling. But more on them later. I’m here to talk about bread. It is time for discussing Cook it! 2012: Bread.

I continued my exploration of sourdough. Yes, I am still working on that sourdough. Soon to be known only as that.damn.sourdough. But, let’s take a look anyway.

grow and resist sourdough bread makingYes, the Pyrex loaf pan is lovely. But one should never bake bread in it. Never I tell you! Your bread will stick and you will be very sad.  I will say that sourdough sandwich bread is looking pretty good though isn’t it?   I’m getting there.

Honestly, getting there is all I care about with sourdough at this point. Why? Because I’m kind of tired of buying flour to feed that little sucker. And I have to throw away so much of it as discard.  Let’s face it: sourdough is frickin’ temperamental. Do you want to know one thing I don’t need in my life? Temperamental anything, that is what. A sourdough starter is like your moody ex-girlfriend with intimacy issues. Just say no to drama and turmoil.

grow and resist sourdough bread pancakesWhere was I? Oh, yes, the discard does make lovely sourdough pancakes. Truly. The Babylady says “Can we have some of those pancakes? The BEST ONES WE EVER ATE! PLEASE!” I know, you are dying to know: does this mean a moody ex leads you to good things, you might ask? Well, yes, yes it does. True story friends!

My goal is now to “get in and get out.” I want to learn it and know I can do it. Then get the hell out and back to dependable yeast. But if the zombie apocalypse comes, this girl has chickens (eggs), a kick-ass garden, and the ability to make non-commercial-yeast bread. And it will rise dammit.

Clearly I’m no Doomsday Prepper stockpiling ammunition and such. I’m more peace-love-hippie-let’s-drink-kombucha-and-get-a-remote-commune-far-away-from-those-guns. But there is a certain satisfaction in knowing how to do some basic things. If I can’t buy yeast, I still want bread. Period.

Last month I got my starter going fairly easily, but the method felt more involved than I felt I would do regularly. I decided to see if I could use the starter in my old Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day method.

grow and resist sourdough bread makingLooking pretty good isn’t it?

I decided to use 1.5 cups of starter, meaning I would need to cut the amount of flour/water in the recipe in the same ratio. My uses 2 oz. flour/4 oz. water so I decreased the 5 minutes bread by ½ cup of flour and 1 cup of water. This may or may not be exactly right, but given my general laxness in measuring I’m sure it was as close as I’m likely to get.

I am still having some problems. My friend Mel that I mentioned in my last bread post came by to check on it and sniffed/tasted/touched and generally performed bread rituals that only a breadmaster would comprehend. It isn’t quite right yet. The starter smells a bit “banana-y” and it separates a lot.

grow and resist sourdough bread makingThe texture is definitely improving. I’m close. So close. I am not sure how much longer I’ll keep experimenting. I might move on to trying different methods of storing a starter. Fridge vs freezer vs drying. Or I might just call it done-enough. We’ll see. In the meantime, I think Mel might be popping in for a bread-y guest post!

Before then, toast. I love toast. Do you have a favourite topping or spread? I love toast with smeared avocado and a dash of salt. If I’m feeling super decadent I love my toast with thick peanut butter slightly melting from the heat of the toast topped with cinnamon sugar. Trust me on that one. It is rockin’.

But most of the time, it is simple.

grow and resist sourdough bread makingHomemade buttered toast + fresh, over-easy egg = Perfection.

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