Sourdough Making 101

Sourdough is a fermented food, therefore making it easy to digest.  A piece of organic sourdough warm from the toaster with Miyoko’s butter (vegan) smeared across it is divine with a cup of coffee in the morning.  Memories are made around loaves of bread.

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The original starter is from The Amish Cook’s Family Favorite Recipes by Lovina Eicher and is easy to put together.

3 packages of active dry yeast and 1 cup of warm water.  Pour into a small container with a loose fitting lid and refrigerate for 3-5 days.

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Now we add the starter feed. 

Add to that 3/4 cup of sugar (When did everyone get so funny about sugar?  It seems about the time artificial sweeteners came on the market.  Sugar is a plant.  Use organic sugar preferably.)

3 Tb instant potatoes (Bob’s is good, no extra weird ingredients.)

1 cup of warm water

Mix these up and then add the starter in with it.  Keep it on the counter with a loose fitting lid (it has to breathe) for 5-12 hours.  It will get bubbly.

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Use 1 cup of starter and place the rest in the refrigerator for 3-5 days and then feed again, then bake more bread.  I put a note on my calendar every five days.  Pitch the 1 cup if you aren’t making bread.  Sound like a lot of work?  If you have time for Netflix binges, you have ten minutes to work on your sourdough!

Now let’s make some bread!

Dear Lovina was an Amish mama and her recipe that follows the starter is for three loaves of bread.  That is a little much for just me and Pa so I adjusted it to my own tried and true bread recipe.

Mama’s Rosemary Sourdough

Pour one cup of the sourdough starter into a large bowl

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Add 3 cups of white, unbleached, organic flour (You can use 2 cups of white and 1 cup of wheat or other flour but do not exceed that ratio or you will have a cement block.  Been there, done that.)

1 Tb+ of fresh rosemary

1 ts of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup of warm water

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Blend well and let sit overnight on the counter or 3ish hours if you are starting in the morning.  Cover with a plate.

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Sprinkle dough with flour and use a wooden spoon to pull the dough into a ball.  Knead 20 times in bowl.  Sprinkle more flour if needed to keep from being terribly sticky.  Cover with plate again for another hour or two.

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Sprinkle dough with a little cornmeal and shape into a ball.  Spray cast iron pan or cookie sheet with oil and then sprinkle with corn meal.  Place dough on sheet or pan.  You can spray the top of the dough with oil then grate some vegan parmesan on top or add a little more garlic powder.  (Violife is the most convincing parmesan in the world.)  Bake for 40 minutes.

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Cool on rack.  Let cool before serving or the steam will make the center doughy.  Store in an airtight bag.  Tastes best with laughter and wine, or in blessed silence with tea.  Really up to you.  Enjoy!

 

The Delicious and Versatile Homemade Crouton

I try to bake bread each week.  The first few days the bread is delicious and soft.  The next few days it needs to be toasted.  The next few days we forget about it.  Then I make croutons!  Croutons are a great way to preserve stale bread and can be made with store bought bread as well.

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Simply cut into half inch pieces and place on cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Use a large spoon and stir while flipping the pieces over (the best you can, don’t do every single piece, you’ll go crazy) and drizzle with a little more oil and salt and pepper.

For these I used a little sage and onion infused olive oil from Drizzle and Dip in Southlands along with good olive oil.  Rye bread was made into croutons this week and it goes very well with strong flavors like garlic, sage, and onion.  You can also add minced herbs if you wish.

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Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.  Shake the pan after 10 minutes.  Then again when it comes out of the oven.  Let cool on pan completely.  Store in a paper bag.  These are delicious on salad, in soup, or as a snack.  These crispy, salty, savory croutons taste great with a little holiday red wine.  Add a few slices of good cheese and you have fast hors d’oeuvres.

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Here is a link to one of my bread recipes. Click here

Grain Mills and Rye Bread

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The aroma captures you as you enter the house.  It instantly makes a home cozy.  When you make the soup too spicy (oops) it calms it down and fills you up.  It is perfect with a glass of wine and bit of butter and jam.  A must for a picnic.  Not to mention full of protein, nutrients, and fiber.  Ahh, fresh bread, how I adore you.

One of the lovely things about moving to a small town, opening a small business in a small town, and living simply around other folks that live simply is the community mindset of barter.  So when a couple we know wanted to take some of my herbal classes, they offered me a near forgotten treasure…a grain mill.  One that actually grinds whole wheat into fine, delicious flour.  What a gift!

Living at 6500 feet above sea level has provided me with years of baking cement blocks.  A few of you are laughing, cause you know what I am talking about!  I have perfected the simple loaf of bread with the help of some books like “My Bread” by Jim Lahey and “Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” by Hertzberg ad Francois.  They didn’t touch on high altitude baking but they catapolted me to the next level in order to master the humble peasant loaf.

Easy Scrumptious Rye Bread

2 cups of unbleached, organic white flour

1 cup of rye flour

1 Tablespoon of yeast

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1Tablespoon of caraway seeds

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 1/2 cups of warm water (1 1/3 cup for lower altitudes)

Mix well in a mixing bowl and place plate over it (you could use a towel, but I have cats, since cat hair is not really a necessary ingredient in bread, I use a plate) Promptly forget for 2-6 hours.  Take off plate, sprinkle with flour and knead 20 times in bowl.  Re-cover. Promptly forget for 1-4 hours.  Place in preheated Dutch oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove lid and bake for 15 minutes more.

You could also grease two bread pans and bake at 425 degrees for 40 minutes with a ramekin of hot water.

Enjoy with rich butter, homemade choke cherry jam, and glass of red wine, a meritage or California red blend would be lovely.

Have a beautiful Sunday.  (Go Broncos!)