Adventures in Sourdough

I have a pet at home, he lives on top of my fridge.

He eats flour and water and gives me active wild yeast to cook with.

My pet is my sourdough starter. I have been keeping it for a month or two now, and I am actually able to tell how its doing each day by the amount of bubbles and webbing in it. Today my starter was really happy, I have been feeding it lately with King Arthur Whole wheat Flour in addition to some brown sugar. It really likes that. Today when I woke up and checked on my pet, it was finally ready to use again.

So I took 2 cups out of it, with 2 cups warm water and 2 ½ cups flour, and made a starter ‘sponge’ aka batter. I am using a recipe from a book that I recently found called “Adventures in Sourdough; cooking and baking,” By Charles D. Wilford.

Its a great recipe and reference book for having your own sourdough starter and it was published in ’71. And if you know anything about my cookbook collection, the older the better so I do appreciate cookbooks older then me. And this one is a beauty. I have been bookmarking recipes for the last month and I cannot wait to try a few today. I am trying to decide what to make but since this cookbook has literally every sourdough recipe you can find I am having a hard time deciding.

This cookbook starts with pancakes, and I mean every single kind of sourdough pancake recipe that you can think of. I am excited to get started with a try at sourdough pancakes, for last night I tried to make regular soda pancakes and failed with no rise rubber things. So I am excited. Then it covers waffles, crackers, breads, rolls, biscuits, Dumplings, muffins,french bread, crumpets, cake, cookies,brownies, doughnuts, fritters, Cobbler and pudding.

The best thing about this book is that it covers everything, I do not have to go searching the internet for sourdough recipes ever in my life, because I have all the best recipes for my sourdough starter right here in front of me. So here I go on an adventure in sourdough. I just need some patience because ‘proofing is a test of bakers patience.’ I will update with whatever I make with my active sponge today! I would upload a picture of the book, but I cant right now.

In the meantime here are a few more blog links of mine about my previous adventures in sourdough and bread making.

https://momsorganicbohofoodfun.com/2015/08/25/82415-from-scratch-whole-wheat-bread/

https://momsorganicbohofoodfun.com/2015/08/24/82215-pesto-pinwheels/

https://momsorganicbohofoodfun.com/2015/08/12/81215-cook-book-review/

https://momsorganicbohofoodfun.com/2015/09/20/king-arthur-flour-100-whole-wheat-review/

I have made a hobby of it and its a very ‘exotoxin’ ehem, I mean exciting and satisfying hobby.

Here are all the best links that I have used for starting a sourdough starter.

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2012/04/05/creating-your-own-sourdough-starter-the-path-to-great-bread/

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-your-own-sourdough-starter-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-47337

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/how-to-make-your-own-sourdough-starter-and-why-you-should/

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2015/08/11/sourdough-baking-tips/

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2014/07/27/excess-sourdough-5-tasty-ways-to-use-it-up/

8/24/15 From Scratch Whole Wheat Bread

From Scratch Whole Wheat Bread loaves

Yesterday I baked a whole lot. I finally had a perfectly bubbly sourdough starter, as yesterday marked a week since I started the starter. Results are what they are supposed to be now, with a bit of outside help.

Turned out my house, wasn’t hot enough, but I fixed the starter to a functioning bubbly state anyways. I was dead set on making a successful whole wheat loaf or two of bread, as the day before I wasted some flour, by not having a active enough starter discard. The bread that I made before never rose, nor the yeast never worked so they were hard as a rock, I have not and will not share pictures of that disaster. I did however have a self-determination inside me to make a successful one after those. So I did my best to make the yeast starter work right. So I fed it some brown sugar.

And boy did that work, the starter almost took over the whole stove. I mixed it, with some sugar, then let it sit for like 20 minutes and when I turned around it had overflowed the bowl it was in and was all over the stove, hey I guess the sugar worked. Since I had so much heavily activated starter discard, I put some back into my bulk starter to ensure it stays bubbly, and boy did that work too! Worked so well, that I put the starter into the fridge and now the next morning, it is still bubbly and foamy! I guess its ready to use again!

I did autolyse yesterday, as I have read that when you bake with whole wheat flour, it absorbs more water, so it needs to be more wet. My ratio was crazy too, I only used 2 cups of whole wheat flour to about 4 ½ –5 cups of bread flour. I mixed the gluten with milk and oil and let it sit for a few minutes before I added the salt, sugar and brown sugar activated yeast. The dough ended up being so wet that I had to add more bread flour to get it into an oiled bowl to rise. I think I could have added too much, but it still did its bulk rise in 2 hours like the day before when I made good bread.

After the bulk rise I split it in half, and place it into some loaf pans, I had one that was bigger than the other and I knew that one would bake better, and it did. I let them rise in the lowest setting in my oven. When they were ready I baked them at 350 degrees in the back of the oven, while I also baked some scones for my husband. He has been asking for them, so I made a quick blueberry topped batch, while the bread was rising. I knew the bread was done, when I could smell the crust getting browner, and almost too dark. I pulled them out and put them unto the cooling racks.

I got a little anxious and really loved the smell of the bread that I had to try it, I made a huge mistake and did not let the little loaf rest enough before cutting it so it deflated some. I kinda ruined it, but at least I had a better loaf to wait for.

Here are some pictures of the loafs out of the oven.

out of the oven, still in pans
out of the oven, still in pans
out of pan large loaf; top
out of pan large loaf; top
both loaves out of pans cooling
both loaves out of pans cooling
top of both loaves while cooling
top of both loaves while cooling

Here are the pictures of me cutting the small one.

slices of small loaf
slices of small loaf

Here are the scones;

scones on cookie sheet
scones on cookie sheet
scones and bread
scones and bread
blueberry topped scones
blueberry topped scones

Here are the first slices of the large one.

#glamourshot both loaves sliced
#glamourshot both loaves sliced
sliced both loaves
sliced both loaves
from behind, slices of bread
from behind, slices of bread

I finished slicing the large one this morning and I am having some for breakfast, it is really good bread, and I really like it. My husband and son would prefer me not making whole wheat sweet bread, they like my bread flour-pizza dough-Italian loafs better.

Here are the pictures from this morning.

slices of whole wheat bread
slices of whole wheat bread
my toast this morning
my toast this morning

 

I also made mashed potatoes and gravy and fried breaded chicken for dinner. With me and my sons chicken I topped it with my heirloom tomato sauce and a load of mozzarella, then broiled it. It was really good makeshift chicken Parmesan.

Here are some pictures of my plate.

my dinner plate
my dinner plate
chicken parmasan
chicken parmasan

7/26/15 Sourdough Split Top Loaf

Yesterday I did not cook much, I did make the last of the yeast dough from the day before. I tried to have a ‘sourdough’ experiment by leaving the dough out to rise and get sour overnight. I woke up to a risen dough, but not that much more risen than I went to bed with. I did however smell that distinctive ‘sour’ smell from it overnight. Even waiting for the oven to be ready, I could smell the sourdough smell in the kitchen.

I shaped the dough with some hand kneading love and some white flour. I made the dough out of 2 ½ cups of bread flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour. I saw the color of the wheat come through, but the taste and texture of the wheat flour was hidden with the bread flour. I shaped the dough and put it into one of my new stainless steel bread pans. I split the top and added a few chunks of butter to the split.

I cooked the bread for about 20 minutes at only 250-300 degrees for it to rise in the oven. It kinda deflated when I took it out to shape it. So I knew it needed some proofing to go still. After the bread proofed to my satisfaction I put the oven on 350 degrees and baked it until it was done.

Here are some pictures of my bread.

yeast dough sourdough split top bread
yeast dough sourdough split top bread

 

sourdough sliced
sourdough sliced

Results are definitely not sourdough, but kinda close. I am not sure how much longer that I would have to leave the bread dough out to make sourdough, but I believe I would just have to have a decent starter made and stick to that for breads. My apartment is ½ a mile from the beach, so I think I could achieve a waterfront sourdough if I left the starter out long enough.

I also did some spring cleaning yesterday. I organized my books in my room and the art desk supplies. I have one key piece of advice when trying to organize and clean, and that is start from the ground up. I have learned from being homeless that the only way to organize anything is to basically start over, how you want to do it. Basically when you wanted to reorganize your homeless backpack, you dumped it out and organized by starting over. I have been applying this advice to having an apartment to clean. I start from the floor up. If I cannot see the floor, and a crazy kind of hoarder situation has arrived, I pick everything up and put it somewhere else, until I can see the floor. Then I organize. And once the floor is seen, its easier to vacuum.

This advice has worked for a few anal OCD cleaning adventures since we have moved in, and I am sticking to it. Every time I start cleaning my son says “ Mom is making a mess.” but every time I finish, everyone is amazed at the progress. I managed to have a good cleaning day before my mother visited a few weeks ago, and since then we have kinda let go a bit, and I was starting to go crazy with the messes. I organized laundry, organized my room and I finally feel better.

Another piece of advice that I can share with this post is “Change your space, Free your mind.”

And as I have finally gotten my space clean, I feel so much better. I feel that your organization is a reflection of how you feel in your head, so having a cluttered space, keeps you scattered and unorganized in your home and head. So knowing where most every thing is in the house, is much better for me. I hope you all had a better day cooking then me, at least I got some yeast bread done and the house clean.