Friday, October 22, 2010

Hey remember when...

I used to blog.... Sometimes a break can be a good thing, allowing one to collect their thoughts selves, etc. and realize passions that, once dwindling, have a new flame.

It is fall in Portland, and all I really want to do is take and post pictures of the colorful leaves and morning sky . However, my starter (begun Sept. 2010) has been longing for attention. Several forgotten feedings left it smelling incredibly sour, convincing me to use it for its true purpose: to make sourdough bread.

This is the first time I've tried to make sourdough and I do have to say, it went pretty well. I'd even go so far as to say that it rekindled my bread-baking spirit. However, the journey to the perfect is certainly going to take multiple trials.

Sourdough Bread Recipe

About 4 c flour
1.5 TBL sweetener (I used some agave and some crystallized white sugar)
1.5 tsp salt
2.25 tsp yeast
1 cup milk (I used almond)
2 TBL margarine
1.5 c sourdough starter

Measure yeast into large bowl
Heat milk on stove, slightly warmer than lukewarm (so it will activate but not kill the yeast)
Pour about half the milk over the yeast and stir in about half of the sweetener
Place the remaining margarine in the saucepan with the milk and allow to melt slightly

After yeast had time to get active (5-10 minutes with milk), add starter
Then stir in milk-margarine mixture, salt and remaining sweetener
Add in flour until dough is easy to handle but still slightly moist (you may need slightly more or slightly less)

Knead dough for 8-10 minutes
Place in an oiled boil and let rise, covered, for 1 hour until double in size
Once doubled push down and let rest 15 minutes
Shape dough into two desirable loaves and place on greased baking pan
Score deeply (I like to use a razor blade) and let rise covered until double in size (about 1 hour)
Meanwhile arrange oven racks so that they are set on the two lowest placement options and place a shallow metal pan on the bottom rack, pre-heat oven to 425 degrees farenheit

Once doubled, brush loaves before
To guarantee a crispy crust, pour about a cup of water into the metal pan, already in the oven
Then place bread on the other rack
Bake for 20-25 minutes and let cool on wire rack

Place oven racks on

I'll be experimenting the next few times to determine the best egg-like wash for topping the dough before it goes into the over. This time I brushed the loaves with almond milk and I think it left the loaves a little darker than I'd like. I think I want to try the remaining water after cooking garbanzo beans.