Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sourdough


The trouble with sourdough is that it's addictive. It's too easy to make: you mix it up at night, and bake it in the morning. It's chewy, fragrant, crusty, beautiful to look at, full of wild, subtle flavour.


The sourdough starter, I'm sorry to say, was a gift. I have no tips for establishing your own and in fact I've had nothing but bad luck trying to start one from scratch. The one I use now came from California, and has a long and illustrious history. That's my only secret to good sourdough—a good starter.

 Of course, if you stop by, I'll share it with you! Or maybe you'll have success establishing your own, which would be so awesome. Did you know that sourdough starters develop regional flavours? Like beers, they are affected by humidity, atmosphere, the local invisible flora and fauna in the air. The same starter can have totally different flavour in San Francisco than in Alaska.

Anyway, if you can get your hands on a starter, I guarantee you'll be hooked.

Mixing up the bread is crazy simple.


Sourdough Bread
dissolve 1/2 cup sourdough starter in 3 cups water
stir in  
6 cups flour mixed with 3 tsp seasalt
add more flour in scant handfuls 
and knead until smooth and elastic

cover and leave it to rise at room temperature for
12-24 hours

bake uncovered, 350 degrees

place a beaker of water in the oven to moisten atmosphere
(this helps produce the chewy crust)


a few dollops of olive oil
slashing the loaves


chewy, fragrant, and full of holes

Sourdough bread is super stretchy. This picture just doesn't do it justice, even though I was shouting at my son to "rip it slowly" (?) I needed to photograph the chewiness. Nevermind, you'll just have to take my word for it.


What else are we eating?

Pureed vegetable soup that has simmered all afternoon. I always add couple teaspoons of cumin and poultry seasoning. An unlikely combination, but so good! I got it from a split-pea soup recipe and there's no turning back.

I also try to sneak turmeric and garlic into all my soups, to counteract my children's beastly habit of eating off the floor. Turmeric is a vermifuge and anti-parasitic, so here's hoping.

Added to the daily fare is piles of homemade yogurt. I use a fairly primitive method, so there's no point in blogging about it. There are so many methods out there, all better than mine.

And now, feeling smug about all this homemade health food, I'm going confess that I bought my sons sour gummy worms today. We were in the dollar store at lunch time, and the toddler was whining, and we were buying candy for a friend's birthday party, and boys just didn't understand why the world is so unfair, and well, it was a low moment in parenting. I just gave in.

14 comments:

  1. what happened to your maple syrup?

    ReplyDelete
  2. have you tried baking in a cast iron pot? it get a super crispy crust, like all those incredible bakeries in SF! :)

    sour gummi worms are a necessary part of childhood. don't be too hard on yourself! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I'm OK with a bit of joyful hedonism now and then, but to bribe naughty kids with candy?

      Cast iron—I know, I know! I'd love to have a good cast iron pot. It's on my want list.

      I sometimes bake my bread in heavy earthenware with a lid, which is pretty good. The starter is so awesome, I think I can probably provide some competition to those SF bakeries! (although "Ontario sourdough" doesn't sound so attractive, does it?)

      Delete
  3. Hello Mary i loved the way you did your bread so naturaly.
    A thing thast i loved is the wood and the céramique that you us to put your dough.
    So a simple naturaly way to eat good food .

    I have to tray again to make my bread whit your recepie . Until i have my child whith a lot of médication for conceiving all my sytéme is wrong and they put too much stuff on food that it all ready make at grocerie .
    l share the same way cooking my family the same as you do .

    I discover your blog not a long time and i loved it .

    So nice to meet you and hope you like sharing whit me again your naturel recepie .

    A friend chatouille bonheur

    ReplyDelete
  4. That sourdough bread looks so good! I have some starter that I don't use often enough and I'll give your method a go. Thanks for the seasoning ideas for the soup too... I will definitely try those too!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've been meaning to do a sourdough bread and am at the moment totally inspired after I was given a "Herman the German Friendship cake" starter. I've just been online to find out how to start it from scratch. You've just made my mouth water and made me want to get on and do it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yum! I love sourdough. Now I am intrigued and want to find a starter. And don't regret the gummy worms. You made their day.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Did you know you can make other sourdough foods? I recently made a sourdough black forest cake and it was AMAZING. We've been enjoying sd english muffins and muffins,among others, but bread is certainly the easiest.

    The tumeric is a good idea - my youngest has recently taken to picking up gum from who knows where. yikes! Probably because her mean mother won't buy it for her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes! That's not something I've had to deal with yet. But I've heard of it!

      Thanks for the tips. I made my first sourdough cake, and it was good! Quite moist and heavy, which works for chocolate. Since we can't seem to live without wheat flour, at least I can ferment it, eh?

      Delete
  8. I want to come to your house for dinner. We, sadly, had hot dogs. At least it was nice enough to use the grill!

    DeeDee
    www.KidNeedsAKidney.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. WOW! This looks awesome. I'm crazy curious about how to establish a good sourdough starter now. I may have to look into it, because I'm dying to make my own loaf! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yummy... it's looks good. I want to make it too

    ReplyDelete
  11. Chris always raves about my sourdough from the starter you gave me. He said it's the best bread he's ever had. I had to get rid of it though otherwise I'd be tempted to make it every day and we'd each eat a loaf of it every day and that would just be bad for our waistlines...as if they need any more encouragement. I have that same bowl as you too! Jenny gave it to me, love it!

    ReplyDelete