Sunday, December 11, 2011

don't shoot me santa claus, no one else around believes me

I'm a pretty smart person. For example, when I read the headline, "Man Destroys House Looking for Girlfriend in Walls" I didn't even need to read the story to know that the guy was on drugs. I also suspected foul play in the shooting that happened in a church parking lot, even before the police suspected it. I am a luminary.

We're doing a present Christmas this year, and it's going to be quite an exercise in conspicuous consumption. The kids will never know what hit them! I'm pretty excited about the forthcoming glut of wonder.

So, the sourdough bread. It continues to be delicious. But: it is not sour. Not even a little bit. I don't know what the deal is. I like some tanginess, but I'll take sweet, light bread over the dumpy bricks I've had in the past. I haven't had an overflow like the first day since I started splitting the dough into thirds. The starter itself is fed with white flour, and then when I make the bread I do half white and half wheat flour. So it's not like a bread vitamin or anything. But it is delicious and chewy and soft. I recommend bread flour, which is what I've been using--Big J baker's flour, to be exact. Fantastic flour. It's the stuff my sister uses for the cinnamon rolls she sells on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer, and she makes like a bazillion dollars.

First off, you will need a sourdough starter. This is the hardest part, but if you read this blog with any regularity, chances are you are the kind of person who knows a weirdy who has a sourdough starter they can share with you. For example, me. I have one. I got it from Magic Wendy, who got it from a lady who wanted five dollars for it. Wendy thought that was a bit much, and she gave some to me for free. I think it's a good starter, but what do I know? If you want some, let me know. I gave some to my sister-in-law Emily the other day, so you can get one from her, too. If you don't know a weirdy, you can buy a sourdough starter on the internet. Google it and you will see.

You can make more than just bread with it--waffles, for example, that are light and crispy and soak up steaming gouts of syrup and melted butter, becoming infused with tastiness and rendering themselves far superior to hard, syrup-repelling waffles. But I mostly use it for bread.

Sourdough Bread (from The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers)
makes 3 loaves in my kitchen

3 C sourdough starter (he calls it "pioneer yeast," but I think that is gimmicky)
4 C flour, plus more for later (I use half whole wheat and half bread flour, but whatever you have is fine)
2 C room temperature water
1 T salt

1. Mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon or with a mixer until the dough is thick and elastic. It's like a really thick batter at this point. Let it rest for five minutes.

2. Add flour, 1/2 C at a time (alternating between white and wheat if you wish to possibly slightly lower your chances of developing colorectal cancer), until the dough is just a little bit sticky. You may need three cups or more of additional flour. Knead for eight to ten minutes until the dough becomes smooth.

3. Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl, covered, and sprayed with oil, for at least three to four hours. I'm serious about this. At least.

4. When the dough is doubled in size, deflate it and form it into three loaves. Put the loaves into greased and floured loaf pans. Let them rise until double while the oven preheats to 350* (450* for a thick, crispy crust).

5. If baking at 350*, bake for 30-40 minutes. If baking at 450*, bake for 10-15 minutes at 450*, then reduce the heat to 350* and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes. Note: the times may be way off. Today I cooked mine at 450* for about 25 minutes and then pulled it out. Take it out when it's done, okay? You will know by the smell. Maybe take it out of the pans and cook it directly on the rack for the last ten minutes. Go crazy, why don't you?Now, here is the part that will change your life. When you slice the bread to make toast, spread one side of the raw bread with butter, then grill it--only the buttered side--in a hot skillet until it is browned and crispy. Once cooked, sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar, or spread some jam or honey on it. It is called . . . pan toast. And it is the best thing you will ever eat. I may be overselling it a little, but you have no idea how good it is. It is so much better than normal toast. It eats pieces of crap like normal toast for breakfast. I will never willingly eat normal toast again.


Sarah said...

I want to eats it now, precious!

Claire said...

That looks so yummy!! So what is the advantage of using a sourdough starter over yeast or is it just for fun/making sourdough bread?

tipsybaker said...

I'm gonna have to make myself some sourdough starter in the new year and attempt this bread.