Mmmmm…Smell That Bread

Figure 1 Sourdough Baguettes -recipe

Sourdough Baguettes

After some experimentation to see how Sourdough reacts to certain conditions and techniques I’ve discovered that it seems to enjoy very little attention.  Again “less is more”. The hardest part of this process for me is to let Mother Nature do her job without my interference. I’m not good with idle hands.

Here is the process I used to make my sourdough baguettes and based on the reception from my taste testers I have committed it in writing on a recipe card.  Done Deal!

In a glass mixing bowl add:

1/2 Cup unfed sourdough starter

A generous 1/2 Cup of tepid non-chlorinated water

A scant Cup of unbleached flour

Mix well and let stand at room temperature for about 12 – 14 hours. (Really…just leave it alone)

Add:

A generous 1/2 Cup of tepid non-chlorinated water

A scant Cup of unbleached flour

2 Tablespoons of sugar

1 Teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt

Mix well and add:

1 more Cup of unbleached flour.

Mix well and pour out onto a surface that has an additional 1 1/4 Cup of flour on it and gently knead until all the flour has been picked up.

Place in a greased and covered bowl and let rise until doubled 4-6 hours. (Again…Really…just leave it alone).

When doubled or even tripled in bulk gently pour out onto a floured surface (I use a shaker filled with flour for this). Dust the top with flour and gently cut the dough in half (Don’t punch it down like with regular yeast type bread, you want the holes for texture). Gently shape the dough into Baguettes and transfer them onto a greased baking sheet. Cover with a clean dish towel and let raise 2 – 4 hrs. (this is relative to temperature and humidity in your kitchen, just be patient and peek in on it every once in a while).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Score the Loaves diagonally with a very sharp knife. This helps them expand in the oven without cracking

Slightly mist the loaves with a food grade spray bottle filled with water.

Bake in a  425 degree preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack.

Store in a paper bag (plastic will change the crust from crusty to rubbery).

In The Beginning There Was Sourdough

I remember the smell of fresh baked bread on cold winter afternoons.  Mmmmmmmm.  The toasty kitchen warmed you on the outside and that heavenly smell warmed you on the inside. Ooooh… the rich and tangy aroma of sourdough drifting through the house.  I recently tried my hand at making a sourdough starter.  The process is simple but it takes patience.  The ingredient list? Flour (unbleached), Water (non-chlorinated) and Mother Nature. Simple Right? Sourdough Baguette Banner Making your own sourdough starter. Pick a time you will be available to tend your starter twice a day for a week to begin the process. (this is planning) You will need a clean wide top glass or ceramic container with a lid that fits loosely. If you have a small crock that would work great. A generous ½ cup of tepid non-chlorinated water.  (Chlorine will kill the process before it starts) 1 scant cup of whole grain unbleached flour. (unbleached flour has the vital nutrients to feed the process)

Day 1: Mix the flour and water completely.  It should be very loose and tacky. Put the mixture in your container and put the lid on loosely to keep out bad bacteria. Let is set in a warm not hot (about 70 degrees) place for 24 hours. If your house is cool you can set the container near any heat generating appliance like on top the refrigerator.  Prep time 10 minutes; Wait time 24 hours.

Day 2: You will “feed” your sourdough starter.  You may not see much activity so this is where patience (and a little faith) comes in to play. The feeding process is as follows: Remove a generous ½ cup of sourdough starter from your container and put it into a glass bowl. Discard the rest and wash and dry the sourdough container. Add a generous ½ cup of tepid non-chlorinated water and a scant cup of unbleached flour to the sourdough starter.  Mix thoroughly and return to the sourdough container. Let stand in a warm place for 24 hours.   Prep time 10 minutes; Wait time 24 hours. Figure 1 - Flour Water and Sourdough StarterFigure 2 - Mix thouroughlyFigure 3 - Put into glass containerFigure 4 - Cover with loose fitting lid and let rest 24 hours Days 3, 4, 5: You will need to start feeding your sourdough starter twice a day for the next few days.  The twice a day feeding process is as follows: Remove a generous ½ cup of sourdough starter from your container and put it into a glass bowl. Discard (or you can save the unfed portion for waffles or pancakes) the rest and wash and dry the sourdough container. Add a generous ½ cup of tepid non-chlorinated water and a scant cup of unbleached flour to the sourdough starter.  Mix thoroughly and return to the sourdough container. Let stand in a warm place for 12 hours. You should see your sourdough starter growing more bubbles as it gains strength.  Prep time 10 minutes; Wait time 12 hours each feeding. Figure - 5 Active Starter Continue this process until your sourdough starter is very bubbly.  Then store it in the refrigerator. If your recipe calls for fed starter remove a ½ cup and feed it. Let it set in a warm place for as long as it takes to become very active. You’ll enjoy the tangy fruity slightly acidic fragrance as it develops and matures. If your recipe calls for unfed starter use the part you would normally discard. Enjoy!  …. D Yelle

STAY TUNED FOR UPCOMING RECIPES TO USE YOUR SOURDOUGH STARTER.

 

Welcome To A Simpler Time!

A Simpler Time Banner

The more time passes the more I come to realize that less is more and simple is simply the best.  I’m fortunate to come from an era where the wisdom of past generation was handed down with pride and folks were artisans of their crafts. There is a great sense of satisfaction in creating instead of relying on commercialism. As I go forward to discover treasures of the past I hope to share those discoveries here!

WELCOME TO A SIMPLER TIME!

One of the things I’ve discovered as I go through the process of minimizing commercialism in my life is that organization is vital to the process and planning is an integral part of the organization process.  This means evaluating and prioritizing tasks.  The old phrase “Make Hay While The Sun Shines” means precisely that. If you need to make hay and the sun is shining….make hay! Don’t go fishing.  Fish will bite in the rain.  Hay will rot if it gets wet. Simple!