Friday, May 25, 2007

The Sourdough Came Out Great!

Okay, so I haven't posted very recently, but I was extremely distracted by the fun of making sourdough! With my first jar of sourdough starter - I didn't throw away the recommended 1/2 portion, I actually transfered it to another jar (jar #2), and fed it along with jar #1. The next day it had grown again, and I poured the hooch off the top of jar #1's contents, discarded the hooch, then stirred the remaining starter. (Hooch is the liquid that forms on the top of your starter.) With jar #2, I stirred the hooch that had separated - back into the starter. I fed both jars of starter equally, not throwing away any again. After the third day of feeding the two starters every 24 hours, I had a pretty sour smelling (in a pleasant way) starter in both jars. That's where the fun started.

I took half of each, and made the bread recipe first with one jar, and the other portion I put into jar #3. The kids loved the bread, my husband loved the bread. (He actually doesn't like sourdough, but he kept sneaking bits off of my portion, and said it was wonderful bread, but a little too sour for him.) So I fed the three starters, and planned some neat ideas to try for the next day.

When I awoke, my three jars of starter had each doubled, and I knew I'd better get ready to bake. The starter had a layer of froth on the top, and was bubbly throughout, so I knew it was ready, and is what you would call "proofed starter". So I made an unmeasured version of a cross between the bread and soft pretzels. (Just thought I should experiment while I had multiple batches of starter ready to go!) I probably used about 1-1/2 cups of starter, about 3 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. salt, 1 tbsp. oil, and enough flour to make a flexible soft dough. I set the dough to rise in a warm place (my oven - every hour or so I would turn it on, wait a moment, then turn it off, but if you have a light bulb in the oven, leave it on and that will be warm enough.)

When the dough had about doubled, I kneaded it again, and then separated it into golf-ball sized pieces. I rolled each piece between my hands to make a rpe. and then shaped them into pretzels. Back into the oven they went, and I let them rise and nearly double again. This sime when I took them out, I dropped them into boiling water one at a time until they float, then removed them. If they floated upon dropping them in, I removed them right away. I placed them onto a lightly greased pizza pan (comparable to a cookie sheet). I then used an egg wash (1 egg mixed with a tablespoon of water) and topped with sea salt. You can also use coarse salt. I baked them at 400 degrees on the top rack for about 10 minutes, or until golden. I have also had success baking them at 350 degrees for about 10 mintes, and they were just as delicious. (As I said, I've been having fun with the starter!)

Another thing I did with the sourdough bread was add about 1/4 cup of parmesian cheese, 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning, 1 tsp. pepper, 1 tbsp. garlic, 2 cups of proofed starter, 2 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. salt and enough flour to turn the dough into a light and silky dough. I let it rise to double the size, and then shaped it into a loaf and let it rise to double again. Then I turned on the oven, with the risen loaf inside, to 350 degrees, and baked it for about 20 to 40 minutes, or when browned on top.

I am now down to just two jars in the fridge, jars #1 and #2. I made about 4 dozen pretzels, 2 loaves of bread, 10 breadsticks, and 1/2-dozen bagels. It was loads of fun, and I took a rest from it for a few days, and my starter jars now reside on the top shelf of the fridge for now. I plan to use them again in a day or so, but perhaps I'll take it a little slower next time.

1 comment:

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