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In the Kitchen

Homemade Sourdough Bread

Now that the weather has cooled off I am not so reluctant to turn on the oven and bake my own sourdough bread again. Love it!

Sourdough Bread

This weekend I tried making a loaf of the “bread in a bowl” bread. Well, actually I did not try, I just did it.

  • 4 cups of enriched white flour
  • 1 cup of my rye sourdough starter
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp of yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups of water.

All you do is roughly mix the ingredients until the wet and the dry know each other quite well. That’s it.

In the original recipe they suggest leaving the dough sit for an hour and then bake it right in the bowl you have mixed it in. Because I use my sourdough starter, I like to let the starter “work” and develop a “sour” taste.

So I leave the shaggy ball of dough in the bowl all day while I am out and about doing stuff. In the evening I transferred the dough into my pre-heated cast iron Dutch oven and baked the bread at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes at 450, I lowered the temperature to 350 degrees and continued baking for another 20 minutes.

And where is the picture of the inside of the bread? I forgot to take one!

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Categories
In the Kitchen

Christmas Gifts and Foggy Days

I love the foggy days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve … when so many of us do not have to report in to work … such bliss. I’ve been enjoying time with family and friends and my new kitchen tools!

Christmas Gifts

The first new “toy” I got was a completely unexpected purchase; a beautiful new Frigidaire range with a stainless steel front.

We had a power “brown-out” at our home – all the lights went dim, the fridge went off, and the brains of our electric stove got “scrambled”. No more oven.

Until the crew at Midnorthern Appliance came through for me just a couple of days before Christmas. And then I was back to baking bread and biscuits!

Christmas Gifts

First up, sourdough biscuits! Having a sourdough starter is like having a pet. It needs to be fed every day. If I do not throw out some of the starter each time I feed it, the bottle I keep the starter in gets too full. So instead of throwing it out, on the weekends I make sourdough biscuits.

Two cups of flour, a couple teaspoons of baking powder, a teaspoon of salt, five tablespoons of butter chopped into pea-sized chunks, and about a cup and a half of sourdough starter.

If it is to dry, pour in a couple tablespoons of milk – do this slowly. You do not want to get it too wet.

Bake in the oven for 12-16 minutes at 450 degrees. Lovely.

Christmas Gifts

But then, sourdough BREAD!! This is the most perfect loaf of bread I have EVER made. It was soft and chewy inside with a firm, crisp crust – but not so crisp it shattered my teeth – and a beautiful sourdough flavour that was strong enough to let you know it was from a sourdough starter but not enough to overwhelm the tastebuds. Umm, it was good!

A big part of why it was so great is the kitchen scale I got for Christmas.

Who knew that measuring flour and other bread ingredients by cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons was so inaccurate? Measuring the ingredients by weight is a much more accurate system. And, if my first loaf of bread is any indication, weighing the ingredients certainly does work!

Christmas Gifts

Yes, let the joys of the season continue!

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Categories
In the Kitchen

Cast Iron Cooking; Making Bread

Those who follow me on Instagram or my Facebook page know that I’ve been working on my baking skills. I’m still working on my biscuit making technique and I’ve returned to bread making.

Typically I do my bread making while at the cabin. However, this spring break I decided to do some bread baking at home. And I had a significant breakthrough!

I made a beautiful loaf of bread with firm, and yet chewy crust. The interior of the loaf had a perfect texture. Dense enough to please me and yet lots of bubbles indicating that the yeast had done its gassy job.

This was my first loaf that I would call a 100% success. So the question is, what did I do differently this time?

Normally, I cook my bread in a cast iron skillet. About 20 minutes before I’m ready to bake, I put the cast iron pan in the oven as the oven is pre-heating to 450°. Once the oven is up to temperature, the pan is also sizzling hot. I take the pan out of the oven, plop the dough into the hot pan and then back into the oven for 30 minutes.

This time, under the advice of my Full Nomad friend Steff, I used a cast iron Dutch oven – with a lid! I did the same routine – pre-heated the oven, pre-heated the Dutch oven, plopped the dough into the Dutch oven – but then – I put a lid on the cast iron pot of dough before putting it back in the oven! Game changer!

After 30 minutes I took the lid off the Dutch oven and let the bread cook, uncovered for another 10 minutes.

The result – my first perfect (to me) loaf of bread.

However, I do need to back up a bit – how do I get to the point where I can plop the dough into the Dutch oven? Let’s look at that.

I actually start the day before I’m ready to bake. I thoroughly mix the dry ingredients together and then add the water. I stir in the water using a stiff rubber spatula (or as some call it, a rubber scraper) until the dough is a perfect ball of dough that isn’t sticky on the outside. If it is sticky, I add a dusting more flour and mix that into it.

And then I leave the ball of dough, in the stainless steel mixing bowl sitting on top of the fridge overnight. Or until I have time to bake it!

Every few hours I take the rubber spatula and stir the dough. I push it down and “knead” it to make the gluten in the dough work and stretch. In the morning, after sitting all night the dough is often puffed right up the top of the mixing bowl. My kids love that part of the process. I usually leave the dough to “work” for 24 hours.

About half an hour, or 20 minutes before baking time, I stir the dough one last time, fold it over on itself, and then roll it onto a piece of parchment paper.

When the oven is up temperature and the cast iron pan or Dutch oven is up to temperature, I lower the dough, on the parchment paper, into the Dutch oven.

As I said above, I let it cook with the lid on for 30 minutes. Then I took the lid off and let it cook for another 10 minutes. I had an absolutely lovely loaf of bread.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of flour (I use 2 cups unbleached white, and one cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon of yeast.
  • 1 3/4 cups of water.

That’s it!

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