Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer here and I made my first batch of real sourdough artisan bread. It was quite a production. :D But first, check out Ruthy's beautiful book! Such a gorgeous cover. I don't even like cowboys and I love this picture. :)
I have to share these pictures of my friend's neighbor's cat. (Don't you love facebook? I get to see my friend's neighbors CAT.)
SO. I've always wanted to make sourdough bread (even though I'm not a fan of the flavor) but didn't ever really know how to start. I check out artisan bread books all the time from the library (it's relaxing to read them, what can I say). My sister came to visit and brought me a jar of sourdough starter!! I wrote down her directions as precisely as I could and started to pray. Maybe I should call it the Sourdough Novena. :D
For the start, we had to add one TBS of flour and one of water every week if it stays in the fridge. If we're making bread, we put the starter in a large bowl and feed it one cup flour and one cup water every 6-8 hours until you have the right amount. It's tricky here, because if you're cooking for two, you don't want to make five large boules. But we have eight people and we all love bread so I decided to just carry on feeding the mix until the large bowl was about halfway filled. Then I added flour until it was the right consistency, and then a TBS and a half of salt, folded in.
It took about four days of coddling, every 6-8 hours. It was so odd to see it bubbling and frothing and there was no yeast. Just normal bacteria from the air. EEEEK. So, after letting it rise for four hours (watch out, it really rose), shape into balls and let rise again. Pat with flour and cut a few slashes with a knife. Put it in a cast iron dutch oven at 425F. The covered dutch oven helps keep the bread from getting too crusty and dry. It's pretty much full of air but needs to cook for at least 45 minutes without burning. Tricky but worth it!
That's all for now! Be sure to stop by my facebook pages at Mary Jane Hathaway and Virginia Carmichael.
And happy 500 reviews to The Pepper in the Gumbo! I'll be giving away some awesome Austen goodies and Southern cookbooks on my MJH page so be sure to check in there for the link.
Until next time!