Sourdough bread (fresh starter!)

Sourdough bread (fresh starter!)

D found this recipe from the King Arthur flour web site about a no-knead sourdough.  Since I just made a starter again (see this post), I figured this would be a good first try.  I followed this site’s directions relatively closely and will put my slight alteration.

Ingredients

  • 225 g fresh sourdough starter (it wasn’t exactly fresh as I had fed it around 7 am and didn’t make the dough until about 7 pm…most things I read said you should start your recipe about 4 hours after feeding your starter)
  • 395 g luke warm water
  • 598 g bread flour
  • 15 g salt
  1.  I took all the ingredients and mixed them in a large metal bowl (I typically use a metal bowl for my baking…I know a lot of places say you should use wooden or plastic but I haven’t had any issues with rising).  I made it into a cohesive moist dough, covered it with my plate (that fits almost perfectly as a lid) and let it sit for 1 hour.
  2. Next I lifted the dough and then folded it over on itself (I just grab a piece from the edge and fold it to the center and then go around the edge of it to fold on itself).  I covered it again and let it rest another 1 hour.
  3. I repeated step 2 another 2 times (total of 3 hours) and folded it one more time after the last hour wait.  I then covered it and put it in the fridge.
  4. The King Arthur site says you can let it sit in the fridge for as little as 8 hours and up to 48 hours.  Since I started it on one of my work days, I was going to wait until my day off to bake.  I ended up letting it sit in the fridge for about 36 hours.
  5. On a well floured counter, I poured out the dough, formed a rough ball and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  6. I then shaped it into a boule and with seam side up put it in a well greased bowl.  The dough ball didn’t really rise much (which is what it said from the original recipe) but did spread out and relax.  I let it come up to temperature for about 3 hours (again it depends on warmth of your house…2.5 to 3 hours)
  7. About 1 hour before baking I preheated the oven to 500 F.  I put in my dutch over with the lid partially ajar to preheat as well (as this is my baking container).
  8. After 3 hours, I dumped the dough into the dutch oven, floured the top and made 4  cuts on top with a sharp knife.
  9. I replaced the dutch oven cover, put it in the oven and reduced the temperature to 450 F.  I baked it for 45 minutes covered.
  10. After 45 minutes, I removed the cover and allowed it to bake another 10 min (~10-15 min until internal temp is at least 205 F).

Continue reading “Sourdough bread (fresh starter!)”

Sourdough starter

With COVID-19 going on, a TON of people have decided to take up baking.  I’m glad that I got into it a few years ago so at least I’m already familiar with the process and had started building up supplies prior to the lockdown.  I have heard a lot of people who have started making bread starters because it is difficult/impossible to get active dry yeast at this time (side note: my wife mentioned part of the reason for the shortage is that it is hard for the yeast companies to obtain the packaging for the yeast and normally their “busy season” is int he fall so they weren’t prepared for the high demand).  I had made a starter a few years back and kept it going for a few months but then neglected it and eventually tossed it.  For the last year or two I’ve been meaning to re-start one.  It happened to be unseasonably warmer this week and since I have a little extra time (I’m considered essential so still working but not as much as before) decided to start a new sourdough starter.

Surprisingly you can make a sourdough starter pretty easily and with few ingredients.  All you really need is flour and water.  There are some particulars to each that you have to pay attention to.  For the flour you can actually use different types (as evidenced below).  The water you ideally should be using something that doesn’t have chlorine or chloramine in it as that can retard the growth of the starter (either using filtered water or bottled water).

I decided to try two different types to see which would create a better yeast starter.  I made one out of whole wheat flour and one with AP flour.

And….

Both those failed to produce.

I waited a week and then decided to try once more (what’s that saying “try and try again”).  This time I kept it very simple.

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup water (used the Brita since that water has sat and if there is extra chlorine, hopefully it will have evaporated out).
  • Food safe plastic container
  • I mixed everything up thoroughly and then used cheesecloth to cover (and partially covered with the lid but didn’t seal it). I put this on top of the fridge because it’s supposed to be a little warmer there.

Then I just let it sit for about 24 hours.  Our house is relatively cool so I left it an additional 12 hours.  By now I could see a little bit of bubbles.  I removed 1/2 of the mixture and then added in another 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water and mixed it thoroughly.

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I kept repeating the process (waiting 24 hours between feedings).  It took almost 2 weeks (most web sites say you can have it ready in 5-7 days) probably because it is cooler in our house (normally they want it in 80-85 F temps).

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A few bubbles…it’s ALIVE!
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Got some expansion and more bubbles

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If left too long a crust can form, just discard it and underneath is fine and toss 1/2 and re-feed

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After removing crust
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Healthy starter – notice the bubbles
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Those bubbles are what you want to see

 

-StewsCat

Italian Bread

Italian Bread

I realize that I haven’t posted in quite a while.  Life has just been going on.  I haven’t been all that inspired to create a post.  This weekend I decided to get back into the baking game.  Perusing through The Fresh Loaf, I came upon this recipe.  Rather than create 2 large loaves, I cut the recipe in half.  I also recently purchased some non-fat dry milk to test out since it is easier to keep than fresh milk.  Since there are only 2 of us eating the bread, I also elected to divide what I did make into 2 smaller boules.

Ingredients:

Preferment

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup bread flour (or AP flour) – I used bread flour
  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Dough

  • Preferment
  • 2.5 cups bread flour (or AP flour) – I used 1 cup bread and 1.5 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 cup dry (non-fat) milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp (1.5 tsp) sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp (1.5 tsp) salt
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 Tbsp (1.5 tsp) olive oil
  • 1 cup water

I made the preferment the night before my combining all the ingredients listed into a bowl and covering it and leaving it at room temperature.

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The next day I mixed all the ingredients of the above Dough together into a large mixing bowl.  I dumped this onto my counter and proceeded to knead it.  I don’t know if it was due to the recent rains we’ve had making the house more humid but this dough was way too sticky.

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I ended up adding in about an additional 1/4 cup of flour to make the dough more easily handle-able and knead-able.  After kneading for around 12-14 minutes I placed the formed dough into an oiled bowl.

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I let this sit covered at room temperature for about 2 hours to allow it to double in size.

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After doubling I did a stretch and fold (within the bowl) to get some air out and then let it rest an additional 30 minutes.

I then dumped the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop surface and divided it in half.  These were each formed into a ball shape and covered and let to rest an additional 20 minutes.

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Following the rest, I formed each one into a boule, creating a tight seal on the bottom of the dough.  One of these boules I placed into a bowl with a lightly floured cloth and put in the fridge since I was only going to bake one at a time (couldn’t fit them both in my oven).  The other one I also formed into a boule and put in a floured cloth bowl at room temperature for 1 hour.

I pre-heated the oven to 425 with a dutch oven (with the lid slightly ajar…I had read about dutch ovens cracking in the oven if they were empty and covered).

Once the dough had doubled (or close to it), I placed it on parchment paper and created an “X” over the surface and placed this in the dutch oven covered.  I did spray the bread with water just before covering it.  I baked this at 10 minutes and then removed the lid.

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I then baked it an additional 20 minutes.  It had a nice crust.

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Midway through baking the above boule I removed the other one from the fridge to let it come to temperature.  I waited until I had a partial spring back of the dough when you pressed it with your finger.  I put this boule on parchment paper and created some cuts on top and then placed this directly on a baking steel (instead of a baking stone).  I also sprayed this with water and baked for ~28 minutes.  This one was a little over-baked.

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The taste and crumb came out great for both of the boules.  I was happy with this first-time Italian bread experiment.  Will definitely make again in the future.

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-StewsCat

Chocolate chip cookies!!

Chocolate chip cookies!!

Ever since I started baking, I focused moreso on bread and didn’t really do much dessert type baking.  I wanted to make some chocolate chip cookies for work so looked up some recipes online.  I found a few and then picked one.  I am not exactly sure where I got it from now (oops!).  I also wanted to try making puffier cookies vs the really thin flat ones.  In the end I think they turned out pretty good.  It’s a really easy recipe too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup room temperature butter (preferably pull it out in the morning and make cookies later that evening)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (or whatever chips you like…peanut butter, butterscotch, etc)
  1.  Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  2.  Cream the butter with the two types of sugar
  3.  Beat eggs and vanilla into the butter/sugar mixture
  4. Mix dry ingredients with butter/sugar mix.
  5. Add chocolate chips and incorporate

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Continue reading “Chocolate chip cookies!!”

Parker House rolls (my variation)

Parker House rolls (my variation)

I learned about the famous Parker House rolls sometime ago while watching one of the many food shows that I use to waste my time.  This morning since I was up at 4 AM due to jet lag, I decided to try my hand at them (also because I didn’t think we had anything in the house for breakfast except for eggs and I figured that some bread would go well with eggs).

I ended up loosely following a recipe from King Arthur Flour, but made some changes based on what I had in my pantry.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour (I used a mixture of bread and AP)
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk (I used rice drink as that is all we have in the house)
  • 1 large egg (mine was more of a medium sized egg)
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter

The overall recipe was fairly easy.  Mix all of the above ingredients save for the last 3 Tbsp of melted butter – that was for later.  I did slightly warm up the rice drink with the egg whisked in to get it closer to room temperature.  Initially (maybe due to lack  of sleep), I only used 2 cups of flour and couldn’t figure out why the dough was so wet and seemed to be more consistent with a cake mixture.  I eventually realized my mistake and added the extra cup of flour and it still came together okay though was a very wet dough (I suspect from the all the butter).

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Forgot to add the 3rd cup of flour so it was a mushy mess.
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Much better with the 3rd cup of flour

I popped the dough into a lightly greased bowl and placed it in my oven’s proof setting for 80 minutes (originally it was set at 90 minutes but I took it out a little early).  The dough rose quite nicely.

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The King Arthur recipe calls to shape the dough into the orginial recipe shape  (as seen here).  I decided to do my own thing.

I spread the dough out into a roughly 8″ x 12″ rectangle.  I took some of the melted butter and generously brushed it over the entire dough rectangle.

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I then divided the dough into 16 pieces.  Each piece was then individually rolled into more or less a ball like shape and placed in some cast iron pans.

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I then let it rise for abour 40 minutes (the recipe says to let them puff up and not double at about 45-60 minutes).

In a 350  F pre-heated oven I popped both the cast iron pans into the center of the oven.  The original recipe called to bake for 20-25 minutes until brown but mine ended up taking closer to 30 minutes (maybe like 29 minutes).  I then brushed the top of the bread with the remaining melted butter.

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Overall I was impressed with how they came out.  The inside dough structure was soft and pillowy and there was a bit of crunch from the outside of the bread.  This is definitely something I can do again in the future.

-StewsCat