Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sourdough Bread, Part I

I've watched too many episodes of Top Chef. When I saw the salmon and sourdough challenge a couple of weeks ago, it renewed my desire to really get good at bread making. And, sorry bread machine fans, but that just doesn't cut it for me.

That's one thing I definitely got from my mom -- a love of good bread.

My time in France devouring (and I'm not exaggerating with my word choice) fresh baguettes did not help. Not one little bit.

Neither does my egg allergy, help that is, which makes me wary of the lovely, shiny-topped loaves that "may contain" egg. Sometimes that, sadly, is code for, we illicitly used an egg wash, but you'll never notice. Right?!? Wrong. My stomach will let me know. In spades.

I digress.

A couple of years ago, I learned a couple of recipes. I could make passable dinner rolls. I make a mean whole wheat loaf. But I totally stalled out. I found some stuff in the bakery section that was both tasty and kept the ol' tummy from turning over on itself. Bread making was stuffed away as something I wanted to do someday. In the future. When I got around to it.

The future is now, my friends.

Two weekends ago, I embarked on the first step of my new journey toward bread making world domination. Or something like that. Regardless, it is a fun, inexpensive, and productive hobby. And my husband is a lover of all things hobby. Especially when they involve dinner.

Again, I digress.

Working on my starter. You can see my beloved cookbook, too.

 Two weekends ago, I made the sourdough starter from my trusty, red Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It might be old school, but it is a great gift for anyone who is learning how to cook, and is a great wedding present. The recipes (which get updated, so they are things you would actually cook!) are generally super user-friendly and are always produce good food, at least in my experience.


Digressing...

Anyway, this is the recipe in internet form. Scroll past the bread recipe (and, um ... Part II spoiler, I guess.)

Blurry picture...but all stirred up!


Not too much to look at picture-wise, but it was a snap to pull together. It did require a good amount of stirring at the beginning, but it began to smell like yeast right away. Over the days of fermentation, my husband commented several times about how much it smelled like brewing beer. It did.

Living in the corner

Fermenting away


The real test came when I made it into bread . . . but that post will have to wait 'til tomorrow.

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