Thursday, May 24, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sourdough or Not Best No Knead Bread Recipe

The moment you have all been waiting for!!!  First time bread makers should totally give this one a try.  The hardest part is forethought!  First rise is 12-18 hours.  But oh so worth it!

In a bowl mix:
3 cups of white flour (bread or all purpose)
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

For yeast users add: 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast then add 2 1/2 cups of body temperature water

Sourdough starter... its alive!

For Sourdough add:  1/4 cup active sourdough starter and enough body temperature water to make 2 1/2 cups of liquid total.

Stir either mixture up with a wooden spoon into a fuzzy looking ball.  Add water a tablespoon at a time if all flour is not incorporating.  Or a little flour if ball cannot keep its shape.
Cover this with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12-18 hours.  I've even let it go 24 with sourdough.  And as little as 6 with yeast.  Still worked!  

After it sits for a very long time, dump it out of the bowl and knead it 10  times.  Form a nice little ball and let it proof in a bowl or pan lined with parchment paper.  Make a few slashes in the dough.  Now cover and let it rise for 1 hour for yeast and 1 to 4  for sourdough. 
It will look like this.
Then you pre heat your oven to 500 degrees with your oven safe pot, dutch oven, or crock from your crock pot, in your oven.   Be sure to remove plastic knobs on lids as they will melt or crack at this high temp.  When the bread is ready to bake, take the dutch oven, crock, or pot out of the oven, remove the lid and gently lift the bread by holding the parchment paper and lower it into your pot.  Turn your oven down to 425 degrees, put the lids back on the pot and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove the bread by the parchment and place it on a cookie sheet to bake for another 15 minutes.  When its done, cool on a wire rack.  Serve it with butter or herbed cheese.  Oh my goodness you will love this bread!

I actually make 2-4 loaves at a time.  They freeze VERY well!  I pop a frozen loaf in the microwave for 2 minutes and its almost like eating it fresh. 

Some insider information:  The recipe my friend gave me for this bread has beer in it.  As I am not a beer drinker I had never bought the stuff before, but for this bread I would!  First time I went to buy beer I didn't have my I.D. with me.  Second time, my I.D. had just expired.  Third time, it was only 6 am and they cannot sell beer until 7.  So that was the last time I tried to buy beer, and I never miss it in this bread!

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Sourdough starter how to...

There was a time when one could not enter a grocery store and buy commercial yeast.  One had to collect it naturally, from the yeasts in the air.  One had to nuture it, care for it, and most importantly USE it.  Sourdoughs are a lost art among the general population, but are still so easy to attain.  If you have a friend who has an active starter, by all means ask for some!  Or if you are like I used to be, and weren't sure where to go or what to do, go to:  I went there for sourdough advise and got more than I could have ever asked for.  They have video tutorials and recipes.  Of course this is just a beginning, but it will open up to you a whole new world of sourdough breadstuffs for your whole family to enjoy!  And if the day does come again when one cannot head to the market to buy instant yeast, you will still be putting warm, fresh bread on your table.

Basic Instructions:
  • Step 1. Mix 3 ½ tbs. whole wheat flour with ¼ cup unsweetened pineapple juice. Cover and set aside for 48 hours at room temperature. Stir vigorously 2-3x/day. (“Unsweetened” in this case simply means no extra sugar added).
  • Step 2. Add to the above 2 tbs. whole wheat flour and 2 tbs. pineapple juice. Cover and set aside for a day or two. Stir vigorously 2-3x/day. You should see some activity of fermentation within 48 hours. If you don’t, you may want to toss this and start over (or go buy some!)
  • Step 3. Add to the above 5 ¼ tbs. whole wheat flour and 3 tbs. purified water. Cover and set aside for 24 hours.
  • Step 4. Add ½ cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 to 1/3 cup purified water. You should have a very healthy sourdough starter by now.
After the initial starter is established, you can switch to white flour to keep it going.  Please note: If your sourdough starter ever turns orange, it has been exposed to a bacteria and you should NOT feed it to your family.  Throw it out and start over.  This has never happened to me.  I keep my starter in a cheap cottage cheese container.  I've tried using a jar, but when the jar needs cleaned due to dried on starter I have to chisel at it with a butter knife. (not fun)  This way when my container needs to be changed, I toss this one and call it a good green day!  To keep your starter alive, you need only to feed it and use it.  If you continue to feed it but do not lose it you will have too much and may have to throw some away.  That sends pains into my heart!  So use it please and may I suggest starting with a beautiful no knead recipe??  Or pancakes, you choose!  I know you may be thinking, oh great another mouth to feed?  Let me tell you that I can be a neglectful to this child....  It will sit in the back of my fridge for a month sometimes before I use it again.  But I never EVER have a problem!  Just feed it:  1 to 1 ratio of water and flour and let it sit a few hours.  It will be bubbly and brewish, ready to make some bread!  Stay tuned for the BEST bread recipe EVER!