|Look into the oven - it's the bread show, starring bread!|
Seeing as we don't have trouble eating wheat, gluten, or yeast, though... bread we'll make. I love good bread and I am delighted to be able to make it at home. I am going to keep making sourdough and other long-fermented breads because of the simple fact that the flavor and texture is superior, in my opinion, to quick-fermented bread. [And hey, if there's a health benefit, great!]
I got started down this path when we received an old Le Creuset dutch oven and we could finally try the now-famous "No-Knead" bread recipe. [Okay, actually I used a very similar recipe from Cook's Illustrated.] It relies on high hydration, small amounts of yeast, a long fermentation, and baking in a covered container to keep steam in. It makes good bread. Crispy crust, open crumb, pretty tasty.
|Almost no-knead bread|
|The first sourdough loaf|
The real success came from King Arthur's Extra-Tangy Sourdough recipe. Again, it relies on a long fermentation, but ditches the dutch oven for a good healthy spritz of water in the oven to keep humidity levels up. [The recipe suggests adding citric acid - sour salt - for very sour bread, but the flavor so far has been superb without it.]
Wow, just wow. This bread is deeply flavorful with a fine-grained crumb, perfect for sandwiches and - my guilty pleasure - slathering with ridiculous amounts of butter and eating it warm. We've also made some really wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches with it, and together with a homemade creamy tomato soup, it's a simple, satisfying meal. Now I'm perusing the recipes on the King Arthur website and I'm thinking about adding sourdough to all the breads I love... popovers, crumpets, English muffins, ciabatta... chocolate cake?! It makes pretty good waffles, too. [No, this blog isn't supposed to be an advertisement for King Arthur, even though it seems like it right now. I just like the recipes - and the fact that they're freely available online. The stuff pictured below I got as Christmas gifts.]
So last night, I took out the crock of starter from the fridge and fed it with flour and water.
|The sourdough crock. It looks nicer than whatever Tupperware I had and is functional.|
This morning, it was nice and bubbly.
|The starter culture eats carbs and produces carbon dioxide and alcohol. Bubbly!|
Then I added a cup of starter to flour and water to make the sponge. This will ferment most of the afternoon on the counter, and all night in the fridge.
|Mmm, gloppy. That whisk thing looks crazy but does a great job mixing dough!|
Tomorrow I will take it out, add bread flour, salt, and sugar, and let it continue to ferment; then I'll shape it into loaves, let them rise, slash them, spritz them, and bake them. Tomorrow's dinner will have delicious bread as an accompaniment.
Notice how I don't have any photos of finished sourdough loaves? Apparently I've been so excited to eat them that I can't be bothered to take a picture first. I'll have to remedy that tomorrow.
What's cooking in your kitchen these days?