Take a guess..

May 6, 2012

20120506-190902.jpg

What did we spend our Sunday afternoon doing?

Advertisements

Sourdough Bread 101

April 18, 2012

I’ve made quite a few loaves from my sourdough starter and I have combined a few recipes, tweaked oven and rising times and think I’ve got it pretty down pat. Here’s a step by step recipe for making your own sourdough loaf!

The finished loaf!

There is one important thing to note about this recipe (or, really, any sourdough recipe)- the amount of waiting time there is.  Don’t let the time intervals scare you! The active time in this recipe is incredibly short, and if you have a morning or an evening to spend at home, it isn’t so bad to do it surrounded by growing yeasts and the smell of baking bread.

You will need about 5 minutes to mix up the sponge which needs to sit for about 8 hours (see instructions below). Then you’ll need a period of about three hours where you’ll be around, but not actively working with your dough the whole time. I suggest either putting the sponge together after dinner and baking in the morning or, putting the sponge together in the morning before leaving for class/work and baking in the evening. Play around with it, make it work for you! If the sponge sits for 10 hours, it won’t kill it. And if the dough rises for 2.5 hours while you’re grocery shopping, it won’t kill it.

And a final note- ff you read the ingredients below, you will realize that there are essentially four important aspects to this bread. Flour, water, salt and oil. You can add some fancy mix-ins but really, using high quality flour is the best way to guarantee you’ll have a stellar loaf. I use about 50/50 whole wheat and white flour to begin with, then any additional flour I need to add while kneading is whole wheat, upping the ratio a bit. I use locally grown and milled whole wheat flour that costs about $2.25/lb and King Arthur white, unbleached flour that costs about $1.60/lb. Because these are really the only things that cost much going into the recipe, I’ve realized it costs me about $4-5 per loaf to make this recipe, which I feel totally comfortable with but others may not.  No matter what you use, I applaud your efforts to make delicious, simple food for you and yours!

The delicious locally grown and milled flour I'm fortunate to have access to!

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread (makes 1 loaf)
(based on the recipe for sourdough loaf in The Tassajara Bread Book) 

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup sourdough starter
-2-4 cups whole wheat flour
-2-3 cups white, unbleached flour
-2 cups warm water
-1/4 c neutral oil
-1/2 T salt
-optional add ins, 1 cup sunflower seeds, 2 T sesame seeds, 1/2 c raisins, 1/2 c chopped dates, 1/4 c ground flax seed etc.

Other necessities:
-large, plastic or ceramic mixing bowl, I’ve read that metal will interact badly with the yeast
-wooden or plastic spoon (again, avoid metal)
-cheesecloth or other covering for your bowl
-baking sheet

Please let me know how yours turns out if you follow my recipe. Or, if you have a recipe you love- leave a comment and let me know, I always learn so much from trying out new recipes!

Happy kneading.

Read the rest of this entry »

Spring in March

March 12, 2012

20120312-134457.jpg

Despite the mild winter 70 degree days in March still feel like a respite from the gray months past. This morning I put on a skirt and was greeted by these perennials planted by someone who must have lived in our place last spring.
The forecast for this week brings good news- many more skirt weather days, happy spring!

Introduction

February 18, 2012

Hello, blog universe. I hope to maintain this as a space where I can share my attempts at reskilling myself, creating a home I am proud to live in and challenging myself to reconsider the way I live and its ramifications on the world around me.

What I want to do isn’t new or original. The skills I want to re-learn are ones forgotten by so many generations but which are slowly attempting to sneak back into ours. From sourdough bread baking to preserve making and clothing sewing I want to craft a self-reliant, self-reflective and challenging life. 

I am fortunate to live in a community of compassionate, considerate individuals who live enviable lives. In a community where local vegetables are the norm not the exception and entreprenurial folks are constantly looking for new ways to make this a healthier happier community. 

Our capitalist society has become so focused on the individual, destroying communities’ ability to support themselves. I see reskilling ourselves as the most effective way to challenge the concept of an individual only as a rational, self-serving economic actor. 

Thank you for reading, sharing and partaking.