Friday, November 15, 2013

Another very nice day

Friday is a day we cut a lot of slack with, giving it a bit more credit than it really deserves. It seems nicer if only because we know we can sleep in later tomorrow, or not depending on what our plans may be. Which is nice.

Everyday is a Saturday for me. Sorry.

As always, I mount up expeditions into the unknown… In the past couple of weeks, I have tried to begin a journey into sourdough baking beginning with starter and other recipes.

I love the bread that is primarily thought of as the San Francisco treat. Who hasn't dreamed of keeping a pot of starter hidden in the dark places of the kitchen,  ready for a fast mix-up into a tasty loaf of sourdough bread? Just reading stories of Old California, the Forty-niners (Not the Football Team) living in a small shack, panning for gold by day, while some character going by the name of "Cookie" or "Old Sourdough" bakes up warm sour bread to take the chill out of the prospector's bones. Sounds good, right?

Using the trusty internet, I googled starter and found this site. I followed closely, the directions therein and made starter in an old Ball jar that had originally been used by the Spousal Unit's Grandmother. The jar is green, for goodness sakes, so you know this is gonna be authentic! With all the great foods processed in this jar over the past 75 years, I'm hoping the Grandmother's  legacy will bear continued goodness for our benefit. (Thanks, Viola Miller!)

This is the starter after a couple weeks of feeding and nurturing. The color is more of a light tan which the camera misses.

The first afternoon, the starter grew like a jarred monster, doubling its size in a couple hours. I had to pour out half just to keep it contained in the quart jar! I placed the excess starter in a bowl and kept feeding both as planned. (Feeding consists of 1/3 cups of warm water, flour and a large pinch of sugar for fuel) Ten days later I made two loaves of sourdough recipe bread using the bowl starter first. The bread came out cake-like and just generally sucked, so I fed them both to the birds.  My style of cooking always requires me to plan for tossing the first anything I make. For example; the First Pancake shall always be tossed in the trash. It's the rules… So shall it be with bread.

The Real starter which lives today in a green antique jar!

Yesterday, I felt that the time was right to really try out the recipe. The starter culture has had a couple of weeks to sour up and I was planning on rib-eye steak for our evening meal. Fresh bread would be a nice garnish and the added benefit would be that She Who Will Be Obeyed would think I was an all-around good fella for going the extra hundred feet to make her happy.

Following the recipe, I used the big electric mixer to combine 1.5 cups of sourdough starter, yeast, warm milk (105 degrees F!) and five cups of flour into a ball of dough which I kneaded for the prescribed ten minutes. I then let dough rise in the oven with light on for warmth. About 1700, I placed two loaves into 350 degrees of convection powered heat. Thirty minutes later, two golden colored loaves of bread were ready, just as She Herself walked in.

"Smells great in here!" was her hello. (ah yes!) "What's for my dining delight this evening?"

"Grilled steak," said I. Would you like a glass of Pinot Noir?"

She likes me! ;)

After dinner, the bread looked like this.
The bread was actually bread-like! It is a very pleasant tasting bread especially with softened butter. Unfortunately, it is not sourdough, darn it. But we will take the good deal because fresh bread is always a tasty treat, even if it tastes of warm yeast. Yum!

The Sourdough starter has a name now, since it is a living thing in our kitchen; 

Seymour. (Feed me, Seymour!) 

Like a child, we have great hopes for it but today it disappoints. Maybe next time, hmm?

The weather has cooled and short pants have been replaced by long. The temps are still in the 70's in the afternoon, but there is a chill at night.

Here is a depiction of our cats which hangs in the living room;

I love this bit of art! So real...

We have three of Them, whom we serve. But the watercolor shows six. Three seems like six when you are trying to sleep at night. The Cats are in full winter mode right now,  which means they reside mostly on the bed in a pile trying to keep warm on a couple of clean towels.

So, back to Friday; I like Fridays, even if it is a day like others. I will be cleaning the hut this morning and we will  do the club thing, later.

Have a nice day and weekend! 

I have been cleaning about the hut and had the Tube of Ewe going. Here is the coolest video with Jerry Jeff and his buddy from 23 years ago;

 Great back story to the song. Please to continue with your fine day!


MR T's Haircut said...

Aye, the smell of the sea and fresh bread!

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Yep. Approaching the back end of the ship (SH2F & SH60B) for a landing… There would be a mixture of notable smells; Stack gases, raw fuel, lunch, seawater and the sweet essence of bread baking.

Buck said...

Who hasn't dreamed of keeping a pot of starter hidden in the dark places of the kitchen...

:: raises his hand, hesitantly ::

That would be ME. Cooking is art, baking is science. I can't bake a gotdamned thing, with the possible exception of potatoes.

Still and even, I do loves me some sourdough. One of the best things about living in SFO is you KNEW you'd always get excellent bread with your meal when dining out. I miss that.

MR T's Haircut said...

and the peculiar aroma of .. "Ass and feet"!