Monday, August 14, 2006

sourdough basics

Our pet has been laying around the house all full and content, and on the counter. Must mean its time to put it to work making a loaf or two. This morning I started out by adding 2/3 cup starter, 1 cup water and a pinch of sugar and let that sit, while the monkey and I hopped around the house like froggies and even did a little dinky-donking (I'm still working on the exact definition on this one, each time my daughter says it it involves a slightly different activity akin to riding an imaginative horsey.) We took a break from the play, washed our paws and added 2 cups bread flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt.

If you are lucky enough to find yourself at home with a toddler, I recommend that you involve them in your cooking as time permits. It allows for great bonding, makes a fantastic mess, and gives your child a valuable sense of where good food actually comes from. H and I also are hoping that building good kitchen skills in our children will raise the chances for fresh griddled pancakes in bed by the time our daughter is 4. Call me a dreamer but my monkey can already help mix up most soft doughs, scramble eggs, and flip pancakes. At 2 years 9 months old she could probably tell a stranger the ingredients and amounts needed to make chocolate chip cookies. I like my pancakes with fresh bananas in them and maple syrup on them, and if not by 4 years old, then by 5 for sure.

We put the smooth dough into a large lighly oiled green dish thingy. Its one of the nicest pieces we have and I think the sourdough somehow appreciates it. Our new mortar and pestle from Barb can be seen in the background, as well as some leftover sourdough adventure and a Reedley Peach turnover from Aunty. If there is anyone out there who has received peaches through us from the family "Farm" they know that these are as good as it gets for freshness and flavor and simply cannot be matched in a store. Anyway, I could write a book about the fresh produce we get from Grandma and Grandpa, so it just might be easier to talk more as another batch of fresh ingredients comes our way.

We put the cover on the dough and placed it in our ancient wedgewood where the pilot light will keep it a nice 80 degrees or so for a nice rise. We will look at it in a few hours, punch it down maybe, let it rise again, only to be punched down again (the dough likes the abuse.) We'll shape it, put it on a pan, and give it a slash or two with a lame before putting in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes. If time allows and the monkey takes a nap this afternoon, maybe I'll include a photo of todays project.

In just about any other part of our country you might think that it would be appropriate to put dough out on the counter for the nice summery ambient temperatures. Well, I live in Oakland, and at 11 am when the dough was placed it was a foggy 61 outside. It will take until noon to see the sun and our daytime high might reach 68 today, so our dough will spend most of its rising time in the oven before it is heated.

I woke up this morning thinking of this loaf from a few months back (March I guess, around the time Kristin gave us some of her "pet.") We omitted the olives today, and it will be a free form loaf, baked on a perforated pizza sheet, but it hails from the same starter. Since some has lived at our house we have made bread, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, focaccia, dinner rolls, pancakes, and english muffins to name a few things. But I believe this to be the first picture of a sourdough creation in our house.

No comments: