covid-19

The Perfect Sourdough

I started seeing a lot of people get into bread baking during the pandemic. Which was kinda cool. I definitely think it’s a fun hobby to have. It’s sometimes a hard hobby because it’s time consuming, sometimes a loaf of bread takes several days and you never know if it’s going to turn out…and then you’ve just wasted two days on a loaf of bread. (Which happened to me recently.)

This is the book I use:

I’ve posted it before. I love the book because it’s simple, easy to follow, beautiful and has step-by-step photo instructions for making bread. It’s perfect for beginners. And then there’s a bunch of other recipes in there, some more advanced. I highly recommend this book!

I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes I’ve looked for online. I don’t like most of them. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw the loaf I threw in the garbage recently! It’s always a bummer to spend that much time and effort and have the bread not turn out.

So I usually go back to the tried and true recipe from this book. Here is the measurements for the recipe (from the book):

600 grams bread flour

12 grams salt

30 grams sourdough starter

360 grams warm water (I used bottled water)

This week I made the PERFECT LOAF. Like seriously, one of the best I’ve ever made. And I wanted to share because I kind of experimented based on the above measurements.

This time I used 600 grams of flour BUT I used 25% whole wheat and the rest was white bread flour. That ratio turned out really great!

Plus, I added chopped kalamata olives and rosemary from my garden. Not a lot of either.

I got a good rise overnight (dough doubled–which is good, sometimes the house is too cold and we don’t get a great rise).

I followed the book’s instructions (preheat oven to 500 degrees, then turn it down to 425). I baked the loaf in my dutch oven for 35 minutes with the LID ON, then 25 minutes with the lid OFF and that seemed liked the perfect balance. (The book instructions are 30-40 minutes with the lid on and 10 or so with it off.)

I let it cool for a few hours. Then I had a slice. It was PERFECT:

Perfect bake, no gummy parts, no overcooked parts, air pockets, chewy, good crust without being too hard, the flavor was PERFECTLY sour with the delectable salty kalamata flavor and then once in awhile I’d get a bite of rosemary flavor. I think in the future I’d try the kalamata olives with maybe garlic cloves instead of rosemary but overall it was very, very good! I am super happy with how it turned out and I think I have my new recipe down!

Let me know if you are doing sourdough and how it’s going! πŸ™‚

Day 57, or something?

Last week felt like a rough week, mentally. I think we were all struggling. And so many friends were, too. It was week 7 (I think??) of being home. I think, for me, it was starting to wear on me. The constant togetherness. The uncertainty of when things will open up again. The fear of things opening up too soon. The sad news from Georgia. The frustrating politics. The seeming disregard for public health and safety with the protests…

Friday I decided to take a half day off from work. I had a holiday day I needed to use some time from and the weather was nice. I needed a mental break.

So I worked for a few hours in the morning and then went for a bike ride by myself. It was 80 degrees here in Portland, sunny and beautiful. It was also windy, which was unfortunate on the bike! But I still enjoyed it!

I did part of the 205 bike trail and then the trail ended and I did some of the highway out towards Mount Hood (not ideal) and then picked up the trail again and did a loop on bike trails back home.

Despite the beautiful day, I didn’t see a lot of people out! Just a few other bikers. It was such a nice break. I felt really good on the bike, too. Going out for small rides once a week since this started has really helped. I didn’t have low back fatigue or shoulder/neck pain like I have had before, so that means I am getting back to conditioning!

The ride was hilly at times. And I was getting hungry and thirsty (I only brought 1 water bottle, next time I’ll bring more) so I didn’t end up doing 15 miles like I wanted to.

I’m still happy with my ride! I got home and then took a bath in the jacuzzi tub with some sparkling water, relaxing and decompressing, then Logan woke up from his nap and we went out to Lake Oswego for a nature walk as a family. It was a nice little afternoon.

(Not sure if I mentioned that Logan got a quarantine haircut a few weeks ago…that did not go well. So Michael had to fix it. LOL)

It felt silly to take a “vacation day” when we are in quarantine and can’t go anywhere but in the end it turned out to be just what I needed. A mental break, a break from responsibilities, some alone time, some sunshine…