birthday

Baker Baker

I need some advice! But first, a cute photo of Logan and me cuddling on the couch early Saturday morning:

Over the long weekend I finally got to try my very first loaf of sourdough bread. I’ve never made bread before (except for Sheepherder’s Bread and I think I killed the yeast and it never rose) but it’s been something that both Michael and I have wanted to try doing for years.

My friend gave me some of her sourdough starter probably a month or so ago. I’ve been feeding it every week and it smelled so good and sour. I was really excited to try this. So Saturday morning after the gym I got started on prepping and making the dough because I knew it would be an all day process.

First off, having the Kitchenaid mixer for making bread is AMAZING. I barely had to do any of the kneading.

Second, even though I fed the starter a lot and gave it extra leading up to the weekend, I still didn’t have quite enough for the recipe. So I had to feed the starter more right before. Maybe that changed things? I don’t honestly know.

I followed the instructions of the recipe I used (recommended by my friend). I had found another recipe, too, that I thought sounded good. I think I will try that recipe next time and see how it goes.

EASY SOURDOUGH ARTISAN BREAD RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour (white whole wheat, whole wheat, unbleached, or a combo)
  • 1-1/4 cups water (may need less if your starter is “wetter”- mine is a 100% hydration starter, fed an equal ratio of flour to water)
  • 3/4 cup active sourdough starter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl) just until combined and then let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Using a dough hook, knead for 5 minutes. If making by hand, knead for 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, lightly coated with oil. Cover with plastic and let rise for 3 hours, turning and folding the dough once or twice.
  4. Remove dough, turn and fold again, and place it back in the bowl, seam-side up. Let rise for another 2 hours.
  5. After the second rise, place a square of parchment on a cookie sheet and gently shape the dough into a ball or oval (using lots of flour, as the dough is moist) and set on the parchment. Make sure there’s a good coating of flour on the top, as this will make slicing the top later easier.
  6. Set an enameled, cast iron dutch oven into a cold oven and turn heat to 450 degrees (alternately, you can use a baking stone), and set the timer for 40 minutes.
  7. When the timer goes off, slash the top of the loaf with a serrated knife (in 2-3 places) and transfer it to the hot pot by holding the edges of the parchment (or stone).
  8. Replace the hot lid and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking for another 13-15 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Remove to a wire rack to cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.
  10. NOTES
  11. Slicing tip: if you don’t have a good serrated knife, try using an electric knife to easily slice through crusty artisan bread. I works like a charm and even cuts through warm breads without squishing the crusts like regular knives do.

Notes

From: https://anoregoncottage.com/easy-sourdough-artisan-bread/2/

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=54767

Since this was my first loaf ever, I didn’t have high expectations. I knew it would take practice but I was still a little bummed out it didn’t turn out like it should. I think I should have let it rise longer than the 5 hours the recipe called for. Because the dough didn’t really look like it rose all that much from when I started it…

Next time, I won’t use my dutch oven to bake it, either. One of the options of the recipe was to use a baking/pizza stone. We have one that makes GREAT pizza so I will try that next time.

Overall the bread was OK but not great. It was really dense. It weighed a freakin’ ton. It wasn’t the light, airy sourdough I was expecting. I’m not sure what I need to do differently in the future. I read through some messages boards online and none of them were really clear. It could have been too wet, not wet enough, maybe I didn’t let it rise enough, maybe it had too much gluten in it, maybe not enough…HELPFUL.

So I could definitely use some advice from bread baking experts out there! What did I do wrong? How do I make the bread LIGHT and AIRY?

In other news…on Sunday we went out to lunch for Logan’s BFF’s birthday. I had an AMAZING burger on AMAZING bread. 😀

Lunch was at Hopworks. It’s a great place, good food and it’s very kid-friendly, which is nice. We were in a back room for kids so that was good, too.

Seriously, look at that bun! It was SO GOOD. I wish I could make bread like that. My burger had swiss cheese, toasted hazelnuts, caramelized onions, arugula and lemon aioli on it. It was to die for. One of the best burgers I’ve had in a long time.

The above photo was the toys at the restaurant in the kid’s area. (Great idea!) Logan had cheese pizza with apple slices on the side (decent pizza, too).

QUESTION: Master bakers, HELP ME!

Hoppy Birthday

On Saturday night we had Michael’s mom and stepdad over for her birthday dinner. I opened a bottle of the Stoller Chardonnay and I prepped a little bit of the veggies while Michael prepped the chicken.

I found this recipe.

Garlicky Greek Chicken

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus, ends removed
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 1 lemon, sliced

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano. Whisk until combined then add chicken thighs and toss to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  2. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat oven to 425°. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining tablespoon olive oil. Season both sides of marinated chicken with salt and pepper, then add chicken skin-side down and pour in the remaining marinade.
  3. Sear until the skin becomes golden and crispy, about 10 minutes. Flip chicken and add asparagus, zucchini and lemons to the skillet.
  4. Transfer pan to oven and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=54632

The recipe needed a little tweaking, which we figured out after the fact. But I think it’s a good idea. The execution was just a little off.

What attracted me to the recipe was that it sounded refreshing and good for a spring dinner. The asparagus was great and I loved the zucchini in it, too.

Michael marinated the chicken thighs in the lemon juice/garlic/herb mix. Then he cooked the thighs in the skillet, then put everything in the Dutch Oven and baked it. I still don’t understand how this recipe was “Greek”??

The flavors were all great. But like I said at the start, the recipe needs to be changed. First, we’d cook the chicken entirely in the skillet (like usually do). Doing it in the skillet then the oven made the skin not crispy–which is the best part. The veggies were good in the oven, but the cook time in the recipe for the oven portion was not correct, either. We had to bake it longer. So next time, all skillet!

Dessert was Baskin Robbins ice cream! Yum.

On Sunday I went swimming and took care of some stuff around the house and then Michael and I got to have a little afternoon date. A friend had offered to babysit for us and we finally were able to take her up on it!

We got pedicures first. It was nice to just relax back in the massage chair and be pampered. Michael commented that he didn’t understand why more men didn’t do this because it’s a luxurious, relaxing experience. I laughed and said I know. It’s not really about getting your nails done! 😉

Then we went to happy hour for dinner at Hop Jacks in Happy Valley.

We’d never been before but I’ve seen it a million times on our way home from Mount Hood and was curious. They bragged about the coldest beer in town. Michael got a Long Island Iced Tea (what?!?) because he hadn’t had one in years. (I think it’s been at least 15 years for me.) and I got a Boneyard RPM and yes–it was very cold!

We got some nachos and queso for dinner. It was pretty good! The place felt kinda like a Red Robin I guess? We got there about 4:30 and it wasn’t very crowded but by the time we left an hour later it was packed with a line out the door. They have happy hour every day from 4-6.

It was a nice way to unwind after a busy weekend!