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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!

No Green Beer

Did you had a good St. Patty’s Day? We had a pretty good day.

I’d been sick all week off and on, with what I thought was food poisoning (came home sick on Thursday) but it lasted too long to be food poisoning. I called the advice nurse and she said that there was a stomach bug going around. Lucky me! But by Saturday night I was feeling a lot better.

We decided to go out to an early dinner at Tabor Tavern on SE Burnside. I’d never been but Michael found some good reviews online and we were both craving burgers. And they said they were kid friendly!

There were a ton of families with little kids there. That was a good sign!

We arrived at 5:15 (PARTY ANIMALS) and the place was packed! We thought we were being smart by getting there early. Oh well. I guess other people had the same idea–avoid the St. Patty’s Day crowd!

I was happy to see they have my favorite beer on tap! Always a good sign. And NO GREEN BEER!!

We got the Brussels Sprouts appetizer. It had bacon and lemon zest on it. It was delicious!! Logan had a few bites. He does not like Brussels sprouts but he loved the bacon. 😉

We saw a couple at the table next us who had a kid a few years older than Logan. They were SMART–they ordered the kids mac n’ cheese plate first and asked that it come out right away to keep their kid occupied while they waited for their entrees. Pro Move. We took note for next time!

These days Logan lives on mac n’ cheese, grilled cheese and bananas so we ordered him the kids fish n’chips for something different. He had a few bites of the fish but wasn’t a fan. He ate a ton of fries and the peas, so that’s good.

I got the classic burger that had onions, pickles and Russian Dressing and cheese. Michael got the Bleu Cheese burger. I got salad with mine. The burger was tasty but not memorable. Michael agreed. I’d definitely go back, though. It was a cool vibe, the rest of the food was really good (and I had the fish for lunch the next day and it was good!).

On Sunday, I went swimming and did the usual stuff around the house. Then the weather was nice enough after grocery shopping we all went for a walk. Lots of signs of spring! Thank goodness!

For dinner Sunday night, I tried making spaghetti squash in the pressure cooker. I found this recipe and gave it a try.

While the spaghetti squash was cooking, I simmered some sauce with meatballs.

The verdict? Amazing. Game changer. The spaghetti squash was cooked in 8 minutes and it was PERFECT. It shredded into spaghetti noodles like NOTHING. We were both in awe and decided we could have spaghetti squash once a week now because it was SO fast and easy!

Perfect perfect perfect spaghetti squash! Winner!

QUESTION: What did you do for St. Patty’s Day?