sourdough

Making Your Own Sourdough

I am in no ways an expert at sourdough! But I have been practicing for about a year now and trying to get better at it and if it’s something you are interested in, you may be interested in this post.

I’ve shared my successes and failures on this blog many times. There have been times when the bread didn’t rise. When it was a weird shape. When it taste great but didn’t look great. When it looked great but didn’t have the right flavor. It was all practice practice practice.

I really like this book and highly recommend it:

How To Make Sourdough: 45 recipes for great-tasting sourdough breads that are good for you, too. by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou

Why I like this book is because it gives step by step instructions WITH PHOTOS. I am a visual person and it helps a lot to see the photos for each step of making the bread–even each step of kneading the bread and rising, etc. Once I started using the sourdough recipe in this book, I got much closer to the right sourdough loaf I was looking for!

The book has a ton of other recipes in there, too. I have tried one of the other recipes in there (the rosemary raisin sourdough) but unfortunately my bread didn’t rise so it didn’t bake properly. It ended up in the trash. Bummer! More practice on that one.

One of the biggest things that helped with making sourdough was weighing the ingredients with a food scale instead of measuring out the ingredients in cup measurements. Weighing the dry ingredients in grams was a game changer.

Also, I suggest using bread flour instead of regular flour. I definitely recommend Bob’s Red Mill! It’s local for us and we have access to their store, which is nice, but you can get it online if you don’t live local. I love their products!

Other than that, the only other thing you need is the proofing basket:

Banneton Proofing Basket – Round

Banneton Proofing Basket – Oval 

A few days before I’m going to make the sourdough, I take some starter out of the fridge and put it on on the counter and “feed” it every day (just a little bit because you don’t need a lot of starter for the recipe).

Then the night before, I make the dough and knead it, then let it rise over night. The next morning, it should double in size. The day I’m going to bake the bread, I knead the loaf again, shape it a bit, and then put it in the floured banneton. This particular time it was slightly deformed on the bottom but no big deal because that will be the bottom of the bread and it will flatten out.

I turn the oven on to 200 degrees then TURN THE OVEN OFF. I cover the banneton/loaf and put it in the oven for 2-6 hours, checking it frequently to see how it’s rising.

Then it’s time to bake! I use a Dutch Oven to bake it. First I put some cornmeal on the bottom of my Dutch Oven. Then I turn the banneton upside down and dump the dough into it. Then I make the slashes on top with a razor blade. I put the the lid on the Dutch Oven and bake it at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes and then check it.

I usually end up baking the bread for a little over 60 minutes.

This particular loaf of sourdough gave me some grief. It didn’t rise as much as it usually does overnight. Not sure why–maybe the dough was too wet? Who even knows. It’s always a mystery as to why sometimes it’s perfect and round and amazing and sometimes it’s a little flatter.

But the bread cooked well and it tasted okay. So that’s always a success.

Dinner was tomato bisque with the sourdough and salad. It was delicious!

QUESTION: Are you a bread baker? Any tips? Favorite bread recipes? Share!

Christmas Eve

I had a nice long weekend–it started with Friday off from work, I went swimming and then met a friend for a pedicure. It was really nice to see her and catch up with her after a few months of us both being swamped with life. The weekend wasn’t awesome, honestly–lots of chores and errands and trying to frantically get ready for Christmas. BUT Christmas Eve was nice!

We got to sleep in a bit and then I took Logan to daycare and went to the gym and then Michael and I went out for breakfast.

I got the special. It was a decadent treat and not something I’d normally order but since I knew I wouldn’t be eating lunch I figured, why not? It was a cheesecake french toast! I got the half order (which was the RIGHT amount) and it was topped with a tart cherry compote. The cheesecake filling to die for. Seriously good. And I also splurged and got the habanero peach mimosa! SPICY!

Then home and Michael started the brisket and I continued the sourdough process (and started the rosemary raisin sourdough I was making for Christmas dinner). My parents were driving down from Seattle to spend Christmas Eve with us. We decided to do a new tradition this year and host. It’s been harder trying to travel and fit everything in on one day with Logan.

My parent arrived after lunchtime (about the time I had the sourdough rising in the banneton basket and laying on the couch watching Die Hard. Then I we went to pick Logan up from daycare. Unfortunately, for some reason, he didn’t nap at daycare. I have no idea why (slightly annoyed by this) so of course he finally fell asleep at like 4:30.

Anyways. Our friends joined us this year for dinner. They brought a delicious kale and spinach salad and homemade fudge! My sourdough turned out fantastic!

And Michael’s brisket was great, too.

And he made his famous mac n’ cheese. It all went perfectly and everyone got seconds. There was still a lot of leftovers so people got to take some home with them.

I got some new holiday napkins at Target and some napkin rings (a black Friday splurge):

And Logan’s holiday placemat was a find from World Market:

Dinner turned out so nice. I was glad everyone was able to come and join us and help celebrate Christmas Eve. Even though hosting is kind a lot of work, it was still nice being able to immediately get in my PJs after everyone left. 🙂

The food turned out great!

Oh and my mom made chocolate brownies from scratch, topped with vanilla ice cream and homemade raspberry sauce. It was so decadent but good!

After dinner and dessert Logan got to open a few presents from our friends. Then bedtime!

Logan fell asleep almost immediately!