Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sourdough... the starter of a new relationship

... did you see what i did there?... i'm hilarious!... starter indeed!

In Part 1 of what I like to call 'food what we ate in California' I thought i'd start with a sourdough loaf.  I'm a bit dumb and keep referring to it as soda bread but this is a bread quite far from soda bread... in fact we all have to go on a little journey to make this loaf... don't panic, it's SUPER easy, it just takes a little time and love...

in basic terms you need to make a starter, which lives, like a living creature, in your fridge... for ever.  It is your fridge pet and I am told that if you treat it well, it will provide you with sourdough everyday... for ever... a little creepy... but I do believe that even though it's alive it's not going to turn into a giant amorphous blob and eat you whilst you sleep... I mean, for a start, how's it going to open the fridge from the inside...?

... let us rewind one moment to Boudin's Sourdough bakery on Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco where we sampled some fabulous, if not quirky sourdough... they've been baking since 1849 with the original 'mother dough' kept in a safe...

... let us begin... i'm going to do this step by step, so we can all feed the starter together, in real time...

... and all we need to do in stage one is add one cup of warm water to one cup of strong white bread flour, place it in a wide mouthed glass jar, cover loosely with a lid so the air can still get in, (one of those rubber-necked jars is good) put it in a warm place and leave it to work its magic for 24 hours... no yeast should be needed... you make this with 'air-yeast'... but you can add a little yeast if you feel the urge (although sourdough purists will turn their noses up at you.)

... this recipe is also excellent because it gives me an excuse to use my fabulous new Matryoshka Dolls measuring cups!... are these not the MOST genius things for the kitchen you ever did see?  i picked them up a quant little shop in Cambria on our road trip and i've been dying to show them to you and use them in a recipe... these totally fulfill my design/work ethic of fierce design and absolute functionality... i needed some measuring cups... they look fabulous... I bought them... no better algebra!

... for those of you who may not be able to keep up with the daily blog... stage 2 tomorrow involves throwing half the starter away and adding half a cup of fresh flour and half a cup of warm water... you continue to feed it this way every 24 hours until it begins to bubble and smell like beer... this can take up to a week or as little time as 3 days... and then your starter is done.  Again... I am told the culture you are growing here is next to impossible to kill, other than baking it... the only thing that may appear odd is an occasional brown liquid which settles on the top... this can simply be stirred back into the mix.

At this point you transfer it to the fridge and continue to feed it only once a week... and of course we can also start to cook with it... but let's not get ahead of ourselves shall we?

... see you tomorrow for the first feed.



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