Saturday, March 21, 2015

Levain Cool-Raised Sourdough Bread

Well this week for my sourdough baking I decided to pull out a recipe I haven't used for a while - one that has a slow, cool raise just from the levain in the sourdough starter.  I must note though, if you are going to try this recipe you are going to need a very active sourdough starter.  I found the best one that works for me is the San Francisco Sourdough starter from Cultures for Health.  I made it a whole wheat starter by adding freshly ground hard whole wheat to it when I started it instead of following the directions to just add white flour and it has been my sourdough workhorse ever since.

Here is what you will need to make this recipe:
2.5 cups freshly fed THICK levain (see instructions below)
3 cups cool water
7.5 cups hard whole wheat flour, freshly ground
1 Tablespoon salt

To prep the Thick levain, the night before you make this bread take your starter out and dump 3/4 cup of starter into a bowl with 2 cups of hard whole wheat flour plus 1 cup cool water (this is additional flour and water to that which will be added on later in the recipe) .  Cover this mixture and let the levain grow overnight.

Evening mix - solid mass
Morning transformation - light and fluffy

In the morning, mix together the rest of the ingredients, as much as you can by hand and then knead in the rest of the flour.  You will find this process much easier if you use a mixer with bread kneading attachment/paddle since the dough is very sticky and you will have a tendency to put too much flour into the recipe if kneading by hand.  Knead by machine for 10 minutes - 20 minutes by hand.

Cover the dough with flour, cover it in a bowl, and allow it to raise for 3 hours in a cool place.

Gently cut the dough into 4 pieces, barely handling it, and put rounds onto 4 parchment sheets.

Let these rounds raise again for about 2.5 hours.

Slash loaves while preheating oven to 450F. Bake at 450F for 15 minutes and then bake another 30 minutes at 400F.

Remove and enjoy!

Lemon-Lime Bars

I made this recipe for my birthday last week since I rarely will ever make a dessert for myself and decided that my birthday was the perfect occasions to give myself a little treat.

Here is what you will need to make this recipe:
An 8x8 metal baking pan
1 cup soft whole wheat flour, freshly milled
1/4 cup cane juice crystals (or other low refined, organic sugar)
8 Tablespoons butter, cubed
1/16 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup cane juice crystals
2 Tablespoons soft whole wheat flour, freshly milled
Juice of 1 lemon
Grating of 1 lime rind
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Organic powdered sugar for dusting

Start out by mixing 1 cup flour with the 1/4 cup sugar and butter.  Mix until crumbly.

Next press the mixture into the metal pan and sprinkle the salt onto the pressed dough.

Bake at 350F for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove from oven and put in the refrigerator while you prep the filling.

Whisk the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl...

...and then pour over top of the cooled crust.

Bake again at 350F for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature, then dust with powdered sugar and put in the refrigerator.  (Hint:  These taste best if you can completely cool them for a good 4 hours...that is if you can leave them alone that long.)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Southwestern Veggie Frittata

All alone, or an accompaniment to a main dish, this frittata is an easy and healthy go-to food.  This evening we used it as a side dish to some sweet and spicy grilled pork chops and homemade pita bread.  My husband actually stuffed the pita with the frittata and I have to say they tasted really good together.

Here is what you will need to make this recipe: (all organic ingredients)
Cold-pressed olive oil
Large red pepper, chopped
Half yellow onion, chopped
Jalapeno, chopped
1/4 cup leek, chopped
4 large eggs
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup feta, crumbled (I will be posting my feta recipe soon)
1 teaspoon Real salt
1 teaspoon chili powder

Add some olive oil to a skillet, over medium heat, and then add the pepper, leek, and onions and saute until all the vegetables are tender.

Add the seasoning (salt, chili power, and cilantro).

Then pour the whisked eggs over the top of the cooked mixture.

Cover for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the eggs are fully cooked.

Add the feta on top and cover again until it starts to melt.

Serve warm.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Soaked Oatmeal Sourdough Rolls

Wednesday has officially become my baking day since once a week I need to feed my sourdough starter.  I figured a few months ago that planning a baking day once a week is the best way for me to remember to feed my starter...and it keeps my refrigerator stocked with bread to boot!  So far it has worked well. 

Here is a recipe I came up with a few weeks ago when I was researching some different ways to bake a more moist bread.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family.

Ingredients to make 24 - 26 rolls:
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup kefir or yogurt (with active cultures)
2 cups sourdough starter (recently fed or fed at time of recipe start)
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
4 - 6 cups hard whole wheat flour (freshly ground)

The night before you are going to bake bread, pour the water over the oats and then mix in the kefir/yogurt.

At the same time, take out your recently fed sourdough starter.  Put both on the counter, cover, and let sit until morning.

The next morning, combine the soaked oats, sourdough starter, butter, honey, salt, yeast, wheat gluten, and 4 cups of flour.

Finally knead in just enough of the remaining flour so that the dough is not too sticky.  (Note:  It is much easier to add less flour when kneading with a machine, so be careful if you are attempting this by hand.)

Put dough into an oiled bowl (I use coconut oil).  Cover, and then put in a warm place.  (Hint:  Heat your oven to 175 degrees and then turn it off.  This will produce the perfect temperature for your bread to rise in.)  

When the dough is risen to double, shape into rolls and put the rolls on two separate baking sheets.

Let dough rise again.

Then bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.