Covid-19 Baking (1)
Facebook is full of reports from people learning new things during this time of sequestration. A handful of people that I know have discovered sourdough and have been baking up a storm. I'm not talking about the Amish Friendship Bread that came in a ziplock bag and was very popular during the 80s. I had one of those for quite some time, sharing starter with friends until they began to glance out the door and disappear when they saw me approaching. When we finally gave up on it, my daughter asked why and I told her, "It was just another mouth to feed." She thought that was hilarious. Actually, she still does. But I digress.
I'm talking about real bread. Real sourdough bread. Not a sweet coffee-cake sort of bread. You know what I mean. My friend Kathy mentioned on a Zoom the other night that she and her household were about sour-doughed out and she was ready for something else. Since I had yet to buy into this current craze, I asked if she might share some starter. Of course she would, and she, the starter, the recipe and instructions all showed up six feet or more from my front door the next day.
The accompanying instructions alleged that this particular starter had originated in 1847 on the Oregon Trail and had been passed down ever since. No pressure. None whatsoever.
I fed and nurtured the starter. I spoke gently to it. I praised it. I was hopeful. Today was the day. It took most of the day and made a colossal mess more than once. But I persevered. The recipe called for 3C flour, 1C warm water, 2C well-fed starter, and 1-1/2 tsp
Kosher sea salt. What a sticky, liquid mess it made! It gunked up the KitchenAid, spreading into the whatchamacallit the holds the paddle in place. It really gunked up a towel. It had its good qualities, too. It rose obediently. It smelled enticing.
Finally, by dinner time, it was done and cooled. The picture above is from the guy who originated the recipe (how he's still here and posting on the internet after traversing the Oregon Trail is beyond me). He has a nice website with lots of pictures.
Well, I didn't get a boule. Rather, I got a frisbee. I investigated other recipes on the internet; they seemed to have a much higher flour-to-liquid ratio. I'm not giving up. Our frisbee bread may be on the squatty side but it tastes terrific. My other friend Kristina is raving on her FB page about a sourdough coffeecake. It should take about a week to feed 1847 enough to try that. Stay tuned.