Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sourdough Success!

Yesterday I baked my first loaf of sourdough bread from my own homemade starter! Sweet success! (or should I say "sour"?) I really couldn't believe that it worked but work it did.

My earlier post on this subject showed the original starter recipe. From that I fed the starter every day with 1/2 cup warm water and 1/2 cup flour. I used various types of flour that I have in the pantry (always wheat flour). I figured in the end that it wasn't going to work so I just ran warm tap water instead of the bottled water I began with. One day I decided to add a 1/4 teaspoon of cider vinegar. Another day I may have added 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. But I think it worked because as one article I read stated "people who didn't believe the Earth was round did this for millenia. Do check out the hyper-linked article above - the author really made this whole process seem doable instead of insurmountable like in this article. Both provide a wealth of information.

The best news of all is that both Mike and kids actually like the taste of the bread. Luke says it tastes "lemony" and Mike had extras at supper last night. So over all it is a hit and I have more starter in the fridge!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 7/20/09

Is it July? I mean, really, it has been exceptionally cool. It is weird. But on the total upside, we've gotten to go for some family bike rides in the evenings, checking out and exploring some local trails and parks. I've also been more prone to take the kids to the park. But it is July, despite the lack of heat and that means that it is Mike's birthday this week! I'll be making him a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. From a box. Yes, from a box. My guilt will be overcome by the sourdough bread that I'm making from my own wild yeast and the blueberry jam that I'm planning to put up this week.

Without further ramblings:

Monday: Italian Beef Roast (crockpot), roasted baby potatoes & dilled carrots
Tuesday: General Tso's Chicken with Rice & Green Salad
Wednesday: Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches & Chips (with meat leftover from Monday)
Thursday: Manicotti Alla Romana & Green Salad (Mike's birthday choice)
Friday: May or may not be at home....?
Saturday: Date Night (and I'm not talking figs)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sourdough Exploration...

So I have this friend who is doing all this reading on artisan breads. So I decided to do some reading too. :) An online search produced masses of recipes and information. From everyone I've talked to, making your own sourdough starter outside of using packaged yeast (i.e. capturing wild yeast), is a difficult and elusive thing to do. So I figured, let's give it a try! lol

I'm likening the process to a fermentation process. And right now, in my basement, I am currently fermenting the cabbage from my garden to make sauerkraut. So why not try it upstairs on the counter and make a sourdough starter? The cabbage is fermenting so I must have wild yeast beasties running a muck in my house, right? (notice how I keep seeking your affirmation as I'm typing this).

After reading a short on-line sourdough starter recipe, I cut it in half and mixed together in a toss-able plastic container:

1 cup King Arthur Whole Wheat flour
1 cup water (I used bottle spring - figured the chlorine would probably hinder the yeast growth)
1 Tbl Sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Then I sat it on the counter and covered it lightly with the container's lid. I thought, "I'm crazy" and walked away. Last night I saw that water had separated and was floating on top. I left it alone. This morning, their is no liquid floating on top but but there are bubbles in the mixture. Could this be the beginning of the fermentation? I think so! I'm pretty pumped over the whole thing and I'll (hopefully) keep you updated.

Menu Plan Monday 7/13/09

Well, I never did get to posting the chicken & squash bake. But I do have a good excuse - I'm potty-training our youngest! That really is a full time job in and of itself. But I did have time to menu plan! Here's what we had and are going to have..

Monday: Cabbage Rolls & Mashed Potatoes
Tuesday: Apricot Pork Chops, Rice & Salad
Wednesday: Crockpot Whole Chickens, Risotto, & Peas
Thursday: Cheesy Ham & Potato Casserole with Mixed Veggies
Friday: Chicken Taco Salad
Saturday: Pizza Margherita (come on tomatoes - ripen!)

Pizza Margherita is simply where I take homemade pizza dough and slather it in it's round shape with olive oil. Then I sprinkle Italian seasoning and garlic powder on it. The toppings are sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, & mozzarella cheese (I've used both fresh and the "regular" kind). I usually add some parmesan cheese too. It is very tasty and cheap! Especially when you have tomatoes & basil growing in your garden. :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 7/6/09

We are just back from vacation. Time to get back to reality! We had lots of fun and it was so nice not to have to cook every night. But in the end, I really do like to cook. Most days this week will be pretty easy. Here's the menu!

Monday: Hot Dogs, Homemade Baked Beans (pressure cooker), Green Salad
Tuesday: Chicken Tortilla Soup (we've got Anaheim peppers in the garden!)
Wednesday: Fish Tacos, Fiesta Corn on the Cob, Watermelon
Thursday: Italian Chicken & Squash Bake with Garlic Bread
Friday: Cheeseburgers, Chips & Fruit Salad

I've got an idea for the fiesta corn - not sure how it will turn out. Hopefully it'll be a winner! I'll post the Italian Chicken & Squash Bake later in the week (my summer squash is no where near being ready but my friend Horn Herd Mom was so nice as to give me some!). I've also got an idea floating around in my head for the garlic bread. I'm going to go more for an artisan style bread.