Sunday, February 25, 2007

sourdough returns

I've been feeding my sourdough starter since sometime late December/early January. I had leftover buttermilk which I started to make grandma's bread with, then ended up with starter.

I baked and brought my first sourdough loaf to June Lake for Zach's birthday trip. It was pretty good, here's the test batch recipe.

My First Sourdough Loaf

1 lb. bread flour
1/2 cup starter
1 tbsp. sugar
3/4-1 cup water
1 tsp salt

  1. Combine all but salt in mixer bowl with dough hook. Knead for 2 minutes on low.
  2. Add salt, and mix for 3 minutes on low.
  3. Turn in oiled bowl, wrap in plastic wrap and leave in warm place to rise overnight (or 4 hours).
  4. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.


  • nice sourdough tang
  • springy, soft loaf
  • small but even, springy/chewy crumb
  • Baked through (not damp)


  • Crust didn't brown
  • Heavy/dense loaf (could be more springy)
So I was reading on this nice sourdough-related web site ( to try some different proportions for different loaves. Here are some tips:

To obtain large crumb:

  • Lower amount of yeast
  • Longer fermentation/rise time

OK, so this time I will try:

  1. 100% flour (16oz aka 1 lb. by weight)
  2. 30% of flour weight starter (5oz by weight)
  3. 1.8% of flour weight salt (0.28oz salt)
  4. Enough water (to keep dough soft)
  5. 1 tbsp. sugar

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

slow cooking smells

The whole house smells like fejoida.

Soaked 2 pounds of black beans starting last night. Started cooking when I got home. Here was the process.

1. Drain down liquid covering beans until about 1/2 inch over beans (reserve at least 1 cup of bean liquid). Put on medium heat.
2. Cut up 2lb. pork clod into 1" cubes. Season with salt n pepper.
3. In a large pot with olive oil, sear pork pieces on each side for 2 minutes.
4. Add pork to beans, along with 2 bay leaves.
5. In same pot, add bacon chopped into 1" pieces.
6. Once bacon is getting a bit crispy, season beef stew pieces (about 1-1.5 lb) and sear in same pot like pork. Remove meat and add to beans, leaving grease in pot.
7. Chop up 3-4 medium onions. Add to pot and saute for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Add rough chopped garlic, as much as you like, stir for 30 seconds. Add some cumin, red pepper flakes and paprika, and stir for 30 seconds. Add wine or sherry to deglaze pan.
8. Add onions to beans, stir to combine.
9. Bring beans to a simmer, and reduce heat to low to maintain a slow simmer.
10. Fill 1/2 in. water in a pan (or use the same "meat pot" from previous).
11. Place water over high heat, and add chorizo (in natural casing, from your butcher).
12. Bring water to a simmer, and simmer chorizo 10 minutes, flip, and simmer 10 more minutes (20 min total)
13. Cut chorizo into 1/2" rounds, and add to beans. Stir to combine.
14. Cover beans and let simmer for at least 3 hours.
15. Serve with rice, couve (collard greens sauteed with garlic), slices of orange, and maybe some caipirinha!

What else? While this was cooking, I threw together a portabello mushroom risotto in my cast iron pan in less than 20 min! Super easy, I have to remember how easy risotto is! My first time cooking with portabellos, very meaty & delicious.