Christmas festivites and sourdough
I’m not going to do a huge Christmas-Eats recap as honestly we didn’t put too much emphasis on the food on December 25. Sacrilege!
There was a huge avocado/mango salad…. rice and lettuce wraps (make your own), macadamia and pinto bean dip, tofu, prawn skewers and smoked salmon (for Viper & Misty) and yeah, lots of vodka cocktails.
My favourite thing was these frozen nectarine stars I made (to go in said vodka cocktails) – I just blended up nectarines in the food processor and poured into little silicone moulds. Perfect to pop into cocktails – as they melt they add an awesome fruity hit. Good to eat on their own too. Basically, it was too hot to do much more than laze around (and drink). Perfect. Good thing Misty got a paddling pool from Santa. Viper & myself must have been very bad this year (or we just got lazy and decided to flag pressies).
I’m not a huge bread fan. I don’t like sandwiches, I’d rather just eat the filling bit. The only time I went on a toast-bender was when I was pregnant (and the only thing that didn’t make me want to chuck was tomato on toast). It just doesn’t excite me that much. Viper, on the other hand is bread-obsessed…. we go through a LOT of bread in this house. I quite enjoy the process of bread making, actually – it’s quite fascinating.
Bread making is one instance where you HAVE to stick to the recipe. I have had a LOT of failures, due to rule-straying. I have a bread maker, but I must admit, my best loaves have been the ones I made completely myself – kneading, proving and the likes. The lactic acid fermentation makes sour dough one of the more easily digested and healthful breads out there. This isn’t strictly a traditional sour dough recipe, as it uses additional yeast in the bread making part (it’s not wholly naturally leavened) …. but it is a pretty simple project to undertake, and the final product has a brilliant sour flavour and lovely texture.
I used rye flour in my starter, but you can use plain flour if that suits you better. As starters go, this is quite a simple one to grow/maintain, although it is not vegan. I may try and play around with a vegan version soon – just needed to perfect this one for the bread-monsters I live with first.
Yoghurt-Based Sour Dough Starter:
- 1C plain yoghurt
- 1C rye flour
- 1C water
- 2t yeast granules
- Mix all ingredients together in a large glass jar/container.
- Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm, dark, draught free area for 4-7 days (depending on temperature). It will bubble and go a bit crazy for the first day or so (hence use a LARGE jar/container so it doesn’t over-flow) but will settle down.
- Each day stir with a clean spoon, and give it a sniff – when it smells very sour, it is ready to use (mine took 4 days, and it was on average 26-30 degrees C where I live).
- Pop a lid on, and store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Each time you take out starter to use for bread, replace it with the same amount of flour/water. For example, if you take out 1 & 1/2C starter, stir together 1 & 1/2C flour and around 2C water and stir into the starter. This is food for the starter. Keep the jar out at room temperature for about 12 hours before putting back in the fridge – the starter will bubble up.
- Even if you don’t make bread every week – you MUST take out 1 & 1/2C of the old starter and feed it – either give it away to friends, or just chuck out. Otherwise your starter will starve.
Simple Sough Dough Bread:
- 1 & 1/2C starter
- 2C high grade (baker’s flour) – it could be called “strong” flour or 00 flour too.
- 2t yeast granules
- 1/2t sea salt
- 1T raw sugar
- 2T oil (olive works well)
- 1/2C milk
1. Mix these first ingredients and leave to rest for 15 minutes (if you want a really sour flavour in the bread leave for longer).
- 1C +3T organic plain flour (or more rye flour)
2. Add in additional flour and knead for about 10 minutes on a floured board. The dough should become smooth and silky, and spring back when pressed lightly.
3. Slug a bit of additional oil in a large bowl, and turn the dough through it a few times. Leave to rise for 40 minutes,covered in a warm, dark place.
4. Bake in a hot oven (200 degrees) for around 25-30 minutes, or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Depending on the shape of bread you like, you can bake it in a normal loaf pan, wing it and “free-form” a loaf, or even use a cake pan.
5. Cool on a wire rack.
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas….. What did you get up to? Tempted to try making your own starter for bread?