Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sourdough Adventures

I'm not sure along the way why the last few posts have turned into food sessions, but since it is fall, and fall involves produce, canning, and putting up for the winter... I suppose you'll understand why all the press is about food these days.

Recently, I embarked on a new adventure altogether for me.  I was given a free starter of sourdough, and I just had to pay for shipping costs to me.  I received this free starter from a company called Cultured For Health, and you can go to their website if you would like to know more about them.

Upon receiving my sourdough starter, I had no idea what an adventure/challenge this would turn into!

I ordered the whole wheat sourdough culture because I always use whole wheat to cook with, and thought this would be best for our family.

The culture came in a little packet and all I had to do was add a small amount of water and flour to the culture every 12 hours.

They advised that the culture be kept in a warm place, so I placed it in a south facing window.  One thing that I did not count upon was just how much flour it would take to get the culture going, and how much WASTE there would be as well.  Because every 12 hours 1/2 cup water and 1 cup of flour needed to be added to 1/2 cup starter, and the rest of the mix discarded. As you can see... I just couldn't throw the extra starter away, and thought I would save it too in another jar.  I had done some research, and found some recipes for the discarded starter portions, so I began to save the discarded starter for a big batch of pancakes.

You may be wondering why the jars are covered with coffee filters.  Because sourdough produces gases that need to escape as the yeast are activated by the water and begin to eat the flour, with gas being produced, the lid covering the starter must allow gas to escape, hence the coffee filters.

Here is the sourdough starter after about 4-5 days of adding 1/2 cup water and 1 cup flour morning and night.  It has finally begun to bubble, and when you take the lid off the jar, a wonderful yeasty aroma floats out.

So my first project with the sourdough starter was to make Banana Chocolate Chip Sourdough Muffins. These turned out really yummy!

My sourdough starter continued to grow, and I continued to wonder... WHAT am I going to do with all this starter? I mean... how much bread can a family of four consume?

That is when I went back and read the directions again, and realized that once the starter had bubbled, it could now safely be stored in the refrigerator without the need to "feed" it twice daily, but when stored in the refrigerator, needs to only be fed once a week.  Well, that was a relief to finally get my starter to the point where I wasn't having to "throw" most of it away, plus add another 1 cup of flour to the mix! (I began to keep the discarded portions to make pancakes with...)

So my next project to make with the sourdough starter was to make some bread.  The directions on the recipe I was using mentioned nothing about not using a metal bowl... but later on I have read that metal and sourdough don't do well together, and a metal bowl or spoon should never been used when making sourdough - oops! But... even though I used a metal bowl, spatula, and a spoon several times, I didn't have disastrous results with the bread - thankfully!

The directions in the recipe I used said to knead the sourdough until a piece of dough held in your hands, and stretched would hold together and allow light to shine through when it was ready to be put into the pan to rise.

Because I was taking the picture, I could not hold the dough with both hands, but the dough had thickened to a consistency where it would hold together and allow light to shine through.

So the next step was to form the dough into a loaf, and let the dough rise in the greased pan for a few hours.

Meanwhile... I had another project in the works as the bread was rising.  I had decided the night before to make sourdough noodles and use them in chicken and dumplings, which is one of our family's favorite comfort dishes.  To make these noodles, you added the ingredients the night before, and let the bowl sit covered overnight to "proof" and then the next morning, they were to be rolled out and dried.

The recipe for these noodles was called Rustic Sourdough Noodles.  The "rustic" should have been my first clue...

But, I persisted on in the sourdough adventures, and proceeded to roll out the dough as directed in the recipe.

You can see in this picture several hours after the noodles had been rolled and cut, and covered with a linen towel, that they had begun to dry and shrivel.

Meanwhile, my bread had risen to a beautiful shape, and it was ready to cook.

And this is the result of my first loaf of homemade wheat sourdough bread -ooh - it looked soo good!

In the oven as it is cooking, along with the pan of chicken for the chicken and dumplings.

The finished loaf of bread as soon as it had popped out of the oven.

After letting it cool for an hour or so, I sliced up the bread into thick hearty slices.

I couldn't help myself, and ate a full slice right away - it smelled soo good, and tasted even better!

Then it was time to make the chicken and noodles (or dumplings as my family fondly calls them).

Everything was rolling along right on schedule!

The smell of the chicken and noodles was just heavenly.

And the bowl of chicken and rustic sourdough noodles and sourdough bread looked and smelled like a meal fit for a king.  We prayed and thanked the Lord for his blessings, and dug in...

OH MY GOODNESS!  WHAT? As I took a taste of this yummilicious chicken and noodles, something awful happened. A terribly, terribly, terribly SOUR taste had totally overwhelmed the dish.  It was unmistakably sour to the point that it tasted like pure apple cider vinegar had been poured into the soup, and you could taste nothing else but sour.  It was gagging sour!  I don't understand or know what went wrong... as I went later to the internet to see if anyone else had any problems with this recipe, and everyone seemed to praise it (even though no one had paired it with chicken, but simply as a plain noodle dish).  I even went back to my chicken bones and tasted the meat on them to be sure it wasn't something gone wrong with the meat, but the bit of chicken left on the bone tasted just right... so it had to be the sourdough itself.

It was a rather dejected and deflated meal that we had.  My daughter and I were able to eat a few bites of the soup, along with huge gulps of water, but .... in the end we succumbed, and just ate the bread. My son never even bothered, but just went straight to the bread and strawberry jam!

The bread was definitely the highlight of the meal, despite the fact that our highly anticipated meal of chicken and dumplings was a huge horrible sour flop!

Annie volunteered for cleanup duty, and it didn't seem to bother her a bit.

Simba, on the other hand, sniffed at the bowl, and backed off and just sat and watched Annie eat it.  It was pretty funny. He had sense enough to know he didn't want any part of that! LOL!

So after my disastrous result with the sourdough noodles, my family asked that I never mess up a good dinner of chicken-n-dumplings again by trying some newfangled recipe, lol.

Still... since the bread turned out so nice, along with the pancakes, and banana muffins, I will probably continue making sourdough bread... but will continue to leave it out of any meat dishes.  The two just don't go together.  'Nuff said... LOL!

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading about your sourdough adventures. The bread looks heavenly! Sorry about your soup but Annie looks like she was glad. ;)


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