benefits of the day

Today is a good day, surprisingly. I do not know whether it helped to sleep till 10 am. A first in a very long time, and a very welcome change.

I tried a new thing and baked my sourdough directly without proofing after an over night rise. Surprisingly, it turned out to be just awesome. I usually would not try such risky stuff if I have an established system, but today I did not care much and gave it a try. This experience tells me that sometimes not caring much help find new and easier ways. I like this.

I have glanced at a book or two today. It seems I am not in the mood to hear what others are saying (that should be okay). But one thing I like reading was the dominance of mind over our lives, which makes us disconnected to our heart’s desires.

I cannot fully interpret this right now, but I know that my mind is quite analytical and likes structure and logic, yet not everything in life works this way and a little bit thinking out of the mind’s box would help. This is where my heart, or this deep down, no matter what loving, nurturing, and supportive part of me, comes into play. As a matter of fact just the adjectives that I use to define it tell all. Heart is here all the time, and when not shut down by the always thinking mind, may provide me with the wisdom, emotions, and support I need most. I do not know how to do this right now. But at least knowing that I in fact have this natural resource with me gives me hope and excitement.

Another thing was reading something about finding a “balance” in life. One of my colleagues, whenever she sees me tired and stressed, recommends me about “having a balance”. I hate to hear about it as I cannot have a balance between work and my daily life. Yet, today I felt better about it. For some reason, I realized that I do not want to react to having no life-work balance, but when I need a break, then I can let myself have that “balance”. This would mean that I would not be feeling bad about resting or taking a break, or enjoying the moment or the day, even in the midst of the hard-work and pressuring deadlines. Giving myself this right feels pretty empowering today. It is not about “finding” it anymore.

One more positive thing: I cooked for myself and had a decent meal as dinner. Don’t you love it when you take time for your own enjoyment and self-care?

Have a great Sunday night everyone.

 

 

 

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positive vibes

The thought crosses the mind and the heart feels.

That is what they say. I kind of believe in this.

Today, I am turning my regular thought pattern of working of problems, and rather, note the random beauty and safety around me.

Like the light coming into my bedroom window right now – what a majestic thing! It is free, available to everyone, and has found my way. I am lucky :). Ligth finds me.

The song I am listening to right now is peaceful, melodic, and intense at the same time. The guitar is both speaking and dancing. All the peaceful and lively melodies find me feed my soul, get my attention and lift my mood up.

I created two lovely sourdough loaves today and shared one with my good neighbours. To be able to share without feeling the need or enforcement is such a bliss. I like this about myself – I like to share the things I cherish. I am kind to my neighbours and I treat them time to time with nice food, little gifts. I am abundant and kind.

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I find things to do when I need to. Like today I painted a number of small terra cota pots for my yet-to-come succulents and cacti (planted seeds last week – wish me luck). I have hobbies that let me create and get excited about what I can do.

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I feel less anxious than Friday and this is wonderful. Once again, my fears triggered by external resources/people and made me remember what I should be careful about in my future steps (about work). I welcome this fear to make my future less problematic and I let it go now – it served its purpose.

I planted a number of seeds in a windy day. Some may have gone around to my neighbours’ yards. May they find their niche, germinate, and make someone happy and joyful. Nature and I have so much to share.

Rain and wind knocked some of my daffodils and tulips. One tulip is standing tall and is about to bloom. Like this tulip, I too stand up no matter what.

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Everything is available in life and I claim my part of life right here, right now.

How about this as a turn of the way I often think?

๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

Spiderman sourdough :)

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Spiderman is here!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Does it not look like the face of Spiderman – one of my favorite characters? ๐Ÿ™‚

This loaf was the last and the best one I baked with multigrain bread flour.

FYI – I cannot recommend the multigrain bread flour – it does not rise much. If you are looking for better crumb, either have a warmer place to proof the dough (my kitchen is around 17C during winter and I am not patient enough to wait too long), or use the old, good plain bread flour.

This loaf contains:

  • 1 1/3 cup whole wheat starter/levain
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 4 cups of multi-grain bread flour and 2 cups of all purpose flour (i had run out of bread and multi-grain flour)
  • 2.5 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs salt

Everything is mixed and I stretched and folded it 4-5 times before I left it to rise overnight at room temperature; these happened yesterday evening

This morning I shaped it and placed in a mixing bowl upside down and left for proofing in the oven for 5.5 hours

Baked at 350F oven (non-prehetaed) for an hour

Delicious!

Sunday sourdough

I was trying to find the ways to reduce the proofing time lately: one thing I have tried in the last two weeks is proofing the dough in an oven (not turned or warmed up; no lights , either) to see whether this relatively temperature-wise stable environment would help reduce it.ย 

This dough was only proved for 3 hours (in contrast to my usual 4-6 hours proofing). It was almost flat when I placed it on the parchment paper and scored. But there was a great oven spring (just like last week), so it turned out to be just lovely.

I think the in-oven proofing helped. I also think that maybe in the past I was over-proofing my dough..

Of course, the hydration levels of the dough makes a difference in terms of the yeast activity – this was a slightly sticky dough. This may be another reason for the short proof time working with this loaf.

In any way, I am just happy to have this loaf ๐Ÿ™‚

 

happy sourdough – III

 

IMG_3460Isn’t it beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚

This was the first time that I tried 3 hours of proofing. When I took it out of the shaping bowl and scored, the dough was almost flat. But in the oven it showed a great oven spring and one of the largest air pockets I have ever seen. It even cracked itself on top even though I had slashed it, which tells me that yeast really worked hard this time.

Will continue like this – it has been a great experiment.

butternut squash dessert and weekly sourdough bread

Butternut squash dessert

I found a nice butternut squash the week before. My original aim was to make a hearty soup, but I decided in the last moment to make a dessert with it.

here is the recipe:

  • peel the coating and cut in pieces (mine were around 1-5 cm width and 7 cm length)
  • add 2 cups of sugar, mix
  • add 1.5 tsp salt and 6 cups of water
  • bring to a rolling boil and simmer at medium heat for 40 min
  • add 1.5 tbs lemon juice and boil for another 5 min
  • take the squash bits on an oven pot, add 2 cups of the liquid*, sprinkle with chopped nuts (I have used hazelnut) (optional)
  • bake at 350F pre-heated oven for 20 min**
  • enjoy! (top with a scoop of ice cream if you wish and tell me this was not a good idea ๐Ÿ™‚ )

*I have had around 1 liters of the liquid, which is yummy. Drink it as it is, or use less waterย 

**You can bake longer to thicken the liquid

Sourdough

My sourdough today was kind of sticky dough and as a result did not keep it shape well. But there was oven spring and it looks great ๐Ÿ™‚

sourdough loaf with oats and black olives

Here is a fantastic sourdough with a hint of trolled oats and black olives ๐Ÿ™‚

This loaf was my first trial of a rectangular shape ๐Ÿ™‚ I learnt a while ago that sticky dough do not keep its shape well if does not have enough support. So I used one of my oven pots to prove and bake this loaf.

I would do this loaf again; the crust was thin and soft (the way I love it) and it tasted amazing!

The recipe is similar to others:

  • 1 1/3 cup 100% whole wheat starter (fed Friday night and then on Saturday morning prior to saving half in the fridge; used to make the dough in the afternoon)
  • 2 cups water; mixed the starter and water well with the help of a fork until it became kind of frothy
  • 2.5 tbs sugar; mixed well into the starter/water mix
  • 4.5 cups of bread flour, 1.5 tbs salt, and 200 grms of pitted black olive-halved: (approximately 1.5 cups). Formed a shaggy dough, closed the lid, kneaded every 30 min or so three times until dough looked like forming. At the end of folding stage dough was too sticky (must be the olives’ juice), so I added 1/3 cup of rolled oats to help with the moisture
  • let rest at room temperature over might
  • since it was a kind of sticky dough, I decided to place it in a large rectangular oven pot lined with parchment paper
  • sprinkled top with more oats, placed in a nylon bag, tied the ends, and proved for 4.5 hours at room temperature
  • baked in non-pre-heated oven at 350 F for one hour

my love affair with self-sufficiency

Life is interesting.

I have never been interested in cooking or being self-sufficient.

In the last two years, however, this has change. I still do not like cooking but baking, pickling, and jamming have been awesome. I could not be more excited ๐Ÿ™‚

Fermented food

Sourdough: I first became interested in baking bread and I now even have a sourdough starter that makes wonders every week ๐Ÿ™‚ I have not purchased any store-made bread since May 2016. I also shared my sourdough and commercial yeast loaves with my fiends. What a joy ๐Ÿ™‚

Kefir: I then was gifted by kefir grains within 2017 and i not only fell in love with kefir itself, but I made cheese/spread from it and even used it in baking bread ๐Ÿ™‚ Drinking kefir makes me feel good and I know that it gives me the calcium that I need at my age in addition to many nutrients. I am very happy with it ๐Ÿ™‚

Pickles: I did pickles before thanks to my mother, but I have never been this interested in it until recently – I love the beet and cabbage pickles I make! I think it is the benefit of living in a cold climate that the pickle lasts long without going bad and this way I always have a jar or two in my kitchen. I made three batches of beet pickles this fall enjoyed by myself and my friends ๐Ÿ™‚

Sauerkraut: And tomorrow I will try my first ever sauerkraut!ย 

How about this?ย 

I think I am moving in the right direction ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Jam/marmalade:

And just within the last 5-6 weeks, I started experimenting with making jam; dried fig jam first, then orange and tangerine, and today the raspberry jam/marmalade ๐Ÿ™‚

I feel like I am doing such a great job refraining from additives and chemicals in store-bought jams/bread/pickles. I must be rightfully proud of myself and I am!

 

Sewing

Okay.. I have not been as productive as I wished, but since I purchased my lovely sewing machine last year, I have done small stuff, including lots of covers for jars and discloth/cloth for the counter and window sills. I am yet to undertake a serious project, like a blouse or a quilt, but I know when the time comes, that will happen too ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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These are newfound interests for me and they have been enriching my life, providing me healthy and affordable food/items, and I feel increasingly “able”.

I really am excited about this change in me.

 

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Sunday night musings

Lots of great things happened this weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

First of all; I have not worked this weekend ๐Ÿ™‚ A first in the last 6 months or so. I am still tired but my spirit is high, so all is well ๐Ÿ™‚

Second of all;ย I baked my first corn bread and it was delicious – that is so exciting! I can bake it of my guest as well ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel like my baking and cooking skills are significantly improved by this dish… I love this feeling ๐Ÿ™‚

Third of all; I thrifted today after a long time. I spent hours going through everything with excitement. I tried on maybe 30 pieces and bought three; one blouse that I was hoping to find (I have its exact same copy, which I love, love, love! I was hoping that I could find a similar one so that I could wear it for a longer time. Today my dreams came true ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I also bought two good-looking cardigans that i am sure I will wear with love. A very good day indeed ๐Ÿ™‚ I plan to thrift next weekend too.

Fourth of all; I cooked multiple meals for me this weekend, which is awesome. I usually would refrain from cooking or cook one meal to last 2-3 days, but not this weekend. How lovely is this? ๐Ÿ™‚

Fifth of all; I found a great deal on my favorite french press and ordered it ๐Ÿ™‚ It is expected within a week or so and I could not be happier ๐Ÿ™‚ I literally got it 75% off.. WOW! It is good that I have waited so long. Jack pot!

Sixth of all; I re-started push ups and back exercises to help ease my back problems and strengthen my arms, chest, and abs. My muscles are aching – that means my exercises are effective. I am happy with this!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Seventh of all; yesterday I used loyalty points for a large amount of shopping (like a hundred bucks) to purchase personal care and cleaning products. I found all items I was looking for and I only bought things that I will use or need. So every point/dime was used for a good purpose and no waste! ๐Ÿ™‚

Eighth of all; I am feeling good and lucky with all these positive experiences and this makes me relaxed and happier ๐Ÿ™‚

I could not ask for a better weekend!

Have a great Sunday night everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

corn flour bread

I literally craved for this since yesterday ๐Ÿ™‚

I followed the recipe here with the exception of baking at 350F for 40 min, adding 2 jalapeno peppers (de-seeded and cut), and using corn flour (fine).

My verdict is that it is an easy and delicious bread that can be readied in an hour.

It was a little bit sweet for a bread, but it was not annoying. I would maybe add some more sugar next time to make it like a cake ๐Ÿ™‚

Jalapenos could have been lightly cooked prior to adding to the mix, but overall that was one great bake today! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Happy sourdough bread!

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Here is today’s sourdough bread with a happy, happy, happy face! ๐Ÿ™‚

It will be gifted to a colleague of mine, who gave me a ride this weekend – hope they will like it ๐Ÿ™‚

today’s sourdough loaves

Because of my trips lately I had depleted my frozen bread stock. I feel a lot better when I have extra loaves at the freezer. Thus, I baked two sourdough today using the same recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

They both turned out to be lovely! Thin crust and soft crumb, with a kick of salt and feeling very homey ๐Ÿ™‚ The oven spring was way more powerful that I would imagine, as both loaves had sides cracked despite the fact that I had scored their surface ๐Ÿ™‚ Something worked really well ๐Ÿ™‚

The catch is that I had run out of bread flour, so I had to prepare the dough with all purpose flour.ย Now, Iย  never have had a good rise with all purpose flour, even though I am in Canada (people says that Canadian all purpose flour is as good as the bread flour with high protein content…). That is why I thought I would add some oat or rye flakes to dough – my previous experience with these additions is that they make the yeast somehow happier and dough better and airy.

Recipe:

  • I used 1 cup of rolled rye flakes soaked for 2 hours in 1 cup of water, which was then topped with 5 cups of all purpose flour, 2tbs of sugar, 1.5 tbs of salt, 1 1/3 cups of starter, and I believe 2.5 cups of water.
  • I used the stretch and fold technique to form the dough and left it at room temperature over night to rise.
  • In the morning, I was looking at a puffy and healthy dough ๐Ÿ™‚ I cut it into two, one smaller than the other, shaped, rested for 10 min, and then placed them in proving containers. The small one was proven in an oven pot and the other one was formed into a long loaf and placed on a cookie sheet surrounded with items to keep it in shape.ย I left them at room temperature for 4.5 hours to prove.
  • I scored them and then baked at non-pre-heated oven at 350F for 55 min.

Voila ๐Ÿ™‚

baked two sourdough loaves today :)

I baked two loaves today – my freezer stock has been depleted. One always need a decent home-made sourdough bread ๐Ÿ™‚

Both loaves have been sightly sticky, risen at room temp for about 18 hours (at round 17 C). For the baton loaf, I used a pot to rise, whereas the other one was risen in a mixing bowl. The latter was slightly more sticky in the next morning and required quite a bit of flour to handle. I also needed to use a lot of flour to keep it from sticking to baking clothe while proving. This inevitably resulted in a pale looking loaf. I have risen the baton loaf on parchment paper between a couple of stuff to help keep its shape.ย 

The prove time was 4 hours for the round loaf and around 5 hours for the other. I baked them at 350F for around 55-65 minutes.

The end results are good with lots of air pockets. The big pockets in the round loaf are worrisome, telling me that I did not do a good job deflating the dough in the morning. The baton loaf had a much better crumb, which was very pleasing.

Bon appetite! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

sometimes trying something hopeless pays off

Yesterday I have prepared two sourdough; one can be found here; it was prepared by a starter that was rigorous and with a long rise (around 16 hours at room temp) with 4 hours of proving, following my regular recipe. It turned out to be a lovely loaf with a great oven spring.

That loaf will be given to my friends that I have seen yesterday night. So upon returning home at around 11 pm, I decided I needed a loaf for myself so I prepared a small dough using the left overs from my starter that I resurrected this past week. These left overs are those that needed to be removed and replaced with fresh flour and water while feeding the starter. I did not want to put it in garbage, so I thought I could find a use for them (like tortilla), so had kept around 3/4 cups of them in my fridge. They were not necessarily the best starter, but I took my chances with my second loaf.

The second loaf had 9 hours of first rise with limited stretch and fold (1 only) at room temperature and 5 hours of proofing. Honestly it did not look good when I put it on parchment paper (it did not keep its shape). Anyways, in the oven there was some kind of spring. So I was still not very hopeful. But when I cut it, I was very surprised; it has the largest air pockets I have seen in my sourdough! It is soft and the sesame seeds give it an incredibly nutty flavor ๐Ÿ™‚ Although its rise was short, I think dough being slightly sticky helped it to turn into this beautiful loaf.

I think sometimes keeping the faith and trying something that does not look much hopeful pays off ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

today’s sourdough was a failure

I thought I could make it, but I was wrong.

Using all purpose flour in this sourdough loaf was a disaster. They say the Canadian all purpose and bread flours have similar protein content and many bakers are successful in getting decent loaves with all purpose flour, but today I proved myself that was not the case for me. Bread flour it is!

Dough was fantastic, but as soon as I took it from the proofing basket, it spread and leveled. I was hoping maybe once it is in the oven things would get better. But the loaf did not rise, usual oven spring was not existing, and it took longer (1 hour 15 min at 350F) to get a browned crust (I suspect because it was such a shallow loaf that its crust was further away from the top of the oven, which made it longer to brown), and as a result is as dry and hard as brick.

I will eat it, but honestly use the bread flour if it works better for your loaves.

 

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Added after the post: On a second thought, this loaf may as well be just over-proved. The first rise was quite long (around 18 hours) and I wonder if this has something to do with this leveled loaf (aka less gluten structure)… if you have any opinion, please do comment.

Truth about sourdough

I see a number of blogs/recipes using commercial yeast in the dough and calling it sourdough.

Sorry to break the news to some of us, but if you use commercial yeast, it is not sourdough. I guess someone started this and it kind of stuck with some other people.

Sourdough is made from levain/starter that is a totally natural culture of yeast (and bacteria). If you do not believe me, please check internet and see for yourself.

It somehow hurts me to hear that sourdough culture and commercial baking yeast are equalized. They both are fantastic, yet different. So let’s give them the place they deserve.

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this is my sourdough culture that I created a year ago from water and whole wheat flour; it is love.

 

 

Sunday is the day of sourdough

Here is my sourdough loaf for today ๐Ÿ™‚

resurrected sourdough starter

I managed to revive my sourdough starter from dried flakes! ๐Ÿ™‚

The new one is very similar to previous one (that I accidentally used all in a loaf) and has had a great oven spring. Since it will be served to my guests tomorrow, I did not cut it up to see the crumb, but I am sure it is good.

I could not ask for a better one ๐Ÿ™‚

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bread with sun flower seeds

While trying to revive my dried sourdough starter, here is the bread I have baked using the commercial yeast.

 

 

Recipe:

1/2 tbs yeast, 1 cup 2% milk, 1 cup water (warm milk and water together first), 2 tbs sugar; mix well and activate the yeast for 10 min (cover the bowl)

add 3 tbs salt, 9 cups of bread flour, mix and form a dough

cover and stretch and fold 3-4 times (around 20-30 min rest in between)

rest at fridge over night

in the morning. take the dough out and bring to room temp ~3 hours

shape the dough and rest 5 min

work on the shape of the dough, and place it in a bowl with clean cloth and sprinkled with generous amount of sun flower seeds

put in a large plastic bag and prove at room temp for 4 hours (in the last 30 min I put it in an oven warmed to 100F)

score and bake at a non-pre-heated oven at 375F for 45 min (oven on) and an additional 15 min (oven off)

take out, sprinkle some water over the loaf, and let cool down

Bon appetite!

 

PS: since ย this loaf is going to a friend of mine, I did not cut it out and hence I have no idea how the crumb is. But the oven spring was amazing and the fact that the loaf kept its round shape, I am hopeful that the crumb too is good ๐Ÿ™‚

Day of the sourdough

I have baked two sourdough loaves today: one plain, and one with tomato, bell pepper, and garlic shoots.

Next time I can leave the garlic out, but this sourdough was interesting to bake and eat. I would recommend for those who like a taste of sunny and healthy Mediterranean food ๐Ÿ™‚

Mediterranean loaf:

 

Plain loaf:

 

 

sourdough loaf with black olive, parsley, and kefir

I wanted to bake a sourdough that was not tried before and I think I managed to do so.

I present you the sourdough loaf with kefir, parsley, and black olive ๐Ÿ™‚

Smells like sea! Enjoy!

 

 

looking forward to the long weekend

It is Canada day tomorrow and we have the long weekend with Monday off.

I may be working on Monday but I am so excited for this long weekend! I just feel tired and too strained lately, and I am looking forward to winding down a little bit. This weekend will give me this opportunity ๐Ÿ™‚

What are my plans?

Other than the regular stuff (i.e. cleaning the house, doing the laundry, cutting the grass – which I have done this afternoon), I plan to bake an unconventional type of sourdough this week. What could that be? Something that has not been done before…. I do not know really – I will have to really get creative here, or bake a regular sourdough – in any way it will be awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

I would like to visit the thrift stores tomorrow and see whether i can find something interesting. I may buy some sewing material.

Sewing… Yes… Why do I not try sewing a blouse again? I have tons of fabric that I hauled last year from thrift stores ๐Ÿ™‚ What a great idea – I hope I will not chicken again and do it!

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I may also visit a nearby international food store and get some dry beans and bulghur – these could be excellent choices to prepare office lunch for me. Good idea! ๐Ÿ™‚

I also would like to start drying some lilacs from my yard. ย I have incredible lilacs that I have been thinking about drying up for some time. I think it is the time…. Once they dry up, I want to hang them on my wall in a frame. The beauty of the flowers and plants in my yard…. How nice is the nature? I have daisies blooming up. They are all so exciting ๐Ÿ™‚

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And other than this, I will look ahead my life, and plan and hope for the best. It is time that things change for the better. Now that I appreciate my life, how simple and easy going it is, and how well it works for me, including my budget, increased savings, and investments. There is a lot to be grateful for in my life. This weekend will give me an opportunity to re-think about them and re-feel my appreciation.

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The Queen of all bread; sourdough with kefir

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but…but… but… can you see what I see? Is that not GORGEOUS!? ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

I am hooked to this combination and I suspect that I will always bake sourdough with kefir from now on.

I have not tasted anything quite like this, nor eaten a softer sourdough that I have baked. The slight salty taste, the crumb (the best so far), and the smell of this sourdough will fill my dreams – I can tell you that with confidence.

The recipe is quite basic like any other sourdough I have baked;

1. I added to 1 cup of whole wheat starter fed twice (Friday night and Saturday morning), 2tbs of sugar and 1 cup of kefir – mixed well with a spoon until it become somehow frothy (it does become frothy quite easily). Then added 2 cups of bread flour and 1.5 tbs of salt. Mixed and formed a shaggy dough.

This dough formed quite fast without needing to mix too much – I give it to kefir. ย  ย  ย  Somehow it helped bond the dough and voila! I had that healthy looking and soft ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  dough. As it was my practice the last few weeks, I made sure the dough was slightly ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  sticky while adding the flour.

2. I then left it at room temperature covered with a clean towel and stretched and folded 4-5 times time to time. The next day, I shaped it, and left for proving in a bowl covered with a clean cloth and sprinkled with generous amount of sesame and poppy seeds. It proved for 6.5 hours at room temperature in a plastic bag.

3. I baked it in non-preheated oven; 375 F for 15 min first, then 25 min at 350 F (the seeds burn pretty quick if the temperature is high), and then left in a turned off oven for an additional 5 min.

Give it a try and let me know whether you also agree that this is the best sourdough ever! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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mother of sourdough – the happy and active starter
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kefir – I am hesitant to add it but I read that others tried baking bread with kefir, so here comes a fresh batch of kefir
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the initial shaggy dough – do not worry – it will form just fine
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at the end of stretch and folds; ready to rest overnight
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and the next morning it has risen all nice and fluffy ๐Ÿ™‚
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shaped and left for proving
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6.5 hours later, it seems to have proven quite a bit – exciting ๐Ÿ™‚
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the seeds look great! sadly I also deflated it a little bit while taking it from the bowl onto the parchment paper.. feeling nervous….
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i deflated the dough a little bit more while scoring…. not my best day – next time I will have to handle this dough with a little bit more care
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but…but… but… can you see what I see? Is that not GORGEOUS!? ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
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and the crumb is my finest so far – kefir and sourdough have formed a great collaboration. This bread will be a classic at my house from now on

sourdough bread with beet

Here we go – the most interesting sourdough loaf I have ever baked!

What do you think?

I had seen a recipe here at wordpress once upon a time using beet (thanks whoever had posted it at that time). It always intrigued me and finally this weekend it was the time to give it a try.

My verdict; this is a very easy loaf to work with because wild yeast loves the beet (or anything else like carrots that provide some kind of nutrients and moisture to the dough/bread) and the colour is just amazing! It was a fluffy dough that rose pretty well. The proving step was also short (~5 hours at room temperature in my cool Canadian kitchen) – partly because of the hydration by the beet and partly because I tried to make it kind of sticky with less flour than usual. The crumb is open (one of the best, if not the best crumb I have seen lately) and it is soft and palatable. The only thing was that the smell of raw/baked beet somehow threw me away at the beginning. But the remedy is easy and available – butter, as usual, makes it perfect! ๐Ÿ™‚

This being said, I think next time I will try it with raspberry and some more sugar!

 

Recipe

Friday night: took the starter off the fridge and fed with whole wheat flour and water, wrapped in a towel and left at room temperature overnight

Saturday morning:ย fed the starter again and one hour later divided it into two portion: one portion went to fridge (starter) and the second portion left at room temp for 3 hours to flourish (to be used in the dough)

Saturday afternoon: added to 1 cup of starter, 2 tbs of sugar, and 1 cup of water. Grated 1 medium sized beet and added to the mixture. Then, added 2.5 cups of bread flour and 1.5 tbs of salt and mixed with a spoon. It formed a shaggy dough. After that I left for shopping, so only 5 hours later or so, I stretched and folded it once or twice before leaving it to rise at room temperature overnight (closed lid and covered with a towel)

Sunday morning: shaped on a generously floured work surface, let rest for 10 min and shaped again. I decided it was better if I proved it in an oven dish and directly baked it after proving. Hence, I placed the dough in the dish covered with parchment paper and put it in a nylon bag – that, I found a while ago, creates a green house effect and help dough prove faster

Sunday afternoon: After 5 hours of proving, turned the oven on (375F) and placed the dough in it. Baked for 45 min with oven on and then an additional 15 min with oven turned off.

Do not forget to cool down, admire, and enjoy it with butter and loved ones! ย 

Bon appetiteย ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

sourdough with rolled rye

Here is another Sunday sourdough with a touch of rolled rye – a slice of it and butter ย – yummy!

The recipe is very similar to an earlier loaf with slight changes: I did not wait 30 min after adding water to rolled rye (rather mixed it with the rest of the ingredients right away – I have got lazy here ๐Ÿ™‚ ), used one cup starter, 1 cup water, 2 tbs of sugar, 1.5 tbs of salt and 3.5 cup of bread flour. Since the bread flour is a little bit less than the previous recipe, this was a slightly sticky dough, which I prefer the last few weeks. I also did not pre-heat the oven; just put it inside and let it oven spring ๐Ÿ™‚

In my experience rolled oat, rolled rye, or semolina flour in small amounts (like 1 cup in addition to 3-4 cups bread flour) help with proofing and oven rise – these kind of loaves never disappointed me in terms crumb.

Here is a pictorial recipe for this hearty and tasty loaf:

 

 

 

 

 

wet sourdough loaf

This sourdoughย was wet; way stickier than my previous ones.

As expected, it turned out to be just great in terms of the air packets. Itย is not the best looking loaf, but it is expected from such a wet dough (which is hard to shape).ย 

I could not help and enjoy a big slice with butter when it was still warm ย ๐Ÿ™‚

I am very happy with this starter; it does not yield big air packets, but it is consistent and crumb is always well structured. See the little air packets all around? ๐Ÿ™‚

today’s sourdough and the creamy wild rice soup

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Here is my baby today ๐Ÿ™‚

This loaf is similar to others in making, only with an additional 2 tbs water to make it slightly sticky. During stretching and folding, the dough formed well and the stickiness hasย almost disappeared.ย Iย also did not add sugar to dough for the first time.

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proofing ๐Ÿ™‚
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after the proofing step
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this scoring worked well ๐Ÿ™‚
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and the end product ๐Ÿ™‚ what a beauty! I am very pleased with the oven spring.

 

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And, finally I am consuming the wild rice that I have had for some years!!!

I totally improvised this soup:

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  • Add in a pot 1 cup wild rice, 1 cup red lentil, 1 small potato, 100 grms of butter, and 3 cups water
  • Boil and then simmer for 1 hour, or until rice softens

This is a very creamy and hearty soup because of the lentil and potato, and has a mixture of both soft and somewhat crunchy texture (the wild rice has a tough outer membrane)

Bon appetite! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

The 1st anniversary of my bread-making adventure :)

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Today is the 1st anniversary of my bread-making adventure!

And what an adventure it has been ๐Ÿ™‚

Iย first got enticed by commercial yeast by chance, and tried my first loaf without knowing what I was doing ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a very tasty, very hearty bread though – I enjoyed it ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

With the confidence coming out of that experience, the week after that I tried baguettes and this time I was very badly defeated ๐Ÿ™‚ I have had very serious concerns about whether I would ever be able to bake a decent loaf. This lasted some time, while I read, read, and read about how to best bake a bread.ย 

It was my mom who encouraged me to get hopeful and try again.ย And again I tried. It was not an easy period I would say; I often failed and only every once a while I could get a decent loaf. I experimented a lot with autolysing, kneading, stretching and folding, over-night dough risen at room temperature or in the fridge, using a roaster as a substitute for a dutch oven, using milk or water in dough, using pre-heated and non-preheated oven, misting the oven versus not doing it while baking, adding rolled oats or seeds like flax seed to dough, andย different types of flour (all purpose flour and bread flour).

I got intrigued by wild yeast and sourdough, hence I also experimented with itย ๐Ÿ™‚ I attempted fourย times to get a decent starter and eventually got one with a whole wheat flour. It is my Monster starter that has been working just great since last August-September. I almost every single weekend bake a loaf or two using this starter, and I must say every week I notice a subtle progress and development in it. It is a living organism alright ๐Ÿ™‚

So I found that while I am still far away from the “perfect loaf”, stretching and folding really works and develops the dough, over night dough is the best, there is no need for pre-heating or misting the oven, or using a dutch oven/roaster to bake a good loaf. All you need is love, patience, and paying attention to dough. If you do this, you will get a great loaf each time after a while. Guaranteed.

Today, on this very special anniversary, I tried sourdough with rolled oat with a recipe similar to this (and without the flax seed). What a beauty ๐Ÿ™‚

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my sourdough loaf is “crowned” with rolled oat today to celebrate this important anniversary ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are select loaves I have baked within the last year, starting with the first ever loaf I baked. Looking at them literally makes me happy.

If you are intrigued or interested at all, I would say go for it and try a loaf or two. Baking your own bread is very healthy, satisfying, and most importantly, an exciting hobby ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy baking! ย ๐Ÿ™‚

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The first loaf ย ๐Ÿ™‚

on being self-sustaining

Since I started baking my own bread last year, I have been feeling more “able“.ย 

Bread has always been my favorite food. Strange enough after I started baking my own loaves, the amount of bread I consumed has reduced. How strange…ย Iย wonder whether it being a natural product with no additives or chemicals has anything to do with this? Anyways, I am proud of the fact that within the last one year I did not buy any store-made bread; I only consumed my own, mostly the precious sourdough loaves. Talking about the joy of baking and the happiness coming out of it ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyways, when I bought my sewing machine last November, I thought it was an additional step towards being resourceful and a self-sustaining life-style. I was planning to sew my own blouses, which I have failed so far, but one day Iย will do this. This and others, like sewing quilt, doing repairs (which I have), and sewing cloths/placemats to be used around the house (which I have, too) will keep me feel independent and able. It feels good indeed.

We may not realize but there are so many ways that even someone like me, who does not like ย house chores, demonstrates the ability to self-sustain. Consider cooking at home and feeding ourselves, cleaning our own houses, taking care of the yard (boy, thinking about cutting the grass… argh… one thing that I really dislike, but keep doing anyhow), dyeing our own hair to name a few. I feel so again when I walk to or from the office, or to the shopping malls, instead of taking the bus or the cab. ย By walking I freely transport myself and relax at the same time.ย Do you not think that we in fact all are, to some degree, independent of others/stores/services and ratherย are self-sustaining?

I have spent sometime reading posts about homesteading this evening. I have no practical interest in homesteading myself as a single and middle aged city girl, but I sure enjoy reading about the daily livesย of the homesteaders, theirย farmingย adventures, issues, and relationships with nature. My current life and level of sustainability is no-where near the homesteaders’ life, but Iย am doing way better than many people living in a mid-size city. I guess even though I do not realize it well, Iย happen to have a kind of simple, affordable, and sustainable life that I must be excited about ๐Ÿ™‚

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today’s sourdough

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the end products! look at these beauties! The scoring on boule makes an impression of a face, do you not think? ๐Ÿ™‚

I baked two sourdough today; one boule and the other baton-shaped.

The recipe is quite similar to previous ones with:

  • 4/3 cup of whole wheat flour starter fed Friday evening and Saturday morning, ย  ย  ย  ย 1 1/4 cup water, 3-4 cups bread flour, 2 tbs of sugar, and 2 tbs of salt. It should be slightly sticky
  • mix, rest at room temperature, and stretch and fold 4-5 times with 20-60 min in between (it is quite forgiving; you do not need to time everything. what is important is to fold and strech so that the dough and gluten form)
  • rise at room temperature over night in a mixing bowl with lid and wrapย with a towel
  • the next morning (aka today), shape and rest for 10 min. Re-shape if required, cover the loaf with a towel, and place in a plastic bagย for a green house effect (I think that works really well) for 4 hours or longer (this week at the end of 4 hours, the loaves had almost doubled)
  • bake at 375 min for 50-55 min (until it becomes golden crisp. I no longer pre-heat the oven or use a roaster/dutch oven to bake. Eventually if the dough is good, the bread comes out wonderful)
  • cool down and make sure to take your time to enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Today’s loaves

Sourdough loaves are for myself (of course!ย – since I started baking sourdough in August-September last year, there has not been a weekย that I have not eatenย it ๐Ÿ™‚ ) while the bread loaves with commercial yeast will be given to my colleague who gave me a ride last week.

Sourdough loaves were done very similar to previous ones with flax seed and rolled oat.

The loaves with the commercial yeast were prepared similar to this one, only without the milk. I am aware that the shapes are not the best, but we will hope at least ย the taste, crumb, and crust are superb ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

joy journal – March 31, 2017

I am not good at writing my joy journal this year…… I believe this is my only the second post in 2017.

I am the best person to know that writing this journal is one thing that always made me feel better, more hopeful, and joyful.

So, why is this neglect lately? Was I too joyful so that I did not need to write it, or was I not joyful at all so I did not even bother writing?

The answer is neither.

I was slightly down; that is for sure. Work has had some stressful & pissing moments in February and March. But other than that many great things happened, almost on a daily basis.

I was just lazy, I would say.

Now is a good time to break this pattern and start being and benefiting from being grateful.

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1. I am grateful for being safe and sound in this stormy day. I was not hurt, fell, or got washed out byย the rain or pushed around by the wind.ย 

2. I am grateful for my home standing tall, strong, and safe in this weather. This year we have had quite a bit of winter with lots of wind and snow. And now we are having rain. But the house has been great with no problem at sight. I am very thankful for this.

3. I am grateful for deciding to remove from my work list those that drag me down emotionally. Whether they are the unnecessary tasks or people, I say “no” more often now and it feels good. I will keep doing this as long as it serves me best.

4. I am grateful for all the food I have in my house.ย 

5. I am grateful for having the night to myself. It is quite peaceful to have no one around.ย 

6.ย I am grateful for having the energy and feeling good about myself.ย 

7. I am grateful for eating fruits today and enjoying them.

8. I am grateful forย feeding my sourdough starter this evening. I hope to make a dough tomorrow and bake a loaf on Sunday, as usual. This weekend, I will also have a loaf or two with commercial yeast to give to my colleague who gave me a ride this evening. I do not necessarily like getting favors without giving something back, especially from those people who I have no close friendship. For some reason, when someone who is not a close friend of mine offers me this kind of help/kindness, I have a hard time accepting it gracefully. Old habit… And bread sounds great – I am sure they will enjoy. And I will feel even.

9. I am grateful for the movie I am watching; my internet connection; my computer; my power and heating; my phone line; my furniture; shoes/boots and clothes and everything else I have at home. All is necessary or useful, and well liked.ย 

10. I am grateful for reading and enjoying reading; whether it is books or browsing on the internet. But learning is the best thing a mind can relax and grow into. I have so many opportunities to do so that I am loving my life very much right now ๐Ÿ™‚

11. I am grateful for re-starting my joy journal and being grateful ๐Ÿ™‚

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Added after the post:

I forgot – as of Jan 2017, I also would like to note at least 3 things that I appreciate about myself. Here is today’s list:

  1. I appreciate the fact that I am not a cheap person
  2. I appreciate the fact that I can say “no” now
  3. I appreciate the fact that I make an effort to keep a simple, peaceful, healthy, and meaningful life
  4. I appreciate the fact that I am more focused on my own well being at theย office
  5. I appreciate the fact that I have simple but effective/meaningful hobbies, like reading, writing, listening to music, or watching movies
  6. I appreciate the fact that I have a character and its genuine – what you see is what you get
  7. I appreciate the fact that I make a good effort to eat at least one type of raw veggie per day – it is essential for losing weight (for some reason, it does work for me..)
  8. I appreciate the fact that I am resourceful
  9. I appreciate today especially the fact that I am writing on my joy journal and also making this “self-appreciation corner” an integral part of it ๐Ÿ™‚

Yay!! ๐Ÿ™‚

random thoughts

Our storm continues with heavy rain, rather than snow, and with high winds. It has been a wet, cold, gray, and miserable day, but luckily not a snow-day. I worked whole day at the office and one of my co-workers gave me a ride back home. What else do I want from such a stormy day? Maybe a cup of tea ๐Ÿ™‚

I am determined to try to sew a collar again this weekend and start a new blouse project. It is the collars that screw everything most – once I do achieve sewing one acceptable prototype, Iย know I can keep progressing….. But ย there were three trials so far and all were fails. I know I should be more patient and keep going. Eventually I will know how to best handle it. After all, there are so many people who can do a collar. Is there any particular reason why I cannot make it?

I did not think so.

Confidence and determinism are rare traits sometimes.

I have watched a number of youtube videos. There are many different ways to sew a neck line. I can do this!ย 

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I have not posted my “weekly budget check” this week. It has been similar to previous weeks where I saved by shopping items/grocery on sale, minimizing anything else. The only difference was that this week every morning I have taken the cab to the office. This was partly because of the bad weatherย and partly because of my need to feel good about myself. For some reason, I am not sorry. Perhaps one or two days I could rather take the bus, but in the other days taking the cab was the right decision. That is why I am not sorry. And the fact ย that money is not everything. And the fact that it is okay to prioritize comfort every once a while ๐Ÿ™‚

I wonder what the future years will bring. If ourย economy was not this bad, in the coming years we would expect to get salary increases. This would be nice and help me to make further plans to pay the mortgage off. I have a little increase coming in April, for which I am grateful. But knowing that our salaries will probably not increase, in contrast, may even be reduced after that, I am feeling disappointed.

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The other day I was thinking: what other expense I can reduce in my life? How can I get more income? One of the options is to get a roommate – but this will not happen without sacrificing my comfort and freedom. I wish I had a basement apartment where I could rent. At least that would feel like some kind of freedom. But in terms of the expenses, I cannot cut my cable-phone-internet combo; I sure can walk more frequently to office once the weather becomes more permissive; I cannot sacrifice from my grocery and food any further. None of these can happen without reducing the quality of my life or my life style. I can reduce the expenses related to my social life, but hey it is already not too much. So what do I do?

Nothing much. Cherish what I could achieve so much, aim to save as much as possible (possible is a great word here) while also enjoy my life. That is pretty much it.

2017 has been the leanest year in terms of my spending so far. Since it is March 31st, I thought it would be a good idea to check my finances. I usually do this at the end of each year, but it is good to know how I am doing in terms of budgeted categories.

Notable financial accomplishments/facts are as follows:ย 

1. I am spending much less money this year than before

2. I am walking in the mornings whenever I can – the first time in winter this year (well, okay this is not completely a financial achievement, but an important change in my life this year – so I will keep it in the list ๐Ÿ™‚ )

3. I have made an effort to consume the food in my pantry and freezer and it worked really goodย for me

4. I started to make mortgage prepayments this year and it has been going well. I am more motivated than ever to keep saving, however ย little it can be, and use it to make a pre-payment

5. My weekly allowance (of $120) has never been over-spent so far and I am constantly saving in my fund funds (these are the funds left from the weekly allowance). If it continues like this I will have an extra $2,000 – 2,500 at the end of the year in my fun funds account. This is additional to what I predicted that I could save this year. Maybe I will use it for my enjoyment, or maybe I will use it to invest/pay mortgage. We shall see ๐Ÿ™‚

6. Of $6,000 funds budgeted for socials, personal care and cleaning products, hobbies, medications and other health-related expenses, gifts, and all expenses other than my weekly allowance, I spent around $1,000 so far. Considering that it is the 1/4th of the year so far, this number is good. I should keep going frugal in these areas, as I happen to shop a lot during the November-December to take advantage of the sales. I hope to keep within this budgeted amount this year.

7. ย My chequing account is healthy, above $0, and as usual, I continue to contribute to my RRSP and TFSA investments biweekly. The only thing is that despite all the frugal life-style, regular savings to improve the chequing account has been quite difficult (because of the increased tax, pension contributions, and mortgage payments) compared to the last year. Nevertheless, since it is in a good shape, I am grateful for whatever I can do and I am determined to keep going.ย 

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sourdough with a touch of rolled rye

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What is a Sunday without a home-baked loaf of sourdough?

You got it right – it is almost impossible!!!!! :))))

Since I started sourdoughing last August, except oneย weekend and when I was away for vacation/business trip, I baked a loaf or two every…single…Sunday! ๐Ÿ™‚

I keep experimenting with the rolled cereals/grains in my sourdough loaves. My recent aย couple trials including the soaked rolled oat and flax seed in sourdough (for example,ย here and here) have been quite successful. I think they help with ย the moistureย even though they lack the gluten so they take up only a small part of the total doughย (other wise the loaf does not riseย – I know by experience – unless you want a flat and stiff loaf, do not try to have a loaf with only rolled oat).

Anyways, I saw and purchased the rolled rye a couple of weeks ago. Honestly I have no idea what it could be used for, but I thought it would be a nice addition to my baking adventures and a nice ornament for the crust. I was not wrong.

This is the biggest loaf I have ever baked so far; thus rather than a boule I opted out for a baton loaf (I thought it would bake more evenly). Also, I proved the dough in a large plastic bag that kept it somewhat warm (something like a greenhouse effect). I am glad I remembered to do this as I think it reduced the proving time.

Recipe:

  • tend to the starter and prepare the levain as explained here
  • mix 1 cup of rolled rye with 1 cup of water, soak for 30 min
  • add the rye mixture, ย 1 1/4 cups of starter, 1 cup water, andย 2 tbs sugar together and mix well
  • add 4 cups of bread flour and 2 tbs of salt. Mix and form a shaggy dough. It will be a little bit sticky dough
  • stretch and fold 4-5 times at 30-60 min intervals
  • cover, wrap with a thick towel, and rise at room temp over night. My kitchen is around 17 C
  • the next morning, take the dough on a floured surface, expand and form a rectangular dough, and then fold over itself to form a baton shape
  • cover and rest for 10-15 min at room temp
  • re-shape if required and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet
  • cover with a thick towel and place in a large plastic bag; tie the ends of the bag and rest for 5 hours at room temp
  • pre-heat the oven at 375 F
  • wet the surface of the loafย with your hands and sprinkle with rolled rye. Gently press to make sure the flakes will stick. Score the loaf as you please
  • bake for 55 min
  • cool down and enjoy!

Happy baking!

The day of sourdough – Sunday

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You know I bake sourdoughย bread every Sunday.ย Since each dough, each loaf is different, Sundays are usually very exciting times for me ๐Ÿ™‚

This baby is part semolina sourdough – my second take on semolina.

My experience with semolina flour has been consistentlyย good really, but it is true that it does not rise, so I used only a cup in this loaf. There is something nice about it that helps yield a great dough, even though I cannot put my finger on it. Let me know if you have any idea ๐Ÿ™‚

Recipe:

Like other times, I fed the starter on Friday, and then again on Saturday morning.

On Saturday afternoon, I added 3/2 cup starter, 1 cup water, and 2 tbs sugar and mixed it well with a fork. Then I added 1 cup semolinaย flour, 3/2 cup bread flour, and 1.5 tbs salt and mixed everything well using my hand.ย 

The rest is very similar to other times (check this) except that I proved the loaf at room temperature for 8 hours today – only because I stepped out for a quick shopping trip, bumped into friends, and spent (lovely) time with them,ย so when I returned back home it was already 8 hours of proofing ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

I was scared that it would be over-proved, but it was not – the loaf turned out to be great; I think if it was sticky, it would not shape this well and would possibly end up being over-proven. So I feelย lucky this time ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Happy baking! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

oat and flax seed sourdough

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I surprised myself with this loaf; if you are looking for a change in the taste of your sourdough loaf, I would highly recommend you to give this one a try. This loaf tastes very realistically “nutty” because of the oat. I plan to bake a loaf only with oat and levain next time – let’s see how that will turn out.

I think it is true when they say that salt brings in the flavor. Salt level in the recipe may be too much for many, so feel free to use less, but for me it was great.ย 

 

Recipe:

Friday: feed the starter with 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup water, wrap in a towel, and rest at room temp overnight.

Saturday: The next morning, feed ย the starter again and divide into two; one part to go to fridge and the other one to rest at room temp, wrapped in a towel for a few hours, which will be used in bread.

Once the levain seems bubbly;

  • Add 1 cup rolled oat and 1/2 cup of flax seed to 1 cup of water, mix and let stand for 30 min or so
  • Add to the oat/flax seed mix, 1 cup levain, 1 cup water, 2 tbs sugar and mix well
  • Add to this mixture 1.5 tbs of salt and 3 cups+2 tbs of bread flour. Mix and form a shaggy and sticky dough, cover with a towel, and rest for 20 min. At this step the dough does not have to be perfect and there is no need to knead.
  • Stretch and fold ever 20-30 min 4 or 5 times. Honestly I put my hands on the dough whenever I had time ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Cover with a towel and rest at room temp over-night

Sunday:ย In the morning:

  • Take the dough on a counter sprinkled with flour, stretch and form a rectangular dough, and then fold over to form aย round dough. Cover and rest for 10 min
  • Check the shape, re-shape if needed, and try to form surface tension by pulling the dough towards yourself on the counter, repeat 10-15 times till it feels alright. I also “swirled” it around with the hope that it would keep its round shape
  • Wet your hands and touch on the surface to make it a little bit wet. Apply rolled oats and gently press on them to make sure they stick, turn the dough upside down, and place itย in a proofing basket (in my case a mixing bowl) covered withย a baking towel. Cover and proof at room temp for 3.5 hoursย 
  • Turn on the oven at 375 F, take the dough on a baking sheet/parchment paper seam side at the bottom, score, and place in the oven. I no longer pre-heat my oven.
  • Bake 50 min uncovered, then 10 min covered, and then another 10 min without cover.
  • Take out of the oven and cool down.

Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

improvised two loaves of sourdough today

 

Yesterday I visited a bulk-produce retailer and bought myself some flax seed, rolled oats, and some other dry food atย very affordable prices!!!

This excitement had to be experienced – I love it when I can get great food at such low prices. I feel gratefulย ๐Ÿ™‚

This being said, I have bought the rolled oats and the flax seed to experiment/improvise newย bread recipes. So, today I baked two different sourdough loaves – one with oat+bread flour and the other 100% whole wheat flour+flax seed.ย 

Boy – they are beautiful, do you not think? So soft, so nicely risen, such great oven spring, and the air bubbles inside are making me fall in love with each one of them.

It is official; I have the greatest sourdough starter ever, which I hope to bake with forever and ever… ๐Ÿ™‚

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Recipe

Levain: I have a 100% whole flour “Monster” starter that I feed with 2/3 cup whole wheat flour+1/3 cups+1 tbs water on Friday afternoon. I then let it rest at room temperature overnight wrapped in a thick towel. The next day I feed it again the same way; one hour later divide it into two: one part goes into the fridge till use next week, and the other continues to rise at room temperature for 5-6 hours. At that point it becomes very bubbly and that is always exciting to see this ๐Ÿ™‚

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Prior to preparing dough, I mix the levain with water and sugar to make the liquid base for doughย (my measurements were: 1+1/4 cups of levain, 1 cup of water, and 1.5 tbs of sugar)

Sourdough with rolled oat:

add 1/2 cup rolled oat and 1/2 cup water- mix and let stand for 20 min

add 1+1/5 cups of levain/water/sugar base, 1 cup of water,ย 2 cups of bread flour, and 1/2 tbs of salt. Mix well and form a shaggy dough – do not worry about kneading or forming the perfect dough. Just cover, rest, and *stretch and fold every 20 or 30 min or so for 4-5 times.

*I lately started to “slam” the dough to the mixing bowl 7-8 times during each stretch and fold, which I kind of feel like helps stretch and form the dough. It is a strange feeling to do this to my dough and yeast, but then it feels also right…Try if you wish.

Then, cover, wrap with towel, and let rise at room temperature over night (my kitchen is usually cold around 17C. If you are in a hot climate, you may rise the dough at the fridge).

 

100% whole wheat sourdough with flax seed:

Rinseย 1/2 cup of flax seed and add 1/2 cup water, let stand for 30 min

add 1+1/5 cups of levain/water/sugar base, 1 cup + 3 tbs of water, 2.5ย cups of whole wheatย flour, and 1/2 tbs of salt.ย Follow the procedure above.

Since whole wheat flour requires a little bit more water, Iย wet my hand before each stretch and fold to humidify the dough a little bit – it did help with a relatively softer dough. Alternatively you can add an additional 1-2 tbs of water while preparing the dough.

 

The next day; gently place the dough on a surface sprinkled with flour, deflate, stretch and form a rectangular shape, and fold & shape. Cover and let rest for 10 min. Shape again and place in proofing containers (i used a small mixing bowl for the oat loaves and a baking dish for the flax seed loaf).

Proofing time: 2.5 hours for the oat loaf, and 3.5 hours for the flax seed loaf

Baking: I recently started not to use roaster to bake my loaves. It gives a thinner crust and the oven spring is equally successful. I used a non-pre-heated oven for the oat loaf (375F, 50 min, baked uncovered). Once I was done with it, then I placed the flax seed loaf (pre-heated oven, 30 min open lid, 15 min closed lid, and 5 min open lid at 375F.)

Results, observations, and verdict: both loafs are gorgeous and better than what I thought I would get.

I know it is difficult to get the whole wheat flour rise so I was pretty impressed with the oven spring and the overall crumb of this lovely bread. It also had a nutty flavor and was an absolute delight even though for some the 100% whole wheat bread may sound a little bit intimidating.

The oat loaf was a delight from the beginning on – so easy to handle and the first rise was amazing with big air bubbles that I only had experienced with commercial yeast in the past. The taste of oat was undetectable but that is perfectly fine with me.

In both cases (oat and flax seed) the resting them on water prior to adding withย flour and water producesย a little bit sticky and mucus-like liquid, which I kind of think that helps with “binding” the dough. But of course we need a scientific proof for that.

I would certainly try these two loaves in the future and perhaps with the oat loaf I would increase the amount, just to see how the dough would respond.

Happy baking everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

oat sourdough

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smooth dough at the end of the stretch and fold episode
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what a beautiful loaf, waiting to be enjoyed ๐Ÿ™‚ )

 

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100% whole wheat and flax seed loaf

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at the end of the stretch and fold episodes – kind of tough dough. would be better if I had added an extra 1-2 tbs of water to dough. I made up for this by wetting my hands prior to handling it each time so that it could get some more hydration. it did work ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunday Sourdough anyone?

Friends; have a look at this 25% whole wheat – 75% bread flour sourdough!

Is it not magnificent? ๐Ÿ™‚

With no ego I can tell this is the finest loaf of mine yet.

Sticky dough absolutely pays off – in my experience sticky (that literally sticks lightly-but not overly to your hand when you stretch and fold, or otherwise handle it) yields the softest bread with the best crumb.

This one was baked on a cookie sheet at 375F for 50 min (for 20 min of which it was covered with a lid to prevent the surface from burning).

I no longer use the roaster to bake my loaves, which gives me loaves with much thinner crust (which I love)!

Happy baking everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚

! ๐Ÿ™‚