From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sourdough pizza - 1st try

Remona (sourdough starter) is going gung ho these days, I decided it was time to try my hand at making pizza dough.

I read a lot of recipes and NOT following any particular recipe, I used starter, salt, olive oil and white spelt.

I think I under hydrated the flour but that's what experimenting is all about.

I balled up and bagged the stiff (not enough water) dough and put it in the 'fridge for 2 days to sour.

On Friday I let it come to room temp (about 3 hours) and stretched it out into 2 rustic crusts.

Though under hydrated, the dough had a nice stretch to it and it formed up easily.

I docked (forked holes) the crust, sprinkled on oregano, garlic, parsley and then pre-baked it for 5 minutes at 550F.    And here's where the under hydration showed up, the dough didn't bubble up at all (maybe the docking?).

Anyway, I dusted my never-before-used-peel (hey Dave! LOL) with rice flour and pulled out the crusts.  On went my fave toppings: turkey pepperoni, hot picked peppers, moz and some jarred spaghetti sauce.  Alas, I had no mushrooms on hand.

The pizzas slid right off the peel onto the heated pizza stone and within 10 minutes (and 1 minute under the broiler) I had pizza.  Yep.  Pizza.  

The crust was okay.  The edges were toasted a bit too much and the shell was thin, but still had chew - it was not a cracker.  Not bad for a first effort.  I'd give the crust a 7+** on my perfect scale.  But WAY off the charts of any gluten-free crust I'd subjected myself to over the past 2 years.  Yeah, way better.

I'll just have to keep experimenting..... ;-D

** I'm revising this upwards to an 8.5 -- when reheated, the crust stays nice and chewy with no sog.  

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Remarkable Remona

Remona (my sourdough starter) is doing so well that I've been baking a lot.  (Can't wait to get my electric bill this month!  urg)

This past 60/40 loaf proofed higher than any previous batch.

Only thing different is the starter and maybe a little warmer on top of the living room armoir.

Anyway there was so much dough I feared it would be too much for the tin.

The dough swarmed right into all the corners and, after another 1.5 hrs proof, it didn't get much high.  *whew*

It baked up not as high as the previous loaf, but it's height was uniform across the loaf, no high peak in the middle.

So this loaf gave me consistent size slices from end to end, a great thing for sandwiches.

Another interesting thing is that this loaf didn't blow out at all.

One thing I did do was, in an attempt to get a softer upper crust, I brushed water and olive oil (sparingly) on the top before the bake.

The crust IS softer, but still nice and chewy.  Perhaps the softer crust allowed a better rise without the blowout?  Who knows.

I'm just a having fun.  :-D

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Baby Bear bread

In early January, before we all got sick and everything went south, I made up 2 loaves of spelt sourdough: 1 white/sifted spelt (left) & 1 wholegrain (right).  

The white was airy-er, taller and had a great stretch/chew.  The wholegrain was tighter, denser, and great, but not as great for sandwiches as the white.
So I decided to do up a 50-50 loaf, half wholegrain, half white.  

It was a big failure.  It never got done, and it was dense (only 3" tall) and gummy.   

I think it wasn't anything to do with the flour mix, but that I'd taken the sourdough starter out of the 'fridge that same day and used it.  I should have fed it a couple of days to get it's legs back under it.

So I tried again yesterday.

This time I used a 60/40 ratio (white/wholegrain).  

The starter had been doing a good job for a couple of days (had even made pancakes from the discarded slurry). 
  The finished loaf turned out great!  It did not reach the 5" mark as the 100% white (top pic right bottom frame), but it did reach 4", a good height for sandwich.

The color is lovely, not as tan as 100% white and not as brown as the 100% wholegrain.  It turned out golden with a nice crumb and good air.  I left the plastic on the fresh loaf for an hour to soften up the crust and it sliced up easily.  Another thing I did differently this time was to grease the bread tin with coconut oil.  The fresh loaf tipped right out.  Boy howdy that was nice.

So now I've got the whole thing sorted out: 60/40 flours, oiled tins, softened crust.  I'm good to go.  I've got only a pound or 2 of the white left so have ordered more from Small Valley Milling where they grind/sift their own organic flours.  The wholegrain I can get locally (Bob's Mill).  

Okay, pancakes - check.
Bread - check.

Next:  pizza.  Stay tuned.

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