Quote from Intro:

"Anyone can cook, and most everyone should. It's a sorry sign that many people consider cooking 'from scratch' an unusual and even rare talent.
In fact, it is a simple and rewarding craft, one that anyone can learn and even succeed at from the get-go."
-Bittman, HTCE

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sourdough Bread

Recipe: Sourdough Bread
Page: HTCE p. 858
Rating: *****

We make the sourdough bread weekly.

Pros: EASY, CHEAP, TASTY. It also keeps well for a while; this is a common trait of sourdough breads compared to standard yeast breads and is a nice feature--it enables you to bake the bread earlier in the day or the day before you want/need it and it's still excellent.

Cons: Bittman doesn't follow through on his promise in the first paragraph for telling us how to make the bread more "flavorful" (i.e. more sour).

I make mine in the food processor like he instructs, beginning originally with his directions for creating the starter. I'm aware that this isn't a "true" or "pure" sourdough since he adds yeast to his starter. Nonetheless, it is a sourdough starter, regardless of its purity in the minds of all the sourdough aficionados out there. I feed the starter at night, leave it in the processor overnight, dump half back into my quart Mason jar, and use the remainder for bread, just like he says. I think I add more flour than called for, but it makes an enormous loaf. I frequently add white whole wheat flour when I make the actual bread, so it doesn't rise quite as high as the picture shows. I always keep the salt and yeast the same, even if I end up adding more flour.

This bread has a very mild sourdough taste--it's getting a tiny bit more sour as my starter ages, but it's not nearly as sour as the sourdough bread you might buy at Panera. It's a leisurely bread to make--hard to do on the spur of the moment, but easy to work into your usual routine. It really takes mere minutes in the morning to add the flour/salt/yeast and then mere minutes later in the day to form a loaf. Because it rises so slowly, you can pretty much forget about it until it's convenient. No rushing home from the store, worried that your bread over-proofed.

I've made rolls and loaves out of it. We use it to go with soups, for toast in the mornings (superb with butter and honey), for sandwiches (great pb&j!), and so forth. I've even tried the sourdough pancakes, but I'll save those for another post :).

Highly recommend this, especially if you're trying to go healthier and more frugal. Sourdough bread is better for your blood sugar than yeast bread, and this bread is super cheap since there isn't any added oil, honey, milk, and so forth.

HTCE p. 858
HTCEV p.710

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