Sourdough Bread – Take 1

I finally decided that I needed to take the plunge and make a loaf of sourdough with my new starter.  I was a little anxious about it, but thanks to Emilie’s Sourdough Beginners Guide at the Clever Carrot I am feeling like I might be able to pull this off.

I tested my starter – it floated (a little?) and added some to the filtered water, olive oil and flour called for (see the site linked above for the recipe).  I let that autolyse for 30 minutes and then added the salt (grey fleur de see).  I’ve rigged up a little proofing area on the counter with a lamp and 60W bulb to see if I can warm things up a bit.

proofing SD2

Every 30 minutes I pull the dough up and fold it over on itself.  Pull and fold four times – with a ninety degree turn of the bowl each time then cover it back up and wait.  The folding and turning happens during the first two hours, then it’s just a long? wait until the dough is about 150% of the original volume.

I left it overnight in the refrigerator to proof.  It was puffy and lovely in the morning and  I left it until about the afternoon to bake.  I preheated the cloche to 450 degrees then side the dough in and popped on the cover.  It baked for 20 minutes and then I lowered the temperature to 400 degrees for another 20 minutes.  Lastly, I removed the top and cooked another 5 minutes.

IMG_1353 IMG_1354



Forgotten Skills – sourdough and butter

This afternoon I started a new sourdough culture, signed up for an online bagel class and cultured a quart of cream for butter……

I was gifted a dry San Francisco sourdough starter from a very nice man that lives near-by.  Today I combined it with 1 cup of warm spring water (85 degrees) and 1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour.  I put it into a warm place (85 to 90 degrees – bottom drawer of a dresser that sits over a heat vent) for four hours. At the end of 4 hours I took off 1/2 cup of the mixture, which was doing nothing, and added another 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of warm water.  Now it’s back in the drawer, tucked in for the night.


I finished up this evening by culturing a quart of cream with a creme fraiche culture to thicken it up for butter making tomorrow.  I just heated up the cream to 86 degrees, dissolved in the culture and now it’s resting on the counter until morning.IMG_1291

I also signed up for an online Bake the Best Bagels course on Udemy.  It’s taught by Teresa Greenway and was on a flash sale for $9.99.  It looks like it will be a lot of fun.Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 9.49.26 PM


Bundt cake and Thrift Store Finds

Today is Samhain, the day the summer comes to its end and the winter dark takes over.  We went to the local thrift shop and found some lovely items that had been carefully weeded from another home…..

I found a lovely hand made pottery jar.  I love knowing that hands have touched clay to make this work of art and that someone’s thoughts sorted out how to apply the glazes.12208805_554950017996691_5843906502996138087_n

I also found a wonderful, warm pair of Haflinger slippers.  They look almost new and are the perfect size.  My toes are so toasty and happy.


My most beautiful find is a Simplex Copper Tea Kettle.  It is made in England and has a wonderful whistle when it’s hot.  I still love my electric kettle, but this is just so beautiful that I made convert back to stovetop.


Last Sunday I found a stoneware bundt pan.  So I decided to try it out this weekend with a chocolate cake to celebrate Samhain.  The recipe looks great.  here’s hoping it won’t stick too badly.

Chocolate Cream Bundt Cakeimage

For the cake:

  • 1 c butter
  • 1/3 c cocoa powder
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 c water
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 c castor sugar
  • 1 1/2 t soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the glaze:

  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 T corn syrup
  • 1/2 c cream
  • 1 1/2 T castor sugar
  1. Prehat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour a 10 or 12-cup Bundt pan and set aside.
  3. Combine the butter, cocoa powder, salt, and water and place in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Mix together the flour, sugar, and soda. Add about half of the butter mixture and blend. Add the remaining butter mixture and whisk until well combined. Blend in  the eggs, one at a time, and then the sour cream and vanilla.
  5. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until done.
  6. Cover the cake with a baking tray and let the it cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes and then invert onto a rack. Let cool completely before glazing.
  7. While the cake is cooling, add the chopped chocolate and corn syrup to a medium bowl and set aside. Combine the heavy cream and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium until the cream is hot and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.
  8. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.

Summer Vacation – Day 6

This may be a good day for reading.  It’s 10:30 in the morning and already 77 degrees out.

I made buttermilk biscuits and country gravy for the boys this morning.  We add fresh rosemary to both the biscuits and the gravy and they all seem to love it.

buscuits and gravy The biscuits are great on their own too. With a little clotted cream and some hedgerow jelly.

Buttermilk Biscuits
     Combine and blendbiscuits

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1.5 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • .75 t baking soda

Cut in 1.5 sticks of cold butter the add 1 – 1.25 cups buttermilk (no buttermilk, no problem, just add a T or so of lemon juice to regular milk).  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.

I’ve been trying to tackle small. manageable jobs this summer during the heat.  This morning I worked on the side entrance that leads into the dog run behind the garage.  There was a bunch of cedar chips, leaves and dirt all over the sidewalk, the fig tree was attacking everyone that tried to pass by and the bike rack and old water barrel that we never use was just piled up (for two years).  I moved out the junk, built a support for the floppy fig branches, swept up , weeded and put the recycling and waste bins in their places.

Thanksgiving 2014 – Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 1 sugar pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  1. cut in half
  2. scoop out seeds and slime
  3. add 1/4 cup brown sugar to each half
  4. wrap in foil
  5. bake at 350 degrees until soft (about two hours)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 t dried ginger
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 t ground cloves
  • 6 beaten eggs

6. Combine the following – I use the food processor

  • Scoop out pumpkin fresh while still hot (pour off and retain liquid) – you’ll need 3 cups
  • mix in cream cheese
  • add in other ingredients

7.  Pour into pie shells and bake at 350 degrees about 50 minutes or until the center in set (barely jiggles)


Thanksgiving 2014 – Apple Pie

Apple Pie Filling:

  • 2 pounds Granny Smith apples (4 medium)
  • 2 pounds Newton Pippen apples (4 medium) 5 medium
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar to finish
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, from 1 medium lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. Peel, core and cut the apples the into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices
  3. Toss the apples with the 3/4 cup of sugar, lemon juice and zest, salt, cinnamon and allspice.
  4. Pour the mixture, along with the juices, into a chilled pie shell, mounding the apples in the center.
  5. Roll out another dough for the top of the pie.
  6. Trimming and tucking this dough underneath so that the folded edge is even with the edge of the pie pan. Crimp the edging or press with fork to seal.
  7. Cut vents in the dough top.
  8. Brush egg white onto top of the crust and sprinkle evenly with the reserved sugar.
  9. Bake at 425 degrees until the top crust is light golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  10. Reduce the oven to 375 degrees  and continue baking until the juices bubble and the crust is a deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer.
  11. Transfer the pie to a rack to cool to room temperature.