Sunday, November 10, 2013

What are you baking, Victoria?

The last few weeks have seen me more in the kitchen then usual for I have developed a liking - no - a heavy crush on baking with sourdough. After the first awkward trials I have found my recipe, which is a very satisfying organic spelt sourdough bread. I use the no-kneed method, explained in detail on the very helpful Breadtopia website. 
And low and behold I have become more expertly about the doughs. Lately I have also begun to make sourdough pancakes and rolls as well. I know, the possibilities are endless. In our case, we try to stick to low gluten or gluten free baking, which is occasionally a challenge, since most traditional recipes do not calculate for the different ingredients. So it's a lot of trial and error and a lot of fantastic searching online, where I have found many related blogs, sites and talented people, always willing to listen and to give advise.
It's a particular community of bread bakers out there and I feel a little related already.

The very first sourdough bread, still not properly risen due to the lack of a good baking vessel.
But tasty nevertheless.

After I had been given a starter from a friend, together we were off baking different combinations of grains, but I very quickly ended up with pure organic spelt sourdough. It is a mildly nutty tasting bread, enhanced through the sweet and sour taste of the wild yeast fermentation. 

Another trial in a Dutch oven. Better, but not perfect.

I have learned to deal with my mother starter, how to feed it before baking and it's dormant fridge stage. 

My Dutch oven, now used for the baked bread storage. (Ideal!)

Useful dough lifter

The flour I use the most.

I know how important room temperature and proofing times are and have become more adventurous. I also bought a Roemertopf, a German made clay pot with lid which has become my go to option for best bread baking results. Is is  the particular baking climate under the dome, which ensures a crusty outside with a wonderful moist inside.

I also use a proper proofing basket, which gives the flour pattern you can see. This one, bread #3 was the first really good one!

A yeast whole wheat bread baked for a friend in the Roemertopf.

Taking care of the starter is important, this guarantees the proper rising and end result!

As with any art, it gets better with practice...

Below is the starter out of the fridge. I removed about a quarter cup to remain as mother starter and then fed these ones with equal amounts of flour and water by weight. They became lively, grew and were bubbly the next morning. I baked my bread, prepared the dough for the rolls and used the leftovers in the pancakes.

And this is after, when I used the leftover starter to make sourdough pancakes, which are unbelievably tasty, savory enough to eat it with a spread of goat cheese, some fig jam or sweeter, with maple syrup and blueberries.

2 cups of sourdough starter, well fed and bubbly.

You can see the ingredients for the pancakes:  2 cups starter, 1egg, 1tsp baking powder, 2 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil) , 2 tsp agave syrup (or other sweetener), 2 tbsp almond milk (or any other milk) a pinch of sea salt. Mix, let rest for a few minutes and bake on griddle or pan.

They freeze well. Let cool, separate with wax paper and freeze.
Take out as needed. They are great for a quick lunch.

Yesterday I ventured out into roll baking after I had found a recipe online here. I altered the combination of grains, using a ready made gluten free baking mix with spelt flour and proceeded without the fruit addition.
They turned out ok, not the expected color, but dense and after I cut one open, fully baked. The crust was a little thicker  on the bottom then I hoped for, but I will adjust the baking time and temperature. Little hick ups along the way....

After overnight resting in the fridge the dough needs quite long to develop.
After two hours of rising shaping of the rolls.... and then another 2 hour rising.

After they are wetted gently with water they are sprinkled with chia seeds.
15 min 480 F , 15 min 400F , this was a bit too much, I will lower the initial baking time as well as the second, might stick to the time.

They smell divine!

Bread and rolls need also time to rest after baking. So I usually resist the urge to cut right into it. Bread can sit to cool for at least 6 hour or longer and then stored in an airtight container. I do not wrap the bread in any foils, it  makes bread too soft and even might end up moldy. 
A great side to learn about starters and baking is here.

Today's bread.

Maybe I have indulged myself too much about my baking adventures, I apologize, but I cannot help myself.
I am ready to give tutorial to whomever needs help or wants to get started. Baking is such a sweet hobby and it fills a gap in the healthy foods I include in my wheat and dairy free diet. For me, as a German, living without bread is simply impossible!

Happy baking!

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