This week marks the first edition of a new feature here at Mrs Dull’s Nourished Kitchen called “My Routine”. For those who have read and are working thru the steps in “10 Steps to Cooking Like a Modern Day Granny Woman” this is a place to talk about bringing these new Real Food routines into your life and household. I am so excited to have a regular home where we can talk about these changes we are making in our lives! If you don’t have your copy yet, simply subscribe to the email list using the box on the right and you’ll receive one. Then join in and share with us how it’s going :-).
The Story of My New Routine: Refrigerator Sourdough
I’ve been wanting to make homemade bread a part of my regular routine for oh so long! Stretching back a few years at least. And I’ve learned so much during this time that my approach has changed multiple times, with none of them working out very well, either as a routine or nutritionally. Now thanks to Wardeh of Gnowfglins, I think I have something I can make a regular routine! This is so exciting!
Back when my oldest was a baby (he’s 23 now) I used to bake every weekend. Had a really nice rhythm going. I made heavy loaves of whole wheat bread or large batches of muffins which I froze. Then when my second came along, between work, housework and caring for the wee ones I lost that groove. But I did find some similar loaves at a bakery and at whole foods, so I felt pretty satisfied. I didn’t know about soaking grains at that time.
So when I learned about soaking grains I was again discontent with my store whole wheat bread. But what to do? I didn’t have much time for baking. So tried a few ideas for yeasted breads. This is over a period of years. They all took more time than I had, and didn’t produce a loaf I liked. I really, really wanted to remove the commercial yeast. Never had cared for the flavor it imparts to a loaf, and when I learned that in many brands the yeasty beasties are GMO, well that clinched it. I needed to learn to reliably and quickly make sourdough bread so that it would fit in as a regular kitchen routine. You might think I decided this recently :-). Well, no, I decided this over a year ago :-O. So why so long to actually do it? And bear in mind that this whole time we are eating a good, but not soaked whole grain bread from the store.
Some people dive into new routines whole hog. Some people dip their toes in, meditate on it a little and make adjustments, and then dive in whole hog ;-). Guess which one I am. I tend to be a planner and ponderer, so I thought a lot about it and read a lot about it. When I’ve completely thought it over then I dive in. Thanks to Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette and her refrigerator dough (for plain white bread) I realized that it might be possible to make a dough and then store it in the fridge for later use. Then later, found references to 5-minute artisan bread. I thought, this is near perfect! Now I just need a sourdough version. Well, the authors didn’t have one yet. And I still didn’t have a starter. so knowing I was close, I ordered a starter from Cultures for Health. Over the holidays I woke it up.
Ok, so now I’ve got a starter and not much clue how to use it. The first month or two I’m just feeding it. Getting an idea for how slowly I do stuff like this ;-)? Then I decide to try a recipe of my own making, even though I’ve never made a sourdough bread before, such was my desire for that perfect 5-minute artisan sourdough loaf! And boy did it ever fail … wish I had pics. Basically it was a brick. Back to the drawing board. My next loaf was runny, and I mean it completely flattened out like a pita bread! Back to the drawing board. Then enter Gnowfglins …
I had already subscribed to Wardeh’s ecourse, and then happened to read somewhere that she had a great sourdough recipe where you could keep the dough in the refrigerator! I was ecstatic! All the trial and error had already been done so I could just run with Wardeh’s recipe! So I grew a large enough starter (3 cups) and gave it a go. Well, my first try was kinda weird. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bread turn out so funny :-). It was delicious on the outside and had a hollow core of completely uncooked dough (see pic). So next I tried making rolls with the dough thinking I needed more practice to get the bread right. And the rolls were perfect!
This is a routine I can do even though I’m away from home the bulk of the week. Each weekend I simply grind some flour, mix up a batch and put it in the fridge. When I get home from work I can take some dough out and let it warm up / rise a little then pop it in the oven while the rest of dinner cooks. Voila, fresh sourdough bread whenever we want it! Amazing! So this is my new routine.
What’s your new routine? What would you like to start up but haven’t started on yet? If you’ve read the “10 steps” guide what step are you on?