Friday, December 5, 2008

Oops, I lied!

Yesterday when Big John asked if I had cooked anything interesting lately, I said no, but that wasn't exactly true. My mental storage was filled with Thanksgiving food, which while tasty, isn't exactly blog worthy (except the Red Rooster, which is always a hit). Outside of Thanksgiving food, I've been experimenting with sourdough bread leavened entirely from the wild yeast in the sourdough - no yeast added. I became a nutso fan in San Francisco, where everything seems to be served in sourdough bread of some form. I tried to create my own starter a few times, without success, and finally sent off for a dried starter. Carl Griffith's starter, in case anyone else wants to give it a go.

I've made 2 loaves so far, as well as some pancakes and a batch of biscuits. I rated the biscuits as "Meh," but the pancakes were pretty good. The bread, on the other hand, was really good. Both loaves were mighty fine taste-wise, but both of them split along the bottom edge, which made them sub-par in my obsessive-compulsive eyes. I posted a plea for help on a cooking forum and have a couple of tricks to try next time: 1. Slash the loaf deeply right before baking and 2. Add a pan of hot water to the oven during baking, to keep the crust flexible. I'm going to try tip #1 first, since the crust on the last loaf was bread perfection - crispy, crackly and a little carmelized. I don't want to lose that, just keep it from exploding along the bottom.

Pretty side

Split side

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