Category Archives: bread

Day Thirty Seven! Or What have I been doing for the last month?

Wow!  Has it already been a month since my last post?  I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.  That’s what they say at least.

In the last month my sourdough starter has blossomed wonderfully and I have made several batches of sourdough bread with it.  Some just came out of the oven earlier tonight and I have another batch sitting in the bowl proofing over night.

I am of the over night proof school.  I know there are several people that say you don’t have to do this.  You can just let it sit for a few hours and then bake it off.  I like letting it set over night.  That way when I get the urge to make some bread and it’s almost bed time I can just take a few minutes to mix it up and bake it tomorrow.

I have been using a recipe I found online and will post below.  Until tonight I had been kneading the dough before letting it bulk proof.  Tonight I have decided to just mix it enough to get the ingredients incorporated and then knead tomorrow before shaping and final proofing. I am hoping that this will give me a smoother more finely textured sourdough that isn’t as tough as what I have been getting.  Either way I will let you know.

Since my last post I have also, finally, found a job.  It’s not a great job and it’s not even full time but it is a job.  With my unemployment scheduled to run out at the end of March it couldn’t have come at a better time.  I’m not going to tell you where I work just that it’s one of the big box stores.  I am an overnight stocker.  So four days a week from 10 pm to 7 am I get to open cases of stuff and put it on the shelves so all you crazy little shoppers can come in the next day and mess up my pretty shelves by putting stuff you changed your mind about back on some random shelf in the wrong aisle where it doesn’t belong.

But hey it’s job security.  So you keep messing up my shelves.  It’s ok.  But please if you change your mind on something refrigerated please at least put it back on a refrigerated shelf.  Anything we find that isn’t we take a loss on.  That means your prices go up.  So save us all some money and put it back somewhere cold.  Please and thank you.

Also this last month I opened a jar of my giardiniera.  I have to say that it is by far my favorite thing I’ve canned.  The two best things in it are the mushrooms and the red bell pepper.  Oh so yummy.  I will be making this again when I run out.

I also made Pineapple Orange Guava jelly.  As my roommate says, mouthgasm.  I haven’t had any, on say a pb&j sammich or in my yogurt, other than just the foam that I skimmed off the top.  But that was so yummy good I can’t wait to have more.  However, I’m being good and not cracking a jar until the Peach Orange Mango I already opened is gone.  I am NOT going to have a fridge full of jars and no room for anything else.

I just made my own mustard yesterday/today too.  It is so much better than any store bought stuff I have ever had.  I was raised on that nasty French’s yellow stuff that was so cheap in the store and I can’t stand.  If that’s all we have I will refuse anything that normally I’d put mustard on.  No hotdogs, no deli meat sammiches.  Nothing.

It’s a rather spicy beer horseradish mustard that I, again, got off the interwebs here.  It’s also amazingly easy to make.  Just soak the seeds over night, or in my case about 7 hours while I slept, then blend in the blender.  I am going to have to get an immersion blender one of these days.  Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I like my mustard a bit grainy, my roommate does not.  Too bad for him.  I’m making it so I get to decide the final consistency not him.  So it sits in my fridge waiting to mature a bit more.  I had some tonight anyway.  I’m not known for my ability to wait for these kinds of things.  I already have lots of ideas for other mustards, red wine, garlic and rosemary sounds really good right about now.

I have also been given an idea for a logo/header finally.  I’ve been asking for it for a while now and finally got the idea but not the execution.  S’ok though because I know how to use Photoshop and Illustrator too.  So look for that in the next day or week.

Sourdough Bread from starter

Get this:

  • 1 cup starter
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 6 cups flour

Do this:

  1. Combine starter, water, salt, sugar, and oil in a large bowl. Sift, or don’t, the 6 cups of flour into the other stuff and mix to combine into a well blended dough. No little bits of flour or anything else should be left unincorporated. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise over night.
  2. Tomorrow, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Cut it in half and either place into 2 greased 4 x 8 loaf pans or roll into slightly flat balls. (I will be recording a video and posting it to the YouTubes on how to do this.) Let rise until double in size.
  3. Bake at 350° F for 40 to 45 min, or until bread is golden brown and taps hollow on the bottom. Take/Turn out the bread to cool on wire racks.

Day Three! Or it’s my blog and I’ll call my posts whatever I damn well please!

Day three has come and gone.  It is now day seven of my starter.  Like an idiot I forgot to take a picture of my starter before shaking it up to pour some out on day three.  However, it was all bubbly and smelled bad.  And by bad I mean good.  Just like sourdough is supposed to smell.

Glancing at it right now I think I may need to start over.  I have neglected it for the last few days.  In fact the last day I fed it was last Friday the 27th when I started this post.  It’s been 5 days with no food.  I’m going to give it a good whiff before I dump the whole thing.  If that’s the case and I have to start over I promise to take better pictures for y’all.

In the mean time I HAVE been doing things in the kitchen.  I made and canned a batch of giardinieria by cobbling together two separate recipes and making some of it up on my own.  The full recipe will be included below.

Completed and processed Giardiniera

Completed and processed Giardiniera

Right now I have some gingered pear preserves on the stove to simmer and make the pears all yummy and squishy.  I made my own candied ginger for the recipe.  I figured about $2.00 for the ginger and some time was better than $9.00 for a bottle of it in the spice isle.  All of these recipes will be included, or linked, below.

Pears cooking down

Pears cooking down before packing and processing

I will of course include finished pics after canning and processing. On a side note there are a lot of people out there that say that you need a melon baller to core the pears.  If your pears are ripe then you can just use a regular spoon to get the core out.  Just start at one end of the pear and slide it through to the opposite side and beautiful cored pears. Now for the recipes

HFV’s Giardiniera

Vege’s

  • 1 lb mushrooms
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 2 yellow squash

Brine

  • 2 tsps. black or brown mustard seeds (or substitute yellow)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 4 cups cider vinegar
  • 10 medium cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
  • 6 1/4-inch-thick slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 2 tsps. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Cut up the vege’s into about equal size pieces. For the mushrooms I cut them either in half or quarters after trimming the stem as close to the head as possible. The cauliflower got cut into smaller pieces of just florets with the stem discarded. The red bell peppers got cut into quarters and then those pieces cut into thirds. Everything else got run through my mandolin on the 1/4 in setting.
  2. Put all the vege’s into salted water to sit for 24 hours. I would suggest putting the mushrooms into their own water as they have a tendency to turn brown and turn anything else in that water brown.
  3. After 24 hours drain the vege’s and refill the bowl(s) with clean water to sit for about an hour then drain again.
  4. Clean and sterilize 6 pint jars and lids.
  5. Put the mustard, and cumin seeds in a medium non-reactive saucepan. Toast the spices over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, garlic, ginger, onion, sugar, salt, peppercorns, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and 2 cups water to the toasted spices. Bring to a boil.
  6. Pack the vegetables into clean, hot pint jars. Pour the hot brine over the vegetables, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles by slowly raising and lowering a chopstick or a plastic blade around the inside of the jars (a trapped air bubble may shatter a jar as it heats). If you have extra brine, strain it and distribute the solids among the jars. Wipe the jars’ lids with a damp cloth before putting on the lids. Secure the lids with screw bands tightened by hand. Process for 10 minutes (Don’t forget to adjust for altitude. I had to process for 15 minutes). Store the pickles for at least 2 but preferably 7 days (or longer) before opening. Refrigerate after opening.

For the Gingered Pear Preserves you can go here.  For the Candied Ginger go here.

Day Two!

So today is technically day two after my starter was started even though day one was posted less than 24 hours ago.  What can I say I didn’t post as soon as I created.  So sue me!  Good luck getting any money you might win though.  Remember, I’m poor and unemployed.

Yesterday I got an order from my Bishop’s Storehouse and when I choose my 5lbs of fresh fruit I choose all pears.  So now I have 5lbs of slightly under ripe pears.  I looked at a lot of recipes online for what to do with these and I’m thinking I don’t want to do the regular light syrup bland boring canned pears we all had to eat as children.  I just don’t wanna, and you can’t make me.

So I’m going to make these Gingered Pear Preserves.  I like ginger and the orange color is just so pretty.  I’m stuck away from home right now as the roommates didn’t pay the cable bill so no internet.  I’ll be making them later tonight and posting pics probably tomorrow.  And most likely editing this tomorrow to remove all this I’ll post later crap.  Maybe.

I will also have in process pics and notes on whether or not all the work is worth it.  I will be testing this recipe for you.  Just for you.  Doesn’t that make you feel special?  It should.  I don’t do these things for just anybody.  Love me internets.  LOOOVVVEEE MEEEE!

Day One!

Wait!  Why is there a picture of some white stuff in a jar?

Starter Day 1 Top View

Starter day 1 top view

Hehe white stuff in a jar.  Oh, sorry.  You thought this would be a serious blog.  All full of vocabulary and correct grammar and stuff.  So sorry to disappoint people but sometimes I have a very immature sense of humor.  Sometimes I even cuss.

Back to reality now that you’ve woken up from your faint.  You might be saying things similar to this.  “I thought this blog was supposed to be about canning and pickling?  Right?  Did I click through to the wrong site?”

No.  You did not.  This blog will be, primarily, about pickling and canning.  However, I will throw in other stuff as I have mostly finished canning for this season and now I’m on to my baking obsession.  Also my cooking obsession.  Or my let’s make something in the kitchen obsession.  Also my figuring out new ways to use the random stuff I get from my local food bank obsession.  Breaded Catfish strips?

You see I am unemployed and therefore poor so I have to beg for food from my church and the state.  The stuff I get from the Bishop’s Storehouse is the same every 2 weeks and therefore easy to figure out what to make with it.  Does that last sentence make sense?  Oh well, you know what I’m trying to say!  It’s freakin 4 am and I’m tired so deal with my nonsensical ramblings!  Damn it!

However the stuff from the food bank is unpredictable, for example the first time I went I got 3 dozen eggs.  Needless to say frittata was made with the bacon I also got, and the goat cheese.  Oh the goat cheese.  Yummy, smooshy, slightly sharp goat cheese how my grown up palette loves you.  (I still have some in the fridge, don’t let my roommates know.  Also great on some bread with homemade apple butter. (Yes that recipe will be posted soon.))

So back to the white stuff in the jar.

Starter day 1 side view

Starter day 1 side view

That is my sourdough starter day one.  I had one before but lost it in a move.    So I finally started a new one after like 2 years without my yummy homemade sourdough bread.  It’s not hard.  I’ll tell you how in a sec.  But for one moment just bask in the awesomeness that is that $0.25 thrift store jar.

Didn’t see what was so awesome about it?  Let me help you with my not so awesome photoshop skills.

Close up of jar logo

Close up of the logo on the jar.

That is an honest to goodness Mason Jar!  A real one!  Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I’ve seen a real Mason Jar?!  Do you!?  I don’t even remember.  I’m sure my grandmother used them when I was younger and probably still has some floating around in her stash somewhere.  I call dibs when she finally passes.

Do you hear that Uncle C?  Mom?  They’re mine.  Do not just rent a giant dumpster and throw everything away like I know you’re going to want to do.  I will cut you!

Anyway, back to the starter.  I’m fine really.  You don’t need to call anyone, especially not the nice young men in their clean white coats.

In a clean jar, or bowl, or cleaned out large plastic container, mix equal parts flour and water (I used 3/4 cup each).  Stir, or as I did, shake vigorously til you have lots of air incorporated into the slurry.   If you used a jar take off the ring and loosen the lid so it’s not stuck on.  You want air flow.  If you used a bowl or other container that doesn’t have a lid that fits put a tea towel or other thin cloth over the top.

This will make CO2 and you don’t need that trapped inside.  You want it to escape the container.

I can hear the poor little CO2 bubbles.  Help meeeeeeeee!  I’m dying!  I can’t breathe!  For the love of god someone please let me out!

Everyday for the next week take out half your mixture and add the same amounts of flour and water you started it with.  So I would remove 3/4 a cup of the mixture, as I started with 3/4 cup flour and 3/4 cup water or 6/4 cups of ingredients (Yeah!  Math!),  and add another 3/4 cup each water and flour.  the next day I’d remove 1 1/8 cups of mix and add more flour and water.  Blah! Blah! Blah! are you even reading this anymore.

You get the idea my tired math aside.  Remove half the mix every day and add more fresh stuff to the mix every day.  After a week it should be all bubbly and smell like really really strong sourdough.  After that put it in the fridge and follow the above “feeding” weekly.

There are a few other things you need to do to your starter to make sure it’s successful.  I will cover those in the next few days as I post more in progress pics of my starter.