Monday, January 26, 2015

Barb Geiger Makes A no-KNEAD Bread

How to order one of my starters - CLICK Here

Customer Barb Geiger commented:


My first loaf was horrible – I added gluten to make up for the whole wheat and my dough was too wet to handle. It tasted fine and it had a lot of holes, but the crumb was more of an epoxy than anything else. I was trying to make no knead sourdough but my traditional no knead recipe needed some modifications. My second loaf was crackly and perfect, but I gave it away. But my third loaf was absolutely perfect and completely no knead and I didn’t have to share it with anyone. The tang was there in the back of the mouth and the crust and crumb were perfect. It’s even 30% wholewheat and you’d never know it for the taste and the softness and the crust is the best part of all.

I’ve made my own starter before, but nothing with this sourness. Thank you so much! I’ve been using the discard to make sourdough waffles on a silicone waffle pan nearly every morning which have been amazing, but I have three more pounds of sourdough bread dough in the fridge that just need to be formed into loafs and baked off. This is amazing, thank you!

I asked her to share her method and recipe.

Absolutely! It’s not mine, I found the technique on the net, but I had to make some adjustments. It seems complicated, but there’s a lot of hurry up and wait in this. Total work time is about 10-15 minutes and this dough lasts in a container in the fridge (with a hole in it) for up to two weeks, and the longer it sits, the better it is. It’s a variation of the Jim Leahy version of no knead bread and the artisan bread in 5 minutes technique by making more than just a pound at a time. I’ve used the 1-2-3 sourdough by Flo Makanai to use a sourdough starter instead of the ¼ tsp yeast per pound or so of flour. My addition is not shaping the dough at all. Using the frying pan and parchment paper technique was taken from artisanbreadbystev from youtube. I’ve only stood on the shoulders of giants and combined all their methods. Lots of steps but very little actual work. Maybe 15 minutes or so of you having to do something for the overnight process. Flour does its own thing, and the longer you let it sit, the yummier it gets. Everything in the supermarket uses chemicals to replace time, and that time is going to pass whether you have bread dough on the mantle or not.

It’s based on the 1-2-3 method, so:
one part of sourdough starter
2 parts dechlorinated water (I used a pitcher of water that’s been sitting on the counter for 3-4 hours and if I run out of that, bottled water)
3 parts flour (This was 50 ounces of white, 10 ounces of whole wheat)
Then the flavor additives:
1 loaf uses about a pound of flour, so for every pound of flour I try to use
1 ½ tsp of salt
2 tbs of honey
(If you’re using whole wheat, you can throw in a tsp of gluten. Totally optional)

Step 1: test your starter. If it produces enough CO2 to float in a cup of water, you’re good to go. If it can’t, add add 1/8th tsp yeast, jik per pound of flou. Early starters may need it, advanced starters will not.

Step 2: Feed your starter. I read somewhere the thicker your starter, the more sour the dough. I like feeding it 2 parts flour to 1 part water. This is an add some to some recipe. Wait 3-4 hours until it’s really bubbly and ready to go. The thicker the starter, the more sour it’s going to taste. Weigh your starter. This is your official part.

Step 3: Add twice the weight of your starter in declorinated water and your salt, sugar and yeast (but only if you have to. This recipe relies on trust in the process)

Step 4: Add three times the weight of your starter in whatever kind of flour you need. Most of it should be white bread flour. Try keeping it 80% white, 20% whatever, but add a tsp of gluten if you have it. If you don’t, don’t worry, your bread flour has lots of protein in it to carry the whatevers to bread perfection

Step 5: Mix in your flour. You’re going to have two different reactions to the mix: Oops! This is going to be soup, then 30 seconds later you’re going to think it’s going to be way too dry. If you have a Danish wire whisk, use it. We’ve been using an oatmeal spurtle. Back of wooden spoons work, too. Depending on how wet your starter is, you might need to add another ½- ¾ of a cup of water, but don’t worry if it’s terribly shaggy. That’s good. If it’s too runny, you’re going to get an epoxy hockey puck at the end result. The flour should be mixed up and you could probably add that last bit of water just to get the dry flour off the bottom, but don’t worry. This will work.

Other than feeding the starter, steps 2-5 should take less than five minutes. Cover your beast, name it something kindly, and put it somewhere warm. We keep ours on the mantle in a big bowl with a plate on top of it and a straw to make sure Herman can breathe. See attached bread dalek photo. I’ve since switched to a Tupperware with a whole in it.

Let it sit in the warm spot for 12 hours or overnight. I live in Canada and I have unheated an unheated boot room, so when it’s cold in the winter time, I put Herman outside in his Tupperware container once he’s been sitting out. You can leave him at room temperature for 18-24 hours, but that worries me. Sourdough is specifically meant to be kept at room temperature for ever, but any time you’re dealing with an agricultural ingredient, food safety should be #1.

Step 6: Take out a bread size lump. A lot of people suggest folding or rolling or pinching to make him be a better bread shaped thing, but I degas him in the Tupperware, put the piece of parchment paper down on a non-stick frying pan, and stretch him out as far as he can go and the dump him in the 10” skillet. I dust him with more flour, cover him with another parchment paper, and wait 3 hours with the bread dough, now named Herman Jr. on the mantle. If he’s not been chilled at all, you only need an hour proof or so. To the point where you poke him and he doesn’t get huffy and push that dough right back out at you.

Step 7: After Herman Jr. Has been waiting three hours and has formed a nice dry crust around him, I heat up my enamel cast iron pot. I’ve tried a 3 quart that fits him perfectly and a 5 quart which seems too big, and he does way better in the too big pot. Heat the oven and the pot for 30 full minutes @ 500 degrees. I keep a pizza stone in the oven to keep the oven hot.

Step 8: When the oven’s ready, slash Herman open with something (I uses scissors…usually, in the photo he’s un slashed. Slashing the loaf gives oven spring more of a chance, but he turned out perfect as was). Then open the door, gather up the edges of the parchment paper Herman Jr’s been resting on, drop him in the cast iron pot gently, cover and bake for 30 minutes. I’ve kept the oven @ 500 and at 450 and it doesn’t seem to make a difference.

Step 8: After 30 minutes, remove the lid and the parchment paper from under Herman, turn oven down to 350 degrees, and bake 10-20 minutes. 10 minutes if he’s a smaller loaf, 15 if he’s bigger, 20 if he’s huge. The darker he is, the better he crust. If it goes a very dark brown, don’t worry, he’ll taste amazing. At home chefs don’t let things brown as much as professional kitchens do, and brown is where the flavour is)

Step 9: THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. Wait for Herman to cool ALL THE WAY DOWN before slicing. I know hot buttered bread is engrained in our DNA, but the starch in Herman is still in a gel-like state. Popcorn starch goes from a gel to a sold in milliseconds. Bread starch takes longer. If you absolutely need to have that fresh from the oven scorching hot melted butter experience, make buns instead so you’re only sacrificing one to the gummy-gods, not your whole effort.

I know this seems like a lot of steps, but most of it is hurry up and wait. Feed your starter, wait, add water, honey, salt, and mixing in the flour is about five minutes of work, and that’s the hardest part. The bread should be cooked by the pound. The cooking seems complicated, but you get the hang of it. Take about a pound of your dough, let it rise a second time in a warm place. Preheat oven + pot with a lid, slash bread, put bread in pot, wait 30 minutes, uncover and take paper away, bake 10-15 minutes, rest it. It’s about 10 minutes total time, you can do it on a Saturday/Sunday then have bread dough in the fridge for the next two weeks.

It’s amazing what you can do when the dough’s just waiting for you to use it. You’ll never order pizza again when you can have the most amazing sourdough crust on your table in under an hour, 40 minutes of which is allowing the stretched dough to rise and 10 minutes of that is cooking. Real Italian pizza is just bread dough and cheese, and when you taste this, you’ll understand why it doesn’t need anything else. This is simple enough to let the kids shape the dough after school and have it ready for you to cook when you get home. Teenagers can put the pot and the lid in the oven and turn it on to high, but I really suggest the adult be the one to actually gather up the parchment paper and put hot things in hot places.

How to order one of my starters - CLICK Here

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How Long Does It Take to Get My Order? and Biscuits!

For those of you in Canada, in case you are wondering how long it takes to get your order, here is a note I received yesterday from Barb in Lethbridge Alberta  Canada. Her order was shipped on the 29th of December and she received it on 1/12/2015. Her order was for all ten of my starters. In all it took 14 days. 

From Barb on 12/27/2014
"I’ve been looking for a sourdough seller for years! I didn’t realize you could ship it across the border. I was so happy to find you!..."

From Barb on 1/12/2014

Hi, Bill!

Your package arrived today! I’ve never been so excited to receive a powdered substance in the mail before! Your packaging so well done! Also, I realize now every sentence but this one ended with an exclamation point and I’m usually a lot more reserved with my punctuation. This is going to give me so much enjoyment. Thanks so much!

Lethbridge Alberta

How to Order one of my sourdough starters.

If you like biscuits and sourdough you will love my Sourdough Biscuits. Pre-Heat to 375F/190C

2 Cups fully active Sourdough Starter
1-2 Cups Flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda

You need an active and bubbly starter. Any of my sourdough starters will do. In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Stir until you have a soft dough formed. The amount of flour used depends on the consistency of the sourdough starter.

Knead the dough briefly on a floured surface. Fprm it into a square about ½ inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on a greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour.

Baking Your Biscuits: Place in your pre-heated oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Brush the tops with melted butter if desired. Serve away!

Sourdough Biscuits