Tasty Tuesday … To Knead or not to Knead! That is the Question!

26 comments
Cooking, Musings, Photography, Tasty Tuesday ..., Uncategorized, Vegan Dishes, Vegetarian Cooking

 

The pandemic has been a rather frightening and sobering experience and has made us appreciate many times over all the good things, friends and family in our lives. Thankfully no one close to us has gotten infected. But millions and millions of our fellow humans on this earth have not been so lucky, and way too many (here in the US alone over 250,000 fellow citizens) have died of Covid. And if you haven’t been hiding under a rock during 2020, you’ll also know that our current administration has done next to nothing about this ever-expanding health catastrophe! Many mornings I’m ready to have a good cry about the callous disregard for human life before I even have my cup of coffee. But truth be told, I try not to cry because I’m afraid that once the tears and sadness start to flow, I won’t be able to stop. We now have a new “President Elect” and I hope that come January 20th, we will have a turn-over that’s peaceful. But I’m not entirely convinced that all will go well as there are way too many Republican elected officials who seem to have lost not only their spines, but also any common sense and decency. After 40 years in the United States I am at a loss for words in regards to the sad State of this Union. Often I feel like I’m in a different country than the one I first got to know and love. Very sad and very concerning!

Enter Bread Baking Therapy!
Sourdough or Yeasted!
Knead or No Knead!
You decide!

Making my own sourdough starter and starting up baking bread again after many years of just buying it, has helped me channel my feelings. Early on in the pandemic, there was a shortage of not only baking yeast, but also flour. It took a few trips to the store and a mail-order from King Arthur Flour to procure these supplies. When I first made the sourdough starter, I logged onto King Arthur Flour where they have not only an easy to navigate website, but also an amazing assortment of recipes for all kinds of baking and of course their detailed and easy to follow instructions of how to start your own starter. All recipes are for both American and metric measurements. Here’s the link for the starter. Their recipes are easy to follow and I’ve been extremely happy with everything I’ve made from their website. One thing to remember is to read some of the review comments. I find them very helpful in that bakers explain what did and didn’t work for them. I also learned about Dutch Oven Bread! If you love really good crusty European style bread you need to invest in one of those cast iron Dutch ovens. At first I used my trusty old Le Creuset, but then read in a comment that those aren’t good for preheating empty at high temperatures. Luckily the enamel didn’t crack, but the pot did take a bit of a beating. I now use an un-enameled Dutch oven (American-made Lodge) that I got inexpensively since I had passed on my really well-seasoned old one from our Humboldt County days to one of our kids.

Anyway, once you have your sourdough starter going, it will have to be”fed” somewhat regularly. At those feedings you’ll need to remove some of what is called the “discard”, then feed the rest and keep that. The discard can of course be discarded, but King Arthur has a number of very tasty recipes you can be creative with. We love sourdough waffles, muffins and my latest discovery of an overnight no-knead sourdough that uses the discard. It has become my favorite bread. If you don’t want to use the discard, throw it in the garbage. Sourdough starter is extremely sticky and will mess up your garbage disposal and plumbing.

Vibrant lively sourdough starter has both large and small bubbles
and a wonderfully tangy aroma!

No Knead Overnight Sourdough Boule

This dough is best started in the evening as it rests and rises overnight.

  • 3/4 cup unfed (discard) sourdough starter (stir it down before measuring)
  • 1 1/4 cup room temperature filtered water
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour (I use a mix of bread and all purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Measure the water first in your measuring cup and then add the starter.
This way the starter slides right out of the measuring cup and is less messy. 😉
Pour this into a large bowl, add the flour and salt and mix with a spoon or your hands until combined.
It will be a very sticky and shaggy dough.
Don’t be tempted to add extra flour!
Cover the bowl with plastic or a kitchen towel and rest over night for 8 to 12 hours.
The next morning, lightly flour a large cutting board and turn out the dough.
Form a round using as little flour as possible to keep it from sticking to your hands.
Sprinkle some flour onto a piece of parchment paper and place the boule into the center.
Sprinkle a little more flour over the loaf and cover with the towel.
The loaf might not look perfect but will rise and bake nicely.
Let it rise for another 2 hours.
30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500° with an empty, lidded Dutch oven on the center rack.
Once the loaf is ready for the oven, very carefully take the pot out and take off the lid.
Pick up the corners of the parchment paper and plop the bread into the center of the pot, paper and all.
Quickly cut a cross or # into the loaf with a very sharp knife and put the lid back on.
Bake the bread for 30 minutes with the lid on.
Then remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes.
Once the loaf’s done, cool it on a bakers rack.
Let the bread cool for at least an hour before cutting.

Yeasted Overnight French Bread

The process is the same, except for the ingredients and baking temperature.

  • 3 cups flour plus a little extra for later
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coarse cornmeal
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ground flax seed or hemp hearts
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl. No kneading needed! 😉
Cover with plastic or a kitchen towel and leave at room temperature overnight.
This dough too will be very sticky.
Before you shape your loaf in the morning preheat the oven to 450° and place a lidded cast iron Dutch oven on the center rack.
Then form a round loaf and place it onto a sheet of floured parchment paper.
Sprinkle the top of the loaf with a little more flour, cover it and let it rise for about 30 minutes.
Quickly cut a cross or # into the loaf using a very sharp knife.
Next, remove the pot for the oven and remove the lid. Be careful! It’s extremely hot!!
Bake for 35 minutes with the lid on and another 20 to 25 minutes without the lid.
Remove the loaf from the pot and cool on a rack before slicing!

I’ll leave you with an assortment of drool-worthy good eats!

Bread, muffins and rolls freeze really well and are nice to share!
You can share starter with others by “feeding” your discard before passing it along!
🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted by

My passions in life are vegetarian cooking, gardening, photography, writing, good books, traveling and nature. Thanks for stopping by, Sabine

26 thoughts on “Tasty Tuesday … To Knead or not to Knead! That is the Question!”

  1. Sabine – I am drooling here believe me! Since my father was German, we often shopped at a German butcher shop and that meant bringing home Dimpflmeier bread. When our family traveled in Germany, my mom and I had a wurstplatte every day for our main meal – we could not get enough of that crusty bread and tasty sausage. The sourdough sunflower looks wonderful. I was buying Dave’s Famous Bread for a while as you know, but our store stopped carrying it. His rustic bread was very good, especially the one with sunflower seeds. As to the state of the nation, yes, I just heard the stats too … they said we’d reached the grim milestone of a 1/4 million deaths … though it is the same number as 250,000 … the 1/4 million made me grasp. So does the projected 2,000 deaths per day by year end. There is no interest by the current administration now in the pandemic which is sad, not to mention worrisome. Good thing the President-elect has a team who will tackle the pandemic, though access to White House records/info would be preferred. I have lived here 54 years and yes – nothing is the same as it was when I moved here with my parents from Canada in 1966.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We have a German deli here in Portland. I rarely go though because their main focus is on meat and sausage. You’d like it Linda! They do however have a fabulous triangle shaped whole grain bread that is to die for. Too bad you can’t get Dave’s bread any longer. Have you ever checked if you can get Alvarado Street bread? It’s from Northern California and is made from sprouted whole grains. It can be found in the freezer. Or the Ezekiel bread is great as well.
      As to the pandemic and the threat to our democracy I can only hope that enough reasonable voters speak loudly and vote on the right side of history!

      Liked by 2 people

      • We used to go to Alexander Pollen butcher shop for years and I thought their bread was great, but the homemade boule and crusty loaves looked so tasty – even better than what we bought in the past. I like rustic bread. I have not seen the Alvarado Street bread at Meijer (the only place I shop) and did look for the Ezekiel bread when I mentioned they no longer carried Dave’s and could not find it, frozen or otherwise, yet they carry Ezekiel cereal.

        I worry as each day goes on what will happen with the pandemic … I am happy that plans are being put in place by the President-elect despite the withholding of info relative to the transition. Listening to the stats are so disheartening. Our Michigan hospitals are 79% full they said today. The Medical Director tried to impress on folks today that if someone entered the hospital sick or in dire straits, that if a COVID patient did not have a likelihood of living, the non-COVID person would get their bed once the hospitals are at 100%. They have built two large field hospitals way back in May, taking over two convention centers. The one in Downtown Detroit had 100 people at the most back then and was closed … now likely it will be reopened.
        (Typed this comment; internet went out. Rebooted and it was back – we had another day of 40-50 mph winds again.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • The bread might be available online. worth a try if you really like it. As to the pandemic, we had the highest number of infections in Oregon yesterday. Scary for sure and especially knowing that we rank around # 49 of all the states in testing. That makes staying home easier. Be safe Linda!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I see a crusty bread, like boules, advertised online all the time. A friend of mine in NY bought some and liked it. You have to bake it though. Well those are scary odds to be dealing with. We had another bad day today for COVID stats and I hate hearing that hospitals are 79% filled up at this stage … today they said that this level of COVID cases/deaths was not on track to happen until year end. You stay safe too Sabine!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Sabine ! The first half of your post is how a lot of us are feeling.. I’m glad that you are doing your best to keep in good spirits by staying creative. It’s been so hard to remain positive, especially for me as a Black woman in this country and Covid-19 to boot. Let’s all hold on and keep hopeful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Trudy, I’m glad to hear that you are healthy. I agree with you on how difficult it is to remain positive. It makes me very sad and also angry that black and brown people are treated so poorly in general and have to worry about encounters with law enforcement. I am very happy to see Kamala Harris as VP! Originally during the primaries, she and Joe Biden were my “dream team”. Long overdue to have a woman in that position and a woman of color especially. Take good care of yourself Trudy and stay healthy! 🙋‍♀️

      Like

      • Thanks, Sabine! Being a Black woman in this country and trying to live a “normal” life is another full time job dealing with the constant micro agressions and gaslighting. I’m exhausted to be honest. I’m hopeful but very skeptical as Kamala gets this position because I remember very clearly how many dirty tricks were played on Obama anytime he tried to get anything done. Now that the veil has been lifted to everyone else about how we struggle, I hope for changed behavior and more allyship. But again, it’s something we’ve been asking for for generations now. Stay safe as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I remember one of the first things Moscow Mitch said after Obama won the election. He was going to block and obstruct everything and make him a one-term president. I’m afraid that they’ll try the same thing with Biden and Harris. I do feel confident though that Kamala Harris will put some of these guys in their place. She’s incredibly smart and I love watching her question people in Senate hearings. I also hope that they can reverse some of the Obama accomplishments the republicans have destroyed. To be so petty and vengeful is just really sad!
        I sure hope that we can make permanent changes for the better of all Americans, not just those at the top. Be well!

        Like

      • Yes, that’s exactly what I was referring to, the letter of the 45, I believe it’s called where those congressmen wrote an oath to block Obama at any cost.. If it turns out after the recount that Republicans have the majority, there’s not much that can be done unfortunately. You be well, too. Like I said, another full time job.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Making your own sourdough starter isn’t difficult at all and I bet you could bake some really good bread. Your warm climate would make the dough rise quickly! I’ll have to google Vienna bread. I’ve never heard of it. Not even in Vienna. Do you get it where you live?

      Like

  3. Baking bread doesn’t change anything, but it makes the waiting for sanity a little easier. I’ve been making good use of my sourdough starter “Ginny Junior” and have handed out little canning jars to friends. It’s a feel-good thing, I know, but I do like to think of a stressed out family sitting round the dinner table eating some beautiful bread.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right Dorothy! I haven’t named my starter, but I have passed along jars of it. There’s something cathartic about the entire process of making a beautiful loaf of bread. Plus it makes the house smell so good! Be safe and happy baking! 🙋‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Sabine! I’ve not had a sourdough starter for years. I might need to get one going again. I used to make all of our bread – when the kids were little. Now, with it being just the two of us, I’m rather lazy, purchasing our bread. Seems kind of ironic since I have more time. Cheers to great homemade bread and a New Year! And…Thanksgiving. 😉🧡

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same with me! It was so easy to zip down to New Seasons and pick up a loaf of great bread, but I’ve really come to appreciate making it myself again during the pandemic. It’s not worth to possibly getting infected for a loaf of bread. Plus I think mine’s every bit as good. Especially the one with the Kalamata olives! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. christine says:

    Hi Sabine, your beautiful post inspires me! I’ve never tried a sourdough starter, although I made lots of yeasted bread. My fermenting joy lately is my invention of cashew/soy/flaxseed yogurt. It’s almost like a cheese. I use a insta pot to incubate! Regarding national politics, I’m sure your familiar with Edvard Munich’s painting, “The Scream”. But I am the slighted bit hopeful. (: .

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’d be good with sourdough, Christine! I’ve got some rye bread rising right now and find it a tricky dough to work with. I’ll have hear more about your fermentation projects. Sounds delicious! We too are cautiously optimistic!

      Like

  6. Hi Sabine, it is so nice that you are back! The first part was really interesting. This is how many people feel.
    Little One made bread in school a few weeks ago and was so so proud! Considering how easy it actually is, I think that will be our fun for the next lockdown. (Technically we’re only in partial lockdown at the moment …) Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are in a partial lockdown too. Our governor calls it a “freeze” and I’m glad for it. Too many aren’t taking this seriously.
      I love that your little one baked bread in school!! I hope that once you make bread at home you’ll report on it. I always included our boys from early on in the cooking and baking activities. They both are great cooks and it was probably one of the best skills I was able to help them develop.
      And last but not least thanks for checking in with me during my hiatus. It was nice to know that I was missed. 🙋‍♀️

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.