Sourdough on my schedule?

Update: 6.24.2005
IMG_2332The resulting dough stayed in the fridge for 72 hours. I warmed it up about an hour, shaped it into a loaf and let it proof 2 hours. Here's the result. Totally sourdough but possibly underproofed. It looks a tad dense. We'll be hacking into it for tomorrow's b'fast. Next time I'll be using a poolish variant (using 2 x 1/4 t shots of yeast for a boost) of the same recipe. I like the graininess of the loaf I just think I'll be wanting more volume, we'll see tomorrow. I'm just not a sourdough type guy. I need the volume. Click on the image for a bigger view.

Original post: 6.22.05
I'm not dead yet.

Summer travel, simple meals with easy to handle and fling food have kept me from disclosing anything exciting on the food front.

I have been itching to get back into sourdoughs though. I got my starter from the fridge (kindly prepared via Silverton's method by my good friend Gary), scraped off the mold and refreshed it by taking 2 tablespoons of it in 200 g flour and 200 g water and letting it rise in a ca. 70-deg-F basement for about 12 hours (massive volume expansion; definitely still alive), disposing half of it and replenishing with 100 g of flour and 100 g water. The resulting starter was deemed ready for use after an additional 12 hours fermentation.

Next, I mixed 300 g of starter with 300 g water, 400 grams unbleached white and 100 grams of mixed grainy flours (spelt, wheat, rye, flax seeds and rolled oats) and salt (10 g). I tossed this mess in the pan of my bread machine and gave it a good 10 minute knead, rounded the slightly tacky dough ball and tossed it in my fridge inside of a plastic container bearing an exhaust hole. My intention is to take 1/3 of this mixture out at a time over the next week and let it warm for about an hour or so, shape it into a loaf, proof it and bake into grainy baguettes. I'll keep you posted on the results.


Kitchen Scraps + Leaves -----> Tomatoes

Compost Update: 6.23.2005
Well, the fornicating worms weren't enough. I'm afraid my composting activities have sensed my deep-seated Republican thoughts and just won't decompose. I dumped the worms and pilot size compost into my big composter and churned it up. I found a zillion ants! I suspect my balance is simply off. It's about 2/3 moist leaves and 1/3 kitchen waste. I'll keep churning but I think I just have a pile of waste.

Compost Update: 5.12.2005
Well, one co-worker a million of you have asked about updates on this post. For about 3 weeks I shook my mini-composter of kitchen waste and leaves about once a week and kept it moist. No change. Yesterday I put in a pile of worms from my neighbors compost heap and put the mini bin in my garage (so it wouldn't overheat in the sun) and will keep an eye on it. In the 7th comment, a reader gave me this link for composting recipes too. Thanks!

Original Post: 4.19.2005

worms currently ravaging
leaves and kitchen waste
and hopefully mating like rabbits
Here at Dave's Beer we are enamored with all things fermentable.

It's getting close to the time when we plant our favorite fruit, the tomato. Unfortunately, our compost heap died this winter. We set it up by layering leaves and good old food scraps. It was pretty hot for a couple months but then died. The heap is mostly still in the form of leaves rather than nice rich compost. I guess we buy some topsoil this year. But, in the meantime, I'll be experimenting with a small-scale tumbling composter; a hole-punched plastic container that I shake daily for aeration. Before I dump over a hundred bucks on something like this, I want to verify the turnaround they claim (in the order of weeks).

This image is a shot of a plastic container with holes in it so it can get moist. It contains a weeks worth of scrap food and about 3 times as many leaves (in mass). I'll water it and shake it daily to promote the microbial decomposition. I'll post the final appearance when it turns.


A way to cook greens

A friend asked me for some suggestions for simple recipes that can be done in the course of the daycare/workday scramble; we call them desperation dinners. Here's one we got from a Martha Stewart Good Food issue sometime ago and now it's a regular part of our repertoire. Greens are pretty bountiful this time of year and thought I'd toss this in.

Saute in this order in a large wide (ca. 6 qt) pan (serves about 3-4):
1. sweet italian sausage with a little olive oil
2. a huge pile of greens (we use swiss chard most often), add some water and cover for ca. 10 minutes till the greens wilt to your desired tenderness),
3. toss in freshly toasted pinenuts, raisins and cooked pasta (1/2 lb dry).
4. add more olive oil, salt and pepper and serve. It's good warm to room temperature.

It's amazing how much greens condense when cooked so it's a good recipe to use up those bountiful subscription greens.