Posts tagged ‘chores’

April 8, 2010

How to~Sourdough bread

This tutorial assumes that you already have and know how to care for a sourdough starter. If you don’t, please check out this post.

2 1/2 cups flour (I like Kamut or Hard red wheat best, or even a mixture)
1 cup starter (I use a “cool-rise” starter that is kept in the fridge)
1 cup water

Put the ingredients above in a bowl in the order listed and mix together. I like to use my hand rather than a spoon or other utensil. Take your time to make sure that there are no lumps of flour. You may need to add flour or leave some flour unmixed in the bottom*, depending on the consistency of the starter.

Once the dough begins to hold together but doesn’t seem to dry, put it on the counter and finish mixing it. Knead it a bit and return it to the bowl.

*If you had left some flour in the bottom, you can dump it into the starter now to feed it.

Let the dough sit, covered with a moistened towel for 15 minutes or so (you might want to set a timer…), then dump it out on the counter again.

Add 1 teaspoon salt and knead in well. Quality salt really makes a difference in the finished bread.

Return the dough to the bowl and cover. Leave for about 2 hours.

Dump out the dough once more and knead just a little. Form into a loaf, biscuits, rolls, cinnamon bread, pizza dough or whatever. 🙂

Let sit, covered with a single layer (ie don’t fold the towel) for 2-6 hours or until risen.

Bake at 350*F

A whole loaf takes 40 minutes,
A dozen biscuits takes about 20 minutes,
Pizza is baked like any other crust (depending on the thickness).

Oh, and since I’m talking about jobs for little people this month I thought I’d mention that my little brothers love it when they get involved in the bread-making process. Sometimes they get their own little bit of dough to knead and shape however they like. When we make Pizza, they can help add toppings. It’s easier than you think to include little ones in the kitchen. One tip though–make sure you’re already familiar with the recipe… I tried to make my first cheesecake with a four-year-old… it turned out delicious, but the process was just a bit stressful! 😉

Please let me know if this is clear! Feel free to ask questions too 🙂

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April 6, 2010

How to~Caring for your sourdough starter

The Basics:
Feed your starter 7-24 hours before you want to use it to make bread. This activates the bacteria. You can also feed your sourdough just to keep it healthy if you don’t make bread often. It’s a good idea to feed it at least once a week. If you leave it alone longer, just be sure to feed it twice before making it, allowing 7-24 hours between feedings. Starters have been known to last 3 months or more without being fed, so long as they receive a little TLC when being “brought back”.

Generally, you’ll want to feed the sourdough this way:
one part starter
one part flour
one part water
Depending on the type of flour you’re using, the amount of time since you fed last, and other variables, these measurements may be off. You can also feed the sourdough with much less flour, especially if your starter is getting too large. Just add the amount of flour you’d like to the starter, stir it in a bit and add water to make it the consistency of pancake batter.

Some things to remember
*Don’t over-feed your starter (if you have 1 cup of starter, never add more than 1 cup of flour)
*keep your starter soupy–it should look like pancake batter
*be gentle–if you over-stir your starter it will get to glutenous and elastic
*the starter will naturally separate and may turn any shade of brown or black. This is normal. If it turns pink, though, you have bad bacteria. It’s a good idea to dispose of pink starter altogether, though some say it’s possible to use a bit of the bad stuff to start a new batch of good stuff.
*again, black’s ok, pink, not so much.

Please comment and let me know if this is clear. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions! If you know something about sourdough starter that I haven’t mentioned, please comment–I might just edit it into this post (with due thanks, of course)!

April 4, 2010

Chores for little guys~washing the fridge

Over the next month or so, I’m going to post ideas of some things that “little people” can do around the house. My brothers are 4 and almost 3, and it’s nice to be able to get their help with chores sometimes! It’s good to keep in mind that while a young child might not do the job perfectly, it’s getting done, and the more they do it the better they get at it. If possible, don’t go back and “fix” what they have done. Just help them to learn do it better each time.

Daniel (age 4) loves to clean the fridge, which is a very good thing because we have two plus another stand-alone freezer!

First he gets a shoe box and fills it with all the magnets, pictures, and anything else that he takes off the fridge. Then I give him a paper towel moistened with an environmentally safe (non-toxic/no phosphates) cleaner and let him have at it! A step-stool is needed for the high parts, and while he’s there I stay near him and clean the very top that he can’t reach. I told him he could help decide what to put back onto the fridge, but he politely asked that we not. He liked the way it looked all clean and empty!