Last week my friend Craig was going to bring me a trailer load of compost, so I made a big pot of pea and ham soup and a loaf of bread to feed him and his family lunch. As it turned out the weather was really crappy so I ate the bread myself, and had the soup during the week for lunches at work.
This weekend the weather is rather better for compost spreading - bloody cold, but not raining - so I got my compost, and had to think of something else to make for lunch. I ended up making macaroni with my Kenwood Chef pasta attachment (for the amusement of Craig's small son) and we ate it with defrosted and reheated ragu Bolognese, stir fried zucchini and mushroom, and this experiment bread:
It's my very first loaf of sourdough.
I've been culturing a sourdough starter for a couple of months now, but have only been using it to add flavour and texture to my weekly baguette (as per the instructions of Joe Pastry). This week I decided to go all out and make a sourdough loaf with no added yeast. I started on Thursday evening by building up my starter a bit. Bad me, I don't measure these things, but I can give a general idea of proportions. I keep the starter sticky but not runny, and generally have about 150 g in the fridge. I think I about doubled it, and left it out in my warm bedroom overnight to work. Friday morning I added about 2/3 of it (200 g?), my 100 g or so of defrosted old dough from last week's bread, 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tsp salt, and about 2/3 cup water to the bowl of my Kenwood and mixed it on 2 with the dough hook while I made my porridge. I left in in the Kenwood bowl all day while I was at work.
My plan was to see how much it rose during the day, and if it was still siting there in a solid lump I could always add a bit of yeast at that point and carry on as if it was my normal bread. When I got home I poked it a bit and it seemed to be reasonably bubbly considering it'd been sitting in a freezing kitchen all day. Deciding it'd probably do, I tipped it out and shaped it, put it on a bit of baking paper on an oven tray, covered it with oiled foil, and left it in my bedroom overnight.
This morning when I went to bake it, it had stuck to the foil, and collapsed when I removed it! Nothing for it but re-shape it as gently as possible. I left it to rise again for an hour or so, then baked it at 250˚C on my pizza stone with frequent blasts of water from a spray bottle in the first 10 mins or so of cooking. I took it out of the oven after about 1/2 an hour or so - when it was nice and dark - and kept my fingers crossed.
It's delicious. The crust is chewy and the crumb is moist and tasty. I should have measured everything so I could re-create it! I dare say I can get pretty close though, and if not - I might create something even better.
Below you see my new toy:
It is the cheapest single screw juicer I could find, and I didn't get it for making juice.
One of the things I always look forward to when visiting my son's family in Australia is the frozen fruit "ice cream" you get in the markets there. It's not ice cream at all, of course, it's pure fruit. It goes into a machine as frozen lumps of fruit (you choose your combination) at one end, and comes out the other as sorbet, more or less. You don't get this stuff here in New Zealand, and I just love it. My favourite is a mixture of banana, pineapple, coconut milk, and a bit of (not frozen) crystallised ginger.
I just discovered recently that the machine they use is a double screw juicer (~NZ$1000), but found in my search for something less expensive that you can also use a single screw juicer, and they are a lot cheaper. So I bought one. The courier delivered it to work the other day, and I tried it out (at work, I couldn't wait) with some frozen strawberries from the supermarket. Everyone who had some was very impressed - I think the place I bought it from may be getting some more orders.
Today I used it to make some sorbet for our desserts.
I made some with a mixture of Omega plums (which I freeze every year during their season) and honey …
… and some with strawberries …
… this is the plum and honey one (a bit messy, this serving):
… and this is the strawberry one:
It's heavenly. I think I might try bananas and raspberries together next.