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[livejournal.com profile] tamidon was kind enough to give me a bit of sourdough starter from Bahrain which I proofed and made into a loaf of amazing whole wheat bread. I've been making bread by hand since around age 12 or so (starting out by helping mom.. working up to where I baked bread on the weekends when I was a bored high school student). It's been a long time since I've had a loaf come out that perfect in shape, color, and texture. I would definitely make another batch to share with friends, not sure if I would make it for non-foodies because the aroma is definitely more foreign than what some would be used to. It's not as sour in flavor as I expected it would be (yet there is no mistaking it being a sourdough bread), with a winey, fruity fragrance to it. I followed the recipe which called for 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 bread flour. In both cases I used King Arthur flour. Stone ground whole wheat flour (which has a slightly grainy texture to it, but bakes up into a wonderful bread), and their unbleached bread flour. It was a bit of a workout to knead it, and definitely is a workout to get the dough to a nice smooth texture, but it was worth the effort.

I choose the whole wheat recipe because following weight watchers, you're encouraged to choose whole grain breads because the high fiber content takes longer for your system to process (making you feel full, longer). My next experiment is to use the home grown sourdough starter I started on Wednesday of last week. I'm going to proof a small amount of it and see what it tastes like baked into a french baguette. I promised to bring homemade bread to the Thanksgiving dinner I'm going to (Rich's sister Merideth is hosting the festivities). I might very well decide the Bahrain culture bakes up better than the homemade one. Stay tuned.

I made my first trip to Penzey's yesterday.
Dangerous place, it is.
I only spent around $15, buying small amounts of essentials like cinnamon, cumin, Italian seasoning, gumbo file, and a spice blend called "Northwoods Fire" (which is a grill spice with nice smokey chipoltle in it) - spices that I use fairly often. I wanted to buy another $20 or $30 worth of stuff but for now I'm satisfied.

Spending $6 on an oven thermometer was yesterday's "smart buy". The oven in my apt. dates back to almost the dawn of time (not quite as old as the one from an old boyfriend's apartment - where you had to turn the gas on and light the pilot every time you wanted to use the oven). This thing is darn near a fire hazard - but given my landlord's lack of willingness to spend money on repairs or upgrades, I just keep my mouth shut. Anyway, I figured out the way to trick the oven to starting up - and using the oven thermometer I can get it to STAY at the selected temperature. It just takes longer than the nice shiney new one I had back in Salem.


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March 2009

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