Tag Archive | homemade sourdough

Sourdough

Sourdough. I’ve mentioned it before, but, in that way that we spiral back to the same place, we deepen our understanding with each revolution, I understand sourdough, and dough in general, much better now, having practiced with it; as a potter with clay, to comprehend its texture, properties, behavior. It’s a living thing, which I knew, but now I know better. 

My sourdough starter, which I’ve been using for … how many, Ruthie? at least six years, went… well, sour. I left it for so long in the fridge, slid it to the back in recent months after keeping it thriving for years. When I remembered and pulled it forward, liquid on top was more than usual, grey, and stinky! It smelled awful. I poured it off down the drain, and rinsed a couple of times with fresh, clear water. I left half an inch of fresh cold water on top of the fairly firm sponge, let it sit for a day, rinsed again, and fed it by mixing in equal parts flour and water. For the past week, I’ve been pouring off discard, a new concept to me (the enemy of learning is the presumption of knowledge), and baking with it.

Twice I’ve made sourdough biscuits, with great success. Sourdough pizza crust was a winner, and half of that dough is in the freezer to see if it works as well later.

The recipe suggests ‘pizza dough seasoning,’ but I used Penzey’s Frozen Pizza Seasoning, just a couple teaspoons in the dough.

Tonight is sourdough focaccia.

Bedtime, and the focaccia dough rests covered in the cold mudroom overnight. Can hardly wait til tomorrow to bake it!

Tomorrow is Boyz Lunch, the first of the season. It is finally warm enough to lunch outside, relaxed, without too many layers, sun-warmed flagstone patio, shade cast from the umbrella sufficient only to dim the glare of that low spring sun, not enough to put us in shadow; we will be warm with lunch in our sweatshirts and ballcaps. Spring is on its way, and how we’ll welcome it, a longlost friend, respite, color, joy.

Crusty Snow

We discovered a new tree today, one I’ve never noticed before, or don’t remember if I ever did.

Today I’m grateful for crusty snow, allowing a different type of walk through the woods than usual. I skirt the trees, off trail, walking an uneven path along drip lines, where shallow crusty snow meets frozen juniper duff, picking my way carefully to avoid punching through unsupportive crust over deeper snow, aimlessly following the dog’s nose; the cat Topaz both follows and leads, intermittently running up trees. I’m always eyeing these trees: which can go altogether, and which can simply be trimmed, an ongoing fire mitigation and path pruning exercise.

Stepping along atop snow crust has its own peculiar charms, or there would rarely be reason to do it. The simplest way to explain it is to say it’s fun! How well can I gauge the crust’s strength step by step? How far can I walk without punching through with an uncomfortable jolt that sends snow down into the sides of my shoes? It’s a game of chance, and carries a similar allure to any other gamble; though the satisfaction is purely mental, and the risk of injury is real.

I’m grateful for Topaz who loves our off-trail rambles.
I love how she rockets up a tree, hangs out demurely for awhile, then flows down the trunk.

We explored until I was too hungry to continue then turned home, a well-earned hour of reality after a morning at the desk, a quotidian adventure with cat and dog, discovering new trees to climb and photograph, lifting our legs high to step over sticks and sagebrush, giving our hips and thighs good exercise. 

I’m grateful when I remember to do the things that bring home to me why I chose this place to be home.

I’m grateful for the first crocus tips up yesterday, and today other tiny bulb shoots as well. Spring is coming!
I’m grateful for lunch after our morning adventure: panisse on toast with avocado spread. So simple, so delicious! Grateful for avocados, and where they grew, and who grew them, and how they got to the store, and how from there to my kitchen, and how even those that aren’t ideal for slicing can be salvaged, mushed together with mayonnaise and a pinch of sriracha salt into a gourmet sandwich spread or salad dressing.