I was relatively productive today. Well, in the food front. The house still looks like a tornado hit a flea market. But c'est la vie.
One cup of starter was ready to be used. Oh, I wanted to mention. I think maybe "sourdough" is not the correct term here. I think maybe what I have done is propogated by own yeast starting with commercial yeast. For this to be a sourdough, I think other things have to happen. There is no "sour" taste or smell. In fact, it smells more like beer than anything else LOL. Which is fine by me. I think if I wanted to make sourdough from what I have, I would make a dough with this starter and flour and let it sit up to two days. Then divide, throw half away, and add flour and water(?) to the remaining piece and let it sit again. Then I would divide (or not?) and add this piece of dough to the remaining dough ingredients to make a loaf. Let sit to rise, shape, rise again, and so on. I could be wrong again, because it seems there are so many techniques and everybody uses the same terms interchangeably. Basically what I wanted to do was end up with something I could use in place of yeast.
Not because I think yeast is expensive or hard to find, mind you. But I know commercial yeast is designed to rise quick, not necessarily provide flavour. I want my yeast to develop their flavour. And that is done over time. Slow rising and overnight proofing help of course, but for an even more complex product I think a starter is the way to go. Plus maybe I was feeling the need for another pet and this is all I could afford ;). We will call him Stanley. Or Rupert. (Part of me believes that if I name this thing I will be less likely to allow it to perish in the refrigerator from neglect. Wish me luck ;).
This seems like pretty active stuff at this point. I needed to use one cup, but I didn't want two loaves of bread. I decided on a loaf of no knead bread, and a batch of pita bread. I got the recipe HERE. Mind you, I used my starter for part of the water and some whole wheat flour instead of all white. My review will appear in a few days there. I won't know about the loaf bread until tomorrow (it is a two day process, but all of that is basically letting it sit on the top of the fridge and do it's thing). But as for the pita bread?
Heavenly. I ended up with 18 pieces of relatively round *cough*, tender, thin but puffy, flavorful pitas. These are not the kind with a pocket, and not as thick as the greek style. Somewhere in between. Perfect for making wrap sandwiches or using to scoop up hummous or tearing into bits and eating plain while standing at the stove. Ahem. I do know for sure I need a new rolling pin. Mine is a marble model that is wonderful for pastry dough and heavy duty rolling. But for smaller, more delicate jobs I would rather have a lighter european style model. I don't have a counter wide enough for a long one, just a small one will do. I have to work in a tight space and it gets frustrating when you don't have enough room for one sweep of the pin.
This morning I rode my bike with DD (we rode to her school then parted ways and I went a little further on the bike path). It was such a nice morning. Ruby and I puttered a bit in the garden, looking to see what was coming up on it's own. Besides weeds and grass, of course. The asparagus has been coming for a while already and I got one spear. The rhubarb looked tall so I checked for thick stalks. Hmmm. Thinner and pinker than normal. Maybe it is overcrowded. Not that I am complaining, of course. So I pulled several stalks and Ruby helped by barking at me and running around like a loon as I broke off the leaves and tossed them behind the asparagus bed (helps keep the weeds down, but you don't want to do it where you will plant tender veggies - the leaves contain oxalic acid and might keep other plants from growing. It doesn't seem to bother the asparagus, but they hate weeds). Okay, I may have caused this by flapping a huge, prehistoric looking leaf at her and making an odd noise. Or not.
Once it was cleaned I decided to get as far into the jelly making process as I could. At least to the juice stage since I wasn't really in the mood to boil jars today. 3 pounds of rhubarb, 1/2 cup cranberries for colour, one chopped apple for...well I don't know but it seemed like a good idea. That was cooked until the fruit was soft and left to drip in a jelly bag. I could have left it overnight and would have gotten more, really clear, juice. But I had enough for the batch I want to make and I could care less if it is clear. DH and DD just won't eat it if there are "strings" or bits in it. Tomorrow I will heat the juice and add sugar and pectin to make jelly.
The only other thing I did was read the paper. Does it count as cleaning since I put it in the recycle bin once I was done?