Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm a Cheater

I have really been wanting to make a sourdough starter but I have been nervous about it, or intimidated shall I say, crazy eh?  Then while reading Leigh's post at 5 Acres and a Dream it got me thinking about it again, and I thought if Leigh can make a starter on accident surely I can make one on purpose?!?!?!

Well I didn't realize that professional Sourdough Baker's look down upon starter made using commercial yeast.  Which is what I did! I used this recipe found at allrecipes:

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

2 cups warm water

2 cups all-purpose flour


1.In large non-metallic bowl, mix together dry yeast, 2 cups warm water, and 2 cups all purpose flour and cover loosely.

2.Leave in a warm place to ferment, 4 to 8 days. Depending on temperature and humidity of kitchen, times may vary. Place on cookie sheet in case of overflow. Check on occasionally.

3.When mixture is bubbly and has a pleasant sour smell, it is ready to use. If mixture has a pink, orange, or any other strange color tinge to it, THROW IT OUT! and start over. Keep it in the refrigerator, covered until ready to bake.

4.When you use starter to bake, always replace with equal amounts of a flour and water mixture with a pinch of sugar. So, if you remove 1 cup starter, replace with 1 cup water and 1 cup flour. Mix well and leave out on the counter until bubbly again, then refrigerate. If a clear to light brown liquid has accumulated on top, don't worry, this is an alcohol base liquid that occurs with fermentation. Just stir this back into the starter, the alcohol bakes off and that wonderful sourdough flavor remains! Sourdough starters improve with age, they used to be passed down generation to generation!

5.Use this starter to make the Sourdough Chocolate Cranberry Cake, and the Sourdough Chocolate Cake.

And ofcourse since I was "cheating" I was successful, ;-)......and then I cheated some more and made a San Francisco Sourdough recipe, and I couldn't believe that it called for yeast as well. But I made it.  And let me tell you it was delicious, but I still felt like a cheater!  ;-)  (Sorry I didn't get pictures, they did turn out beautiful!)

So tonite I read some more about starters using wild yeast and really enjoyed this page devoted to the sourdough novice......Sourdough Bread.....The Basics by S. John Ross.  So in my kitchen I have a jar of "cheater starter" and a jar of no commercial yeast starter, I am anxious to see if this is going to work, and a large stainless steel bowl of starter mixed with the beginnings of pancakes ingredients for breakfast.  These pancakes can be mixed up the night before, I found the recipe at the Nourishing Gourmet:
Sourdough Pancakes

1 cup of sourdough starter (my starter is fed 3/4 cups of water and one cup of flour, so it’s the thinner type of starter)
2 cups of water
3 1/2 cups of whole grain flour *see note below
3 large eggs
4 tablespoons of maple syrup, honey, maple sugar, or rapadura (optional)
1/4 cup of coconut oil, or melted butter
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt

*This recipe first called for 2 1/2 cups of flour. However, I think my starter became thinner (I was working with a new starter when I developed this recipe) and 3 1/2 cups of flour turned out to be perfect now. I think how much flour you need will depend on how thick your starter is, but if you have a thinner starter, the larger amount will probably work the best.

3 to 24 hours before you want to eat, combine in a large bowl the starter, water, and flour. Make sure that you have plenty of room for this mixture to rise. If it is a very hot day, beware of leaving it too long as it will ferment very quickly. I usually make this up the night before, for breakfast, or the morning of, for dinner. In colder weather, I have done this recipe for up to 24 hours.

After the soaking period, add the rest of the ingredients, and combine well. A whisk is helpful. If you want thinner pancakes you can thin with water (or milk). Drop about 1/4 of a cup of the batter on a lightly oiled hot griddle (over medium to medium-high heat) until the the top is set, and the bottom lightly browned. Flip the pancake and cook until the pancake is lightly browned on the other side. Repeat until all of the batter is used, re-oiling the pan as needed. ~ Sourdough recipe from the Nourishing Gourmet

Friday, January 8, 2010


I finally made up a bottle of baking soda for shampoo and a bottle of white vinegar rinse to wash my hair.  And I have to admit at first I was thinking this isn't going to work, but then I considered the idea that baking soda is used to clean things, why not my scalp and hair?  I massaged it into my scalp and let it sit a little, then rinsed.  Then I sprinkled on the vinegar rinse (careful not to get it in my eyes, IT HURTS) and let it sit for a little, thin rinse.  

My hair was so easy to brush when I got out of the shower, I was surprised, I will never use regular shampoo and conditioner again, so healthy and affordable.  And much better than the cheap stuff I was having to buy anyways!

I made four loaves of bread a couple days ago, I am following the Emergency Menu on Hillbilly Housewife.
I have changed a few things, but overall I really like the ready made shopping list and recipes included.  I haven't tried her bread recipe yet, I stuck with my Amish bread recipe and cut the sugar down in it!  I doubled the recipe and made three bread loaves and one braided loaf, I love making braided loaves.

Last night off the menu we had homemade tortillas, smashed pinto beans, and spanish rice.  I used my own recipes here too, but just having the ideas of what to make in a low price range and still healthy is really great!

I am including my Tortilla Recipe below:

Homemade Tortillas

1-1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1-1/2 white flour
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/4 c. warm milk
3 tsp. baking powder
1 Tablespoon oil

Mix all together and pinch off about size of a golfball. Round into ball and then roll out with rolling pin, Cook on oiled griddle until bubbles appear on tortilla then turn.  So yummy filled with beans and rice!

These are also good cooked again in butter in a skillet and then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and cut into fours.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I'm Still here

I have been a bad girl in terms of regular blogging, I am ashamed.  I liked to set aside time to to do it, but sometimes time doesn't let me! ;-)  Today was a great New Years Day, I loaded the crock with venison (my hubby got a deer this year), potatoes, carrots, and green beans.  I made a loaf of batter bread and enjoyed an evening with some friends.  Our friends have seven daughters ages ranging from 7 to almost 17 and they are a real delight. They are coming over in the morning for a pancake breakfast compliments of me. I am looking forward to it.

So as I have been away from the blogosphere for such a while I thought I would attach the pictures of our recent paitning to the cottage and the new floors our landlord put in.

We have limited space here in the cottage, the kitchen is not quite roomy enough for an eat in kitchen so we turned a corner of the living room into our "dining room".

The walls in the living room before were an off-white, and we went with a very creamy pale yellowish shade with a deeper yellow accent wall to add warmth and color but without making it to dark as the living room does not get a lot of natural light.
Oh yeah we painted the kitchen walls a refreshing green called "herb tea".

I guess you could call this my free section, we got the couch for free on freecycle and the plates were stashed in some boxes I received from leftover garage sale items on craigslist for free. I love decorating with old plates, just take a paper clip, un fold it and hot glue it to the back of the plate. I also have a rule of thumb when it comes to antique plates - I never spend over 25 cents on a plate.  It makes it fun!!!

So the cottage does not have any extra rooms, it's very basic, so I call this my "mud room" but it is actually on the right wall of the living room just as you walk in! ;-)

The lovely new floors, I love them! And am very thankful!

The window nook.

The accent wall, and yes a sleeping child on the couch!!! ;-)