While I had planned to work on more kale today, after picking the first row yesterday and putting 4 quart bags in the freezer, the rain we got overnight put an end to that idea. We ended up with 0.8 inches, but it came fast, and the garden with the kale was completely soaked. It will be a few days before I can get in there without sinking in up to my knees.
So, I decided to spend my day cooking. The sourdough starter needed to be used today anyway, so that was the first task at hand. If you’ve never made homemade sourdough bread, you’re missing out on a delicious treat. It really is easy to get a starter going, and if taken care of, it will last you a long, long time. And with so many yummy recipes to be found on the Internet, you will be sure to find one that you and your family absolutely love.
My starter (and quite a few of my bread recipes) come from Better Homes & Gardens The Complete Guide to Bread Machine Making. These recipes can, of course, be converted to traditional oven baking, but when it’s hot outside (like today—about 85 degrees here in Iowa), I don’t like to heat up the house by baking in the oven, so I get out my well-used bread machine. I’d hate to guess how many loaves this little machine has made (thanks again Mom for the Christmas present from way back!!). I can just add the ingredients, watch for just a short time to make sure the dry-to-wet ingredient ratio is going to work, and then go about my business outside…and when I come back inside, I’m greeted with the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread. I think that’s one of the best smells in the world!
I absolutely love King Arthur flours…perfect to use whether using a bread machine or traditional bread baking. I also use Bob’s Mill products (gluten, wheat germ, etc.). Wonderful products.
BASIC SOURDOUGH STARTER:
1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or bread machine yeast)
3/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
3 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F)
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons granulated sugar or brown sugar
To make starter: Dissolve the yeast in the 3/4 cup warm water. Add the 3 cups warm water. Stir in flour and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer or medium speed just until smooth. Cover with cotton cheesecloth (I use a dish towel, which works just fine). Let stand at room temperature (75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit) for 5 to 10 days, or until mixture has a sour, fermented aroma, stirring 2 to 3 times every day. (A warmer room speeds the process.) When the starter has fermented, transfer to a 2-quart or larger plastic container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. (Note: I actually leave my starter out in room temperature, or at least I have so far. Will see how it acts this summer…may refrigerate it then. In any case, as I usually bake bread every other day or so, I go through the starter fast enough I haven’t had an issue with leaving it on the counter.)
To use starter: Stir starter thoroughly after removing it from the refrigerator. Measure amount needed; bring to room temperature. (The cold starter should be the consistency of buttermilk or thin pancake batter. If necessary, add water to thin the starter after it is stirred and before measuring.) Use starter in your favorite sourdough recipe.
****After using your starter, you will need to “feed” it. For every cup of starter used, replenish the remaining starter by stirring in 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup warm water, and 1 teaspoon granulated or brown sugar. Cover; let mixture stand at room temperature for at least 1 day or until bubbly. Refrigerate. If not used within 10 days, stir in 1 teaspoon granulated or brown sugar. Repeat every 10 days unless starter is replenished.
SOURDOUGH WHEAT BREAD
**For 1-1/2-pound loaf (16 slices)
1-1/4 cups sourdough starter
1/4 cup milk or water
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons gluten flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (or bread machine yeast)
**For 2-pound loaf (22 slices)
1-1/2 cups sourdough starter
2/3 cup milk or water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2-1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons gluten flour (will be the same amount no matter which size loaf you make)
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast (or bread machine yeast)
Select the loaf size. Add the ingredients to your machine according to the manufacturer’s direcgtions. If available, select the whole grain cycle, or select the basic white bread cycle.
Now for the Rosemary Chicken:
I had a package of leg quarters in the freezer, and I was trying to think up something different than the usual BBQ, honey mustard/Panko recipes that I always use. I was surfing the Internet and found a food blog (I’m sorry I don’t remember which one as I looked at many) where they talked about different marinades. Sounded easy enough and I’d been wanting to prune back my rosemary in the garden anyway.
Here’s the marinade I ended up making:
Lemon Rosemary Garlic Marinade
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I only use Bertolli’s as it is actual olive oil…some other brands may not actually be olive oil!)
3-4 gloves of garlic, depending on size of cloves and your preference
2 large springs of fresh rosemary
1/4 cup lemon juice (I used bottled as I was out of lemons…but fresh would be awesome)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pick off the rosemary leaves and place in bowl. Peel and smash the garlic cloves (smashing releases the yummy garlic flavors better) and add to the bowl. Add in the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and whisk everything togeter until well combined. Taste to see if you need more salt and pepper. Pour over chicken pieces and marinate them covered in the refrigerator at least 4 hours (overnight would be better). Discard marinade. Bake chicken until juices run clear at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Can also grill chicken until done (which would be delicious too).
No picture yet of the chicken, as it’s still marinading…but the marinade was delicious so I’m anxious to get this bird finished so we can eat!