Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sour Notes

Okay, so I purchased the pasta maker and feel I've conquered making pasta, well, at least the flat noodle variety! I did make a helluva pan of lasagna that would have made Martha jealous. With that now behind me, I feel bored in the kitchen so I ventured to the Internet to look for something else challenging to make or bake.

Actually my niece who was present at the now infamous lasagna dinner, prompted me with my latest project. You see, I was in the middle of putting some rolls into a basket for the table when she asked, "Are those Granny's rolls?" Unfortunately and sadly, they were not, I told her. "Granny's rolls" are these wonderful and tasty and light and warm and fresh (and did I say wonderful?) sourdough rolls that my mother, her Granny, would make every Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since her departure from this earth in 2001, I have yet to taste a roll with similar qualities.

I have never attempted sourdough anything mostly because the thought of making a sourdough starter and keeping it alive in my refrigerator for weeks on end seemed a daunting task, one which I was unsure I could conquer.

But alas, I have accepted the challenge and have begun the process to make my own starter (as opposed to cheating and buying starter that is "ready"). It is currently growing in a Mason jar on my counter where I feed it every night. The "feeding" as it is known, simply means stirring in equal parts of flour and warm water. You then lightly cover and leave it to grow until it's next feeding, 24 hours later.

At the end of 7 days, it will be ready to use in recipes and it's then that I can store it in the refrigerator to use for many weeks to come. Some bakers have starter they first began 25 or so odd years ago. Isn't that something? Supposedly you can't kill it and as long as you take care of it and feed it from time to time, it will continue to prosper and you will always have some on hand.

I think the first thing I'll try will be a loaf of sourdough bread! Then I want to try sourdough English muffins and perhaps some pancakes. Then, I'll tackle the rolls. I'm hopeful to have some decent rolls to present at my next dinner party. Keep your fingers crossed! I will probably take some pictures of the process along the way so be watching for those in future posts.

It is obviously such a long process but I hear it is well worth the extra effort. We will see.
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Addie said...

Hi Patti,

This a very adventurous culinary undertaking! I love sourdough anything, so I'll be waiting to hear how it goes. Maybe I'll even give it a shot myself!


Debbie (Emma's mom) said...

Yummm...I love sourdough. I used to bake bread every week...I had to stop because I started to gain weight...just couldn't resist it toasted with butter. ;-) It is surprisingly easy once you get it going. I had a gas oven at the time which gave me a good place to let the dough rise.

You mentioned your mom's rolls. Were they like "Angel Biscuits", across between a roll and a yeasty biscuit? My roommate's mother used to make them and they were 'heavenly'.

OK, now I'm wanting home-made bread. Good luck, Patti, with your baking!

greytblackdog said...

i'm excited to meet your starter tomorrow night. count me in to try your english muffins when they are made!!!!

Zan said...

mmmmm! I can smell my moms rolls just reading your post.

There was a time in my life when I baked all our bread myself. I found kneading the dough to be a great tension release. I'm not sure why I stopped, must have just gotten lazy.

I never tried sourdough though. I read a lot about it, but making the starter scared me off. I can't wait to hear how it works out.

Patti said...

Addie, thanks and I hope it is successful! I'll keep you posted.

Debbie - I know what you mean. When I first had my bread maker, I made bread, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough - anything dough-like and fattening, until I just had to stop because I was gaining so much weight. I love bread!! The idea this time around is to spread the results of my labor around to friends and workmates so they, too, can gain weight with me!! :) An, Angel Biscuits, I have a recipe for those that is actually that of Alan Jackson's Mom. Yep, they are wonderful, too!

Heather - you will most certainly get to meet "Stinky" tonight. Yes, I've given the creature growing on my counter a name!

Zan - I'll plan to bring some rolls to a lure coursing trial one day (after I've conquered this) and we'll make mini ham sandwiches with them!

Everyone, the beauty of having starter is sharing it with friends. That is also the easiest way to "start" your own. So, if my starter is "good" (as opposed to "bad", who wants "bad" starter?), I'll be happy to share some of mine with whomever would like some. I'll keep you posted on how it is going!