Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sourdough on My MInd

Sourdough on my mind. Yes, I've been experimenting with the nature of it in a fashion not done before. I'm actually reining in my ADHD and staying with it. I have to admit I am ready to wander off so I think I'll do one more batch of tortillas and then put the start in the fridge for a week or so. I'm going off to visit my daughter for a few days next week and maybe when I get back I can refocus. Then I want to do some more bread and tortilla experiments with whole grains, bean flour, and dried vegetables like zucchini or spinach. We don't use tortillas for sandwiches and I want to start. 

Then I want to work on dried beans. All I ever do with them is bottle them for ham and beans and soups. Yes, now I grind a few to use in breads and such but I'm determined to start using them more fully as they are something that stores well and is a must in a self-sufficient lifestyle. Besides, I swear Bush's beans has gone down hill. Am I the only one who thinks so? We left Van Camp when Bush came along and now I'm fed up once more. To be honest, that is one of my true motivation for wanting to do some serious experimenting. I love a good baked bean and it is high time I made my own. No I'm not going to doctor up store products. It goes against my principles. Home-made is home-made, not factory remix which is what you do when you mix together store products. You still have a high load of chemicals.

Did you know that factory foods have a high level of salt because the food would have a bitter chemical taste without it.  It not only hides the chemicals but it enhances flavors and since the food is so inferior they need lots and lots of salt to be worth eating flavor wise at all. Good quality food doesn't need this but there I go again on a squirrel moment.

But back again, I'm serious, I'd really like your opinion about Bush's beans as I'm curious if they have changed or is it me? My taste buds once in a while take a snob hike. You know what I'm talking about. That casserole of broccoli, Campbell's potato soup, and rice which tasted great ten years ago now you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole and leaves you in the bathroom half the night. Seriously, that is what happens to me with things such as that. I call it things because I no longer call it food. In my quest for a greater level of self-sufficiency and nutrition levels, my body no longer tolerates what it once did. For example, I had funeral potatoes at church the other day and was sick all night. Not eating there ever again and the sad thing is I knew better when I did it.

So has Bush's changed or have I? I have my suspicions that store foods are switching ingredients as the hike in prices for products hits them. I know the milk industry is trying to get the FDA to allow them to go to fake sugars without labeling. I'm sure others are trying to make financial cuts also. I figure it is a good time to make cuts of my own. Cutting out a few more store products that I use. No, I don't use very many, mainly condiments like mustard, worcheshire sauce, and spices. But I do have some things I really don't need to buy. Of course pineapple and such that I don't use often and can't grow in Wyoming is not one of them.

Wow, talk about squirrel. See my mind is really ADHD. I was suppose to be talking about sourdough experiments that I've done this past week. I've decided instead of working and working to get it right and then telling you what to do. I'm going to tell you of the process. I believe that great recipes are awesome but if you are just a collector of great recipes you really don't have very much. If you understand for instance the nature of sourdough then you are truly a cook and great possibilities are open to you.

My experimenting was limited this past week with a one year old toddling around just the height to hit her head on the bottom of the kitchen table and a four year old who has become more needy of late. What's up with that I'm not sure. But because of this I decided to skip trying to fit in grinding whole wheat while caring for them and also trying to move forward on my place for everything and everything in its place campaign which will be underway for sometime yet. Instead I took an easier route using unbromeated and unbleached creamy colored Montana Wheat flour.

I'll get to the whole wheat when I can use it more fully. You saw the sourdough English muffins and now I've made tortillas and pizza dough. I told you of my plain tortilla shells and how tickled I was with them well, these taste even better.  Of course they weren't sour, just more complex in taste. They were a bit thicker because I couldn't roll them out as thin due to the more delicate structure of the dough. That I think was my fault. I think I can change that a bit and will try on this next batch. I believe it was due to too much lard.

These sourdough version raised more than the first ones I made without sourdough. Kirk liked the thicker sourdough kind so that is a plus since nutritionally the sourdough is superior. The cool thing about sourdough is when I go and use it with whole wheat it will negate the anti nutrient - phytic acid and all those nutrients in whole wheat will be absorbable. Phytic is a good guy and a bad guy since it keeps you from absorbing certain nutrients like iron and yet is helps you flush some bad guys from your system too like cholesterol so you need a bit of whole grains with it and without it. I'm thinking since flax seed is high in it you should do sourdough whole grains so you get all their nutrients and throw in some flax seed for the phytic acid. If you have diabetes this acid can be a real help. Anyway off the course again.

With sourdough tortillas you have to mix up the dough eight to twelve hours before hand so it can sit as sourdough needs to. I kneaded the dough a bit more too as a little gluten has to be developed with sourdough shell. This is contrary to regular tortillas. I just put mine in a plastic tub with a lid and let it sit on the counter for the eight to twelve hours rest time. It worked best this particular day to do this in the early in the morning with plans to fry them at night for a late supper. Hubby doesn't get home until eight.
I adore granite because I don't have to use any flour on my counter top. I just rolled out the dough. See those thin edge spots. You need to take the insides of your hands and push them back into the dough circle because if fried in this manner they will be crispy and brittle. It helps make your circle more uniform anyway.

Don't push too far or your edges will be too thick and not cook as quickly as the center.
I used a cast iron fry pan that had been very lightly oiled. I found out that if my shells weren't the same size as the bottom, the edges had a time cooking as quickly as the center. So I'll stick to just right, not too large.

They raised more than the original tortillas I made too. After the dough sits for the ten to twelve hours, you simply roll it out and fry. You don't have to let each individual shell raise once more. It does it in the hot pan.
The texture was more flaky than the original no sourdough shells I'd made before. I'm wondering what would happen if I cooked them in the electric skillet with the glass lid like I do my English muffins. I have found they raise better in this oven like set up. That I'm guessing would change the texture a little too. I've got to try and see what happens.

See the not quite as done edges. I'm either going to have to use my larger skillet because they came up onto the edges of the pan or the electric skillet. I need larger shell size which is why the edges weren't quite as done. If you over cook your shells they will be brittle and it is a bit of a experiment to learn what just right is. The cool thing about sourdough shells is they soften after cooked. Yes, the too done one that came out a bit brittle soften up after it had sat and cooled. Still a little too done but the change was significant.

The recipe I took general directions from was for wheat flour. It called for half the fat I used. They used coconut oil. I remembered my cousin's recipe though and it called for the same amount of fat as this one though more flour. She had to use the press to flatten them.  Hence, I decided to use six Tablespoons of lard like in my Cook's recipe that calls for shortening. I hate shortening.

Don't know if it was because the recipe calls for a little less flour or what but I think six tablespoons is a bit much. The dough was heaven to handle though. I kid you not it was soft like a newborns babies bottom. It was unbelievable. I could of kneaded and played with it all day except it would have developed too much gluten and ruined the dough. I'm thinking I should cut the fat down a couple tablespoons and see what happens. It still would be one more than the wheat recipe calls for but not as much as my other recipe. In this recipe you don't use hot water either and I'm sure the sourdough makes the difference. I also don't know what will happen when wheat flour is added into the equation.

I can tell you this though. I made sourdough pizza crust. I simply put sourdough, a little flour, salt, a touch of sugar, and a little water, kneaded it a short time, and let it sit over night. The next day since hubby decided to go and see our son and wasn't going to be home for lunch as I'd planned, I simply folded the dough over on itself like you do artisan bread a couple times during the day. Two hours before supper I rolled out the dough on parchment paper into a pizza dough shape and threw a cotton towel over the top and let it set. It didn't raise much but when placed on a hot pizza stone in the oven, it did. The texture turned out a bit chewy and tough. Yes, oil softens dough. Next time my sourdough pizza crust will have some fat of some sort in it.

So I now know without a doubt what a change fat will do in sourdough recipes. As for a recipe for you, sorry, you will just have to wait. I'm still working on one.

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