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Posts tagged ‘yeast’

Well, about a week ago I decided to make rye sourdough. I found a very simple sourdough starter recipe, and after about a dozen exchanges of emails with the author of that site, I came up with a starter that I had to refrigerate last Thursday because Manny had a doctor’s appointment Friday morning and I knew I wouldn’t have time to work on it.

Without going into all the details of exactly what I did (just read the instructions in the link above if you want to know), I mixed up more flour and water and a little salt with a portion of the starter that I had revived by doubling it, kneeded a bit (which was hard, because it was a VERY stiff dough), then divided it into roughly half. You see, I wanted to compare how it would look and turn out in a round loaf verses a bread pan. Half went into the bread pan and half onto a cookie sheet (I would have used a clay stone or pizza stone if I’d had one).

About 3 hours later it had risen a little, but it was almost 9:00 pm, so I gave up and baked it for half an hour. Knife inserted in the middle came out clean, so I knew it was done inside. The round loaf came off the sheet right away, but the one in the greased glass bread pan didn’t want to come out right away. I had to let it sit a few minutes before it would release without sticking too much (in spite of all the oil I smeared the pan with before putting in the dough).

Oh, you want to see pictures? But of course! This first one shows a bird’s-eye view of the two loaves, plus a portion of the 100% rye bread I made a few days ago (yeast-risen–this recipe). The pan I used to bake both that and the sourdough to the right is on the far right.

Top View - Middle loaf is not sourdough

This picture shows the sides of the three loaves, with the bread pan in the back for size comparison. The funny edges on the top of the middle one are because it overflowed the pan and I had to break those pieces off, so it looks a little funny. It was a 4-cup loaf of bread, but surprisingly rose well–melting butter soaks through because it is so light, comparatively. I’m not exactly sure how much flour went into the other two loaves in cups–it was somewhere around 700 grams, if that means anything.

Side Views - Sorry, but I ate them before I got the camera!

Now, for crumb views. Sorry the flash makes it so bright, but I don’t have optimal lighting nor a fancy camera, and I was too much in a hurry to dig up the tripod. Click on pictures to enlarge.

As you can see, the first two, the sourdoughs, didn’t rise much, but they did rise some. The last one was yeast risen and really rises a lot. It has a very wet dough, too wet to kneed, but very stiff to stir (which is what you are supposed to do with it anyway). I should try baking it in my bread machine pan sometime, just to see how much it will actually rise (because it likes to overflow the glass bread pan, which is much shorter). I couldn’t possibly kneed it in the bread machine, though!

Yes, I didn’t get pictures of the loaves before cutting. Why? I was hungry. I had baked it the night before and taken it out too late to eat any. So as soon as breakfast rolled around, I ate several slices. Yummy! It has a nice sour taste that reminds me of the kefir bread I made over 2 years ago. It’s even better toasted. It’s been a long time in coming, but now that I have a working starter, I can keep working with it, so I can make all the sourdough I want. Yay! Whole grain and wheat free.

Now if I can just get it to rise a bit more… But if not, I can use the yeast rye bread for sandwiches and this for, well, all other bread cravings. Wonder if it would go over well at potluck once I perfect the recipe… which means getting a better scale that weighs in at least 5 gram increments and is more accurate than the one I have (which could be off by as much as 20 grams or more).

Yeah, making bread by weight is a whole new level of breadmaking. But I like it. It means I don’t have to worry about having or doubling a recipe–because weights are accurate–if the scale is.

Okay, enough. Go make a starter. Or come visit and I’ll share a slice with you. If there is any left!

Note: I originally meant to post one of my favorite tofu recipes here, but I forgot to buy tofu and didn’t have time to make it when I realized I didn’t have it. So I couldn’t get pictures. Then I heard of a friend on Twitter who was thinking of going dairy free, and thought I should post this recipe instead. I will continue with the tofu theme next week.

I like cheese. I will admit that it is one of the hardest things to avoid when I am vegan. And many foods seem to require cheese. I mean, what would pizza be without cheese? Sure, I’ve eaten cheeseless pizza… but I don’t really like it all that well.

I should clarify that this recipe does not taste like cheese at all. Although I use it as a substitute, I don’t expect it to taste like cheese. I feel it should stand alone on its own value. And I must say, it’s downright tasty!

Cashew Cheese Sauce

Blend until smooth:

2 cups water
1/2 cashews
1 small jar pimentos (I sometimes use canned red bell pepper, because it’s cheaper)
1/4 cup heaping of nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

When nice and smooth, dump in 3 Tablespoons of potato flour. This will thicken it instantly. Use raw sweet red pepper and fresh lemon juice, and you have a raw food recipe.

If you don’t have potato flour, add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot and cook until thickened. Of course, then it won’t be raw. I prefer the first method, but have used the second on occasion, when I ran out of potato flour (or thought I had, because I couldn’t remember where I had stored the extra!).

Such cheesy deliciousness!

I grew up eating this once or twice a week on macaroni. Mac & cheese–my brother’s favorite food. Here are some other ideas good uses for it: pizza, tacos, haystacks*, nachos–the sky’s the limit!

So try it and let me know what you think!

*Haystacks, in my culture (religious culture), are layers of chips, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, cheese, sour cream, olives, and other related toppings–sort of like a big plateful of a taco on chips. They are a favorite at potlucks at my church.