Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Herman

When it comes to starters, the one people are most familiar with, goes by the affectionate name of Herman or a Friendship Starter. Herman gained it's fame in the 70's and was mostly used to make Herman cake and Friendship bread. It was also used to make biscuits and many other sweet treats. Herman quickly became a staple in most everyone's home. This wonderful starter had a tendency (as most starters do) to grow to an inordinate size, when not constantly cooked with, and therefore needed to be thrown out or given away. It became somewhat of a tradition to give excess starter to neighbors, friends and family to share the magic and delight of having Herman in their home.

Now, unlike a regular Sourdough Starter (only containing water and flour) the Herman uses dry active yeast, sugar, flour and water. It appeared more convenient, do to dry yeasts quick acting nature.  In reality though a plain old flour and water is almost as quick acting and needn't the extra ingredients.

I have enjoyed finding out more about this Herman friend of so many and delving farther into the word of Sourdough.

Here are a couple clippings from a article my grandmother had about Herman.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Heavenly Scent of a Fresh English Muffin

I have never in my entire life found a more fulfilling and easy recipe. This here is a great "starter" recipe for someone new to the magic of sourdough. I am pleased to introduce to you "The Homemade English Muffin."

This recipe has been slightly adapted from the Original at "Wild Yeast".

It does require a scale. The conversions to cups were really obscure. If the cup conversions are still wanted, I will be happy to provide them.
Here is a link to the scale I have in my kitchen. It's cheap and works very well. Ozeri Digital Kitchen and Food Scale

Alright, for this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

Levain (commonly referred to as Sponge) Ingredients:
  • 110 g  100% hydration sourdough starter
  • 160 g flour 
  • 100 g whole wheat flour
  • 276 g milk 
Final Dough Ingredients:
  • 75 g flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Honey
  • all of the Levain 
  1. In a medium bowl, mix the sponge ingredients until just combined. Cover and let rest for 8 hours or overnight. 
  2. Add the final dough ingredients and mix to roughly combine. Turn the dough out onto the counter and hand mix for about 7 to 8 minutes, or until the surface becomes quite smooth. The dough will be very soft, and sticky at first. I usually add a little bit more flour half way through mixing. It will become less sticky as you mix, so try not to add to0 much extra flour.
  3. Flour the counter and your hands well, and roll or pat the dough out to a thickness of about one-half inch. Cut the dough into 3 to 4-inch circles and place them on semolina or corn meal-dusted parchment paper.
  4. Cover and let proof for 45 – 60 minutes.

  5. Lightly oil a griddle and heat it over medium-low heat. Cook the muffins for a total of about 8 or 9 minutes on each side, until browned and the sides are firm. Flipping them every couple of minutes for the first few minutes, helps to provide a better shape.
  6. Cool on a wire rack. 

And there you have it. One of my all time favorite Sourdough recipes. Hope you enjoy and please check out "Wild Yeast"

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Journey of the Sourdough

Shortly after my husband and I were married we were introduced to the wonderful world of sourdough. Not the sour, chewy stuff you get in stores or restaurants, but the real thing. The ancient way of bread making. Before commercial leaveners, like packaged yeast, there were starters. An almost magical way of making bread.

A starter consists of flour and water, mixed together and left out at room temperature to ferment, being "fed" once a day with more flour and water. After feeding for a few days your starter will come alive. At this point you may feel like Dr. Frankenstein and shout with manic glee,  "IT'S ALIVE!" 

And there it is, a beautifully bubbly starter that smells of tangy, yeasty goodness. This gorgeous little thing is the beginning to the Journey of the Sourdough.