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Rise Over Bun

March 15, 2011

I have officially given up on the sauerkraut and I’m close to surrendering on the rye bread as well. I am on my fourth attempt of the rye bread and I am starting to memorize how to make the starter. Before making the dough Mitch instructs the wannabe chef (that’s me) to create a sourdough starter and it has to ferment for about a day before you can start on the actual bread dough. The directions say to heat a little milk and water to 110º and then add some yeast. Let it bloom for about 5 minutes and then add the flour and some caraway seeds. I figured the 110º was more of a guideline so I heated the milk and water and then threw the yeast on top. The next morning my starter was a hard ball of  flour and caraway seeds. A very smart person who happened to be at our house on her birthday let me know that I had probably killed the yeast and that the 110º was actually important.

Sourdough Starter Take 2. Sunday morning I made the starter again and I very carefully kept the temperature of the liquid to 110º.  It was going very well and I could tell the yeast was alive because th starter had grown in size. Later that day I wanted to move the starter to a warmer place than just the counter so I put it in the oven with just the light on. Everything seemed to be working out so I started making my pies. Step 1 of making the pies =  preheat oven to cook pie crust. Just as the oven is reaching 350º something in my lizard brain screams at me, “THERE IS SOURDOUGH STARTER IN THE OVEN YOU MORON!” I leap for a hot pad, open the oven, and pull out a very small crispy load of rye bread. I showed amazing restraint and did not throw the bowl at the nearest wall. After I calmed down I ate a couple bites and it tasted like rye bread. So at least there was that.

Sourdough Starter Take 3. This time it wasn’t the starter, but it still was a failed attempt. I made the starter again yesterday afternoon. I was very careful with the temperature of the liquid and it looked just like the second attempt. I put it in the oven with just the light on and I put a big sign on the stove that said “DON’T TURN OVEN ON.” The starter has to ferment for at least 17 hours so I figured out that if I got up at 6 this morning I could use the starter to make the dough. I followed the directions for the dough, but for some reason it didn’t rise. Part of me thinks that the even just the light bulb may have been too much heat and it killed the yeast. My sister had an easy-bake oven when we were kids so I know hot hot those bulbs can get. When I got home (8 hours later) the dough was still the same size as before. I tossed it.

Take 4. I made the starter again tonight (without looking at the cookbook) and it is sitting on the counter as I type this. Doing the math I have figured out that it won’t be ready to add to the dough until noon tomorrow. My current plan is to use my lunch hour to drive home and make the dough so that it will be ready for baking later that night (or rather very early the next morning).  I’ll keep you posted.

On the plus side I made the Thousand Island Dressing Tonight and it looks and tastes exactly like you would expect it to. Since I will be serving this to guests in two days I had to taste it and the verdict is – delicious.

Recipe #63: Thousand Island Dressing

Damn Good Dinner Conversation Quote of the Day: Is there anything that doesn’t taste good with butter on it?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2011 6:44 am

    i love the fact that you tasted the very small loaf of rye bread!

    and speaking of easy-bake ovens, did you see the story in today’s strib? (which, ahem, i edited.)

    • March 16, 2011 8:16 am

      No Magic Light Bulb cooking – say it isn’t so!

    • March 16, 2011 8:17 am

      Do youthink Zoë Francois will take my call and help me with my bread problems?

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