Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sourdough Starter Pt. 3--Bagels

When I started this great sourdough experiment I had no idea it would lead to one of my favorite treats--BAGELS!  I couldn't quite wrap my head around the idea that bagels were boiled before they were baked, but, once I thought about it I was totally ready to try.

Using my part whole wheat starter, I tried out this recipe:  Chef Jules Sourdough Bagels.  I was surprised it took only 2 tablespoons of starter.  But, after proofing it overnight with the one and a half cups of both water and flour, I knew it would be OK.  I am pretty sure if you have a nice strong starter, it will work for you, too!  The only adjustment I made was to the salt--which I cut down to 1/4 teaspoon. So here's the process in a nutshell...

Add the flour and water and let it sit covered overnight

After an hour on the bread machines dough cycle and another 10 minutes kneading
additional flour into the dough--I had what I was looking for--a nice firm bagel dough.
Let it double in size and then cut into 12 balls of dough

I am not very good at making nice round balls of dough--I need my "Roll Queen" Mom
around for that.  But after making a hole in the center and stretching them out a
bit--I had a dozen bagels. 
Then it was into a pot of boiling water for each of them.  This is what gives a
bagel it's distinctive crusty outside layer.  
On to a baking sheet, swipe with a bit of egg white and
then I coated a light dusting of Lynn's Seasons in the Sun
Sea Salt and Black Pepper Herb blends.

So, out of the oven and into the toaster and we had really delicious bagels with a smear.  I didn't even know my hubby liked bagels--but he does now!   Since I had so many, I took a bag over to my friends Tim and Patti.  Patti called after she got off work and told me she had one two different ways.  The first half with butter and honey, the next half with jam!  They enjoyed them too!

Have I told you my Bagel Man stories from my SIU days?  Oh, after a night drinking at the bars, my roomie Cindy and I would stop outside the bar where the Bagel Man was set-up.  He had a cool little grill cart that he rolled out as people were leaving the bars.  He would toast the bagels on the grill.  Then add slices of cucumber and raisins!  OMG, they were heaven!  I am running to the grocery list on the frig as soon as I finish this post to add raisins to the list.

SO, does anyone have any other sourdough recipes they love?  How about other flavored bagel recipes??  I would love to hear about them.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

21 Day Meditation Experience--Who am I?

I did Oprah and Deepak's 21 Day Meditation Experience back in the Fall.  It was transforming.  I talked to several people who participated and they voiced a similar feeling.  I am so excited to see it starting again in a few days--4/14/14.  You can sign up for free here:   21 Day Meditation Experience.  

All it takes is 20 minutes a day for three weeks.  I did it in the morning before  my day started and the impact for the day was measurably good.  My friends and family can attest to my road rage--after a couple days meditating, I could control it easier.  If I did a meditation of some kind daily, I think I could eliminate it!  Like everything in my life, you have to practice this--remember I am not good at commiting to things, thus my failure to do it daily. But, if you can make it part of your daily routine, your life will be much richer.  

So, here is my funny story about trying to get Rod to start meditating.  Remember he had his heart attack back in July, 2013.  So, being a concerned wife, I thought he would benefit by doing this 20 minute meditation with me in addition to his 40 minute walk daily.  He did it for a couple days, but, on day 3 after we were about 10 minutes into the meditation, the sound on the computer went off.  If you don't move the mouse, it goes into power saving or screen saving mode, ya know?!  Well, Rod was sitting right in front of the computer, so I asked him to jiggle the mouse.  But, no sound.  So, I raised my head up from the couch to see him on his tablet reading something.  He was totally not doing a meditation!  I wouldn't have caught him if the sound hadn't gone off!!  

This time around I will use one of Rod's college roommates to try to get him to join in.  Steve loved the last Oprah & Deepak meditation...and maybe that will be enough to get Rod on board. (Steve loved it so much he bought the CD/DVDs for his sister for Christmas!)  Of course Rod is almost perfect compared to me, so, I am the one who really, really, REALLY needs it!  Wish me luck...and perseverance in incorporating this into my day.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sourdough Starter Part 2, Bread, Buns and Pizza Crusts

One observation on the sourdough starter I am using.  This may or may not be true of all sourdough starters:   they take a lot longer to rise!  You need to plan accordingly.  I have missed using the french bread and the hamburger buns with a planned meal because I didn't allow enough time to get them to rise and bake.  

 The two bread pans above are a farmhouse type whole wheat bread.  It made two big loaves, I shared one with my friend Patti and her husband Tim.  They LOVED it!  I thought it was good, but, I missed the salt in the recipe.  It would have helped a bit with the flavor, and the crumb wasn't quite right.  It was a little too crumbly.  But still a very good flavor especially for a first timer.  Want to try the bread?  Jaclyn's Cracked Wheat Sourdough Bread -- my only changes to the recipe were the amount of flour needed was more by over a cup and it took a lot longer to bake.  Perhaps our sticky Florida weather explains this??? 

These buns were awesome, if kind of on the flat side.  It makes a huge recipe of 23-24 buns.  And it takes forever to raise.  I left out the salt and it took an extra cup of whole wheat flour.  It makes a very good, flavorful bun!  Check out the recipe at Donna M's Sourdough Burger Buns.  OK, one of these days I have to find some cheap wire racks to cool stuff.  The whole paper towel on the countertop thing is not ideal for bread...or cooling anything actually.  Oh, the picture on the link shows a sesame seed top, and while that wasn't included in the directions, I think you could accomplish that with an egg wash and some seeds.  

Maybe the bread I will use the most from this starter is probably a dough--pizza dough.  I was so excited to try this recipe.  I loved it so much and will definitely add this onto the list of things to make on a regular basis.  First off, the recipe said this is enough dough for one crust.  But in our heart healthy world, we made enough for six 12" pizzas.  We do like it THIN!  I basically flip a cookie sheet over, spray it with cooking spray and then push it into a relatively round shape.  That is enough for one of us for dinner, with maybe a slice or two leftover for lunch.  Maybe.   Find the recipe here:  SourdoughHome's Pizza Crusts  Again, I left out the salt, but, next time I will add in some Italian Seasoning and Parmesan to add some  more flavor.  Per their instructions, I did the pre-bake route and it took 5 minutes at 500 degrees, but, watch them close.  Then I froze the crusts which fit nicely in a Ziploc bag.  When ready to use them, pull them out of the freezer, top and then bake about 8 minutes at 525 degrees.  Our favorite is Pesto, Tomato and Mozzarella!  YUMMY!!!