Humidity is 72% and it feels like way more than 77 degrees in my kitchen, but I’m going to bake. Allegedly warm and humid is a good thing for rising dough. I’m also out of bread--this stuff freezes well if pre-sliced and I have not bought a loaf of regular bread in ages— and Vincenzo needs attention.
Vincenzo is my sourdough starter that I acquired from a baking friend last May (Happy 1 Year Birthday Vincenzo!) when we were all trapped at home apparently hoarding toilet paper and yeast. Yes, there was such an uptick in people baking at home that stores struggled to keep yeast in stock. I now reflexively buy a packet whenever I walk down that aisle at the store. I have a reminder in my phone that pops up at 9 a.m. on Thursdays: “Feed starter.” He has been well fed and needs to either be used or dumped which just seems wasteful.
I’ve tried a couple of different bread recipes, but landed on a “San Francisco” recipe that is my favorite and has yielded the best results. The first time I adhered to the recipe and the chopped onion topping. It was good, but ….what if?! I ditched the onion for the next batch and started mixing in chopped up rosemary and thyme, sprinkling rosemary, thyme and salt on the top instead of onion. Oh, the warm, earthy smell. The perfect bread for whatever, but especially if you needed to sop up some herby olive oil and nibble some cheese.
After MomBert sent me an article about a local baker who sells sourdough loaves at the farmers market near her, I tried to do some researching about what and how I could add things to my bread. It was a lot!! There was an overwhelming amount of information and discussions about what ingredients need presoaked to maintain moisture and which didn’t and when was the best time add items. As established, I am not a scientist, a park ranger, or a vet, but I am a fan of let’s throw it in there and see what happens when I’m just baking for the sake of baking. I am much more fastidious if the end product is going to other humans.
So today’s product has rosemary from my herb garden, sundried tomatoes in oil, some shredded from a block parmesan, and garlic scapes because I have a ton and why not? This recipe has 3 different rise times, but requires only 10 minutes of kneading hence “arm day” as mind wandered to whether or not this counted as a workout.
Humidity and yeast at work. Note yellow squirrel holding my essential olive oil mister. It is the latest addition to my squirrel army.
I have taken to baking the loaves in my cast iron skillets for easy clean up. This is a doubled recipe. Would eat again.