October Baking (Half) Day

Baking day bread

Monday was rainy and dreary- the perfect day for baking! All of the baking pictured was done using my sourdough starter– I simply took it out of the fridge the night before, fed it, and left it on the counter so it would be active and ready in the morning.

It took only one hour to mix up the doughs for the Easy Whole Wheat Sourdough English Muffins, Sourdough Bagels, and Soft Sourdough Bread. Then the dough rose on the counter for the rest of the morning.

One thing I had to get accustomed to when using sourdough was the length of time needed for the dough to rise. It’s not extra work, but it does take planning and a day when I’ll be home. For example, on this day I finished cooking the last item- the bread which needed two full rises – at 4:30 in the afternoon.

And by extra time, I mean 3-4 hours for each rise. I’ve learned not to make sourdough on a day when I have obligations in the afternoon, even if it’s late afternoon and I think I’ll be done. I’ve rushed the second rise in the past and the result is, well…flat. But when I’m able to give it the time it needs- wha-hoo! What a feeling seeing that bread rise with just the natural sourdough yeast that I’ve “harvested” and kept alive for about a year and a half .

I still use commercial yeast for things like our favorite quick Homemade Pizza dough, Quick Breadsticks/Hamburger Buns, and the bread-you-can’t-stop-eating (aka, Simple French Baguettes), and even Soft Sandwich Bread when I don’t have time for sourdough. Otherwise, it’s sourdough all the time now because it’s sitting in the fridge reminding me that it needs to be used.

While the sourdough was rising, I cooked up red beans and garbanzo beans for the freezer, so I’d have beans ready whenever a recipe calls for them. One of my favorite ways to use them is in a quick chopped salad:

  • Mix the beans, chopped onion, celery, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, or any other vegetable that’s in season- all cut to about the same size.
  • Optionally, add some sliced olives, crumbled feta, and/or grated Parmesan.
  • Coat the salad with some homemade vinaigrette.

So good, and so easy- I never fail to get positive comments on this when I bring it to a group gathering!

And that bottle on the right? It was easy to make time to refill it with Homemade Chocolate Syrup– which we had been out of for two days. *gasp*

It would be remiss of me to not point out that ALL of these items were things I only bought at stores just a few years ago. I didn’t know how simple most of these recipes are and how easy it is to fit them into time I’m already in the kitchen. I’m not saying it doesn’t take planning, but soon it just becomes a part of the general routine of home-keeping and doesn’t seem a big deal at all.

And knowing exactly what ingredients are in these basic foods? The BEST part!

What do you routinely like to make?


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