Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat

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This is the second bread I made with Jim’s revived sourdough starter. It’s the Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes.

This was my first time cooking from this book (though not my first time eating from it, Jim bakes from it often). It’s not an easy cookbook. There’s a lot of cross-referencing and flipping between sections and I totally missed the part on how to shape a loaf. So I just didn’t really do any shaping. These came out pretty flat.

The wild yeasts clearly were doing their thing, though. Go little yeasties!

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Sourdough banana bread

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This seemed like an obvious use for some discarded sourdough starter.

Our usual banana bread recipe from Cooks Illustrated calls for a quarter cup of yogurt. I swapped in a quarter cup of leftover sourdough starter.

For better or worse, the results were indistinguishable from the usual recipe — not more interesting, but also not freakishly sour or anything (unlike our latest pancakes, which have so much discarded starter that they are freakishly sour).

BLT Panzanella

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This is an old recipe called BLT Panzanella. There are several versions of this online. I can’t find the source of ours right now, but here’s the index card we made of it years ago.

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I used romaine lettuce instead of arugula this time.

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Gado Gado (Peanut sauce on veg)

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This is the Indonesian-inspired dish called Gado Gado from the Moosewood Restaurant Favorites cookbook. I love peanut sauces. This was more involved than the Mark Bittman one we often make, where you just mix peanut butter or tahini with hot water, soy sauce and some other yummy stuff.

This one starts with cooking onions, garlic and spices. It includes tamarind concentrate, coconut milk and a little vinegar. I’m not sure the flavor is that much different from the simpler ones, but it’s very, very good.

This recipe makes a TON of peanut sauce. It calls for an entire jar of peanut butter for 6 to 8 servings. We ate maybe a quarter of the sauce at dinner. Good left-overs, but next time I’ll make a lot less.

Since I could probably eat myself to death with peanut sauce on pasta, it was good that this was on an enormous pile of vegetables. Of course, there was so much going on between cooking the sauce and chopping the veg that I ran out of time to saute the tofu and never even thought to boil eggs until it was time to eat. This is a dish that takes some planning.

 

Spring minestrone

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Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special is one of our lesser used Moosewood Cookbooks. It’s all soups and salads.

This was the Spring Minestrone, a very hearty soup even without any pasta or potatoes. It’s got white beans, asparagus, greens, summer squash and peas.

I made a fresh batch of vegetable stock early in the day for this one, and it was worth it. I used the quick veggie stock recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. This time I didn’t double it and I actually measured the water. It made just enough for this one recipe.

Problem was, the soup is so full of good stuff that it could have used way more stock (or less stuff) to remain a soup. This was more like a stew. Delicious anyway.

Served with fresh, homemade sourdough bread.

 

Whole wheat country loaf

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This was my first attempt at Michael Pollan’s recipe for a Whole Wheat Country Loaf in the appendix of his book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, where he learns to cook four basic categories of food and, among other things, makes a case for wild yeast-leavened bread.

This is the recipe I woke up Jim’s starter for. He captured these little yeasties from the air a while back after reading the same book. (We’ve also been using the discarded sourdough starter for pancakes, but this was their big moment).

I’m extremely pleased with the result. The texture is just like he described in the book — creamy on the inside, crisp crust. It had nice oven spring. It even has “ears” from rapid expansion in the hot, steamy pot.

The only thing I was a little disappointed in is the sour flavor, which normal in a sourdough, of course, but I think I would shorten the bulk ferment next time to see if I can make it less sour. It went almost 6 hours this time, which is much longer than the recipe calls for.

The starter is still alive, so there’s plenty of opportunity to try again.

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