Crispy rice patties

I had a birthday recently, and my awesome daughters treated me to Chinese food. We ordered a bunch of mostly protein dishes to pick up in town, while my older daughter cooked scallop noodles, coconut sticky rice and plain white rice at home to go with it.

On unpacking the order, we discovered they had thrown in a couple of free orders of white rice and chicken fried rice.

Which left us with a pot of plain white rice that ended up in the fridge, untouched.

Not a problem at all! I used it to make these crispy, pan fried patties. It’s a great way to use up leftover rice, though tasty enough to be worth making a bunch of rice, just for this!

Rice Patty Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked, cold white rice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 – 2 cups shredded cheese (I used medium cheddar and a fine grater)
  • seasonings to taste (I used bacon salt, freshly ground pepper, paprika and garlic granules)
  • oil and butter for frying

Tip: when your cooked rice is ready to go into the fridge for the night, put it into a large slide-lock freezer bag. You can then more easily break any lumps of chilled rice apart in the bag, before putting it into the mixing bowl.

Note: I used a fine hand grater, normally used to grate Parmesan, for the cheese, as a regular sized grate could make the patties fall apart more. If using a regular size grate, reduce the amount of cheese used. The cheese can be skipped, too, if you wish.

Sauce ingredients:

  • mayonnaise
  • sour cream
  • white wine vinegar
  • dried herbs and seasonings to taste (I used a Mrs. Dash mix, plus a bit of rosemary lemon salt and fresh ground pepper, but feel free to combine whatever herbs you like or have on hand!)

To make the rice patties

  1. add your chilled rice into a medium bowl. Add seasonings to taste.
  2. add eggs and mix well with your hands, breaking up any remaining clumps of rice.
  3. add shredded cheese and mix in. Let rest for a minute or so (this is a good time to make the sauce). Note: if the rice mixture seems too loose to form patties, mix in a small amount of flour, then let rest again to allow the flour to absorb moisture.
  4. prepare a deep frying pan by adding about half an inch of oil (any oil with a higher smoke point, such as canola, sunflower or peanut oil, will work) along with about a tablespoon of butter, at high heat. The butter adds flavour, but it also lowers the smoke point of the oil. It can be skipped, if you wish. Note: it is important that the oil is very hot before adding the patties, so that they will crisp up rather than absorbing the oil.
  5. begin to form patties by taking about 1/4 cup of rice and pressing it into your hands to form a sticky ball. Flatten slightly, then set aside on a plate.
  6. when the oil is very hot, gently add several patties into the pan (I could fit only 3 in my pan). Use a spatula to gently flatten the patties.
  7. cook until the bottoms are crispy and golden. Gently turn the patties to cook the other side until also crisp and golden.
  8. remove patties and drain on a paper towel. Keep warm as you continue cooking patties in batches. If it become necessary to add more oil and butter to the pan, make sure to give it time to get very hot before continuing cooking.
  9. serve with sauce while hot. Garnish, if desired.

To make the sauce:

  1. place equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream into a small bowl or measuring cup. I used about 2 – 3 Tbsp each.
  2. add a splash of white wine vinegar and any dried herbs you wish.
  3. mix well and set aside to let the flavours meld.
  4. drizzle over crispy rice patties just before serving.

Making these is rather messy, and the rice mixture tends to want to fall apart until it starts to get crispy, but it is so worth it!

Enjoy. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Small Batch Grape Jelly

During the summer, as my mother’s grapes ripened, I gathered them and froze them.  I didn’t even bag them; just put them in bowls and stuck them in the freezer.

We’ve been nibbling on them, little by little, ever since. 😉

I had originally planned to put them through the juicer, but for the amount we had, it just didn’t seem worth the effort.  So I went back to something I wanted to try, earlier.

Making jelly.

20181019.grape.jelly.spoon This is a new thing for me – we made jam, when I was growing up, never jelly.  I got the recipes and instructions from my copy of the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (affiliate link).  It’s a great book for small batch canning, with recipes that are easily modified for quantity. I’m rather pleased with how it turned out!

The frozen grapes made for 5 cups.  The first thing I had to do was extract the juice. For this you need a large, stainless steel saucepan (you need room for the boiling liquid to expand), a jelly bag or a colander or sieve lined with layers of cheese cloth, a deep bowl, and a way to hang the bag over it.

Grape Juice for jelly

  1. Wash and drain the stem-less grapes.  Place into saucepan with just enough water to prevent scorching – about 1/4-1/2 cup for every 4 cups of grapes.  (For my 5 cups of frozen grapes, they were already washed, so I gave them a rinse, left them to thaw in my saucepan, then used about 1/2 cup of water.)
  2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat, cover loosely and boil gently.  Stir often, crushing the grapes if needed (my frozen grapes split in the freezer, so it wasn’t really needed), until just softened – about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Transfer into a dampened jelly bag or cheesecloth lined colander, over a deep bowl.  Hang and allow to drip for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

 

That’s it! I used a large measuring cup as my bowl, and let it hang overnight.  The 5 cups of frozen grapes yielded just under 2 cups of juice.  I then put the pulp outside for the birds. 🙂 To make the jelly, you’ll need a stainless steel saucepan – this will bubble up a lot, so have one big enough to give it plenty of room – sterilized jars, rings and lids, a spoon to stir with, plus a cold spoon to do the gel test*, and a canning funnel. 20181019.grape.jelly.jars

Grape Jelly (based on Old-Fashioned Jellies, pg. 120, in the cookbook)

2 cups juice
1 1/2 cups sugar

(ratio of 3 cups sugar to 4 cups juice)

  1. Combine juice and sugar in a large, stainless steel saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Keep at a hard boil, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to sheet from a metal spoon*, about 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and test gel*.  If gel stage has been reached, skim off foam.
  2. Quickly pour hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar and screw on ring until finger-tip tight.

After this, you could can them, as per your canner’s instructions.  I don’t have a canner, but the 2 cups of juice made barely 1 1/2 pints of jelly, which were left to cool overnight.  They will be kept refrigerated, instead.

* Sheet test for gel

Dip a cold metal spoon into the boiling soft spread.  Lift the spoon and hold it horizontally, edge down, and watch how the mixture drops.  When the mixture reaches the gel stage, it will begin to “sheet”, with the jelly breaking off the spoon in a sheet or flake, rather than pouring or dripping.

20181019.grape.jelly.leaf.bowl

We taste tested the jelly this morning.

Now, this is where I admit, I don’t actually like jams or jellies.  I find them too sweet, and the texture off-putting.

I love this jelly!  Using our own grapes, this jelly has a sweet-tart flavor that is just awesome.  It also gelled really well.

Obviously, the flavor will always depend on the type of grapes used, but using grapes that had been frozen first would have changed the flavor was well.

I am hoping that, next year, I’ll be able to free up our grape vine from the spirea it’s surrounded by, and be able to trellis it, for increased productivity.

Over the years, I plan to get more, and different varieties, that can grow in our climate.

Next year, I invest in canning equipment. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Sourdough Cornmeal Pancakes

It’s been ages since I’ve made these, and they are absolutely my favourite pancake recipe, ever.  They’re just a bit of a PITA to make. 😀

The original recipe called for sour cream.  I substituted yogurt “cheese”, which my daughter described as “sour cream 2.0 – like sour cream, but MORE”. 😀  I was out of yogurt cheese, but I still had some of our homemade yogurt, so I quickly made some.  It took two batches to get the amount I needed for a double recipe, and I also have some whey for our next bread baking.

So I’ll start with instructions on how to make small batch yogurt “cheese” for a sour cream substitute.

Needed:
About 1/2 cup yogurt
2 coffee filters
fine sieve/strainer that will fit over a measuring cup
2 cup measuring cup

  1. Place the strainer over the measuring cup.  (If yours has a heavier handle like mine does, you might need to have something next to it to prop it up.)
  2. Line the strainer with 1 coffee filter
  3. Pour in the yogurt.  Let sit to drain long enough that, when you pull the coffee filter inwards, then let it fall back again, the yogurt stays behind cleanly.  About an hour or so.  You will find the outer edges are thicker and the middle is still soft.
  4. Draw edges of coffee filter in and lift out the yogurt.  Place the second filter into the strainer.  Gently roll the yogurt into the new filter, so that the softer middle is mostly on the bottom of the filter.  Leave to drain until desired thickness.
  5. At this point, if you want it to drain faster, or want a thicker “cheese”, fold the filter sides over the yogurt to completely cover it.  Place a small, flat object (I used one of the many tiny dishes in my collection) over the filter, than add a weight, such as a can of beans, on top.
  6. When at desired consistency, remove from coffee filter, place in a sealed container and refrigerate.
  7. Reserve the liquid for bread baking.

The 1/2 cup of yogurt will yield about 1/3 cup yogurt “cheese”, depending on how long you let it sit to drain.

And now… on to the pancakes!

This recipe is modified from “Cornmeal Pancakes” in The Sourdough Cookbook by Rita Davenport.

ingredients

The amounts pictured here is for a DOUBLE recipe of Sourdough Cornmeal Pancakes.

Here is the ingredients list for a SINGLE recipe.

1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sourdough starter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream (or thick yogurt or yogurt “cheese”)
1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil

20180220sourdough.cornmeal.pancakes

Sourdough Cornmeal Pancakes

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients, then set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg, then mix in milk and starter.
  3. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.
  4. Fold in oil and sour cream or sour cream substitute.
  5. Preheat and oil frying pan.  Cook 1/4-1/2 cup of batter per pancake for a minute or two, each side.

Note: kitchen chemistry!  When the wet and dry ingredients combine, the acidic sourdough starter and sour cream/yogurt cheese will react to the baking powder and baking soda, causing it to bubble up.  The batter will still be very thick, but light and fluffy at the same time.  Be gentle with it, to keep those bubbles for light and fluffy pancakes!

I like these with nothing but a bit of melted butter on them, but of course you can top them with whatever you want.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

The Re-Farmer

My Non-traditional Slow Cooker Chili

I do love my slow cookers!  I’ve got two 8 quart sized cookers, and have found they are the perfect size for us.  Especially for making something like chili; it’s enough to feed us for a couple of days, making life much simpler!

The chili I make is not at all traditional.  In fact, I’m sure it would horrify true chili aficionados!  😀  I’ve looked through various recipes and they either use ingredients I never tend to have – or ones I can’t use.  My chili has no heat to it.  At all.  You see, for some reason, I have these massive crevasses in my tongue.  It seems to be a hereditary thing, as my father had them, as does one of my daughters.  The oils that cause that spicy heat gets into them, and once there, there’s nothing I can do to alleviate the pain of it.  So as much as I love the taste of spicy food, I can’t actually eat it.

Which makes me sad.  Because I love Indian food.

Ah, well.

So here is my non-traditional, totally mild (though you can make it spicy, if you want), slow cooker chili.

Remember; this is for a big slow cooker, so feel free to cut the recipe in half.  I’m pretty loosey-goosey with the quantities, too.

chili-groundbeef

First up, start browning the ground meat.

I like to use lean or extra lean ground beef, but I’ve also made it with combination of beef and pork, or beef and turkey, since those three ground meats are all pretty inexpensive at Costco.  I used a family size pack of lean ground beef, which was about 5 pounds, and browned it in batches and transferred it to the slow cooker liner using a slotted spoon, so what little fat there was in the pan, stayed in the pan.

chili-onion

While the beef was browning, I chopped up a large yellow onion.  I like leaving the chunks a bit on the large side.  Just because.

I added the onion to the last batch of browning beef.

chili-carrots

Next on the chopping block; 4 or 5 small carrots.

I usually use about 5, but used only 4 this time.  I finished off one bag and didn’t feel like starting another.  I like to chop carrots smaller, too.  This made just under a cup of chopped carrots.

chili-sweetpotato

Then I chopped up 2 small sweet potatoes.

Yes, sweet potatoes.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a chili recipe with them in there, but it was something I decided to try some years ago, and it’s been a permanent addition, since.  I like to chop these even smaller than the carrot.  The idea is for them to be so soft that they disintegrate into the chili when you mix it at the end.  There’s something about the creamy smoothness of it that really appeals to me.

chili-crockpot.prep

After the meat and onions were browned, I added the chopped carrots and sweet potato, then 1 can of mixed beans and 1 can of white kidney beans (both 19 oz cans, drained and rinsed).

I like to change up the can with one type of beans, but I always include 1 can of mixed beans.

chili-crockpot.ingredients

Next up is a large tin of crushed tomatoes, a small tin of tomato paste, seasonings and water.

The seasonings are typically whatever I have handy; usually a steak spice mix and garlic. Slow cookers are where dried foods are in their element, so I used dehydrated garlic pieces that I’ve been able to find.  Strangely, I hardly ever saw them before our move, but our local grocery store carries it!  In refill packages, too, so it’s really cheap. 🙂

The 4 of us have very different preferences when it comes to seasoning, so I tend to use a light hand with it, then everyone can add their own later on.

chili-crockpot.readytocook

Then mix it all together!  Not an easy task, with the crock so full!

Add more water, if needed.

The water is another one of those loosey-goosey measurements.  Food in slow cookers release their own moisture, so they need less added to begin with.  How much to add is a judgement call.  I find it’s safer to add less at the start, then check after it’s been cooking a while.  If it seems to need more, I’ll add boiling water, so it won’t cool the slow cooker down too much.

I then set the slow cooker on low for 5 hours.  I did end up adding more water part way through.  In the time it took to finish adding the water and stirring everything, I increased the time a bit to compensate for lost heat.

chili-crockpot.withoutcream

This is what it looked like when we got back from town.  There was a bit over half an hour on the timer at this point.

This would be the time to give it a taste and adjust the seasonings, then give it a good stir.

I then stirred in my final ingredient.

chili-crockpot.withcream

Whipping cream.  About 3/4 cup.

That was another one of those “Hmm… I should try this” experiments I’d made some years ago that stuck around.

At this point, I like to stir it very thoroughly to break up the sweet potato pieces.  I then returned the cover and left it for the last few minutes to make sure the cream was warmed through.

Between the sweet potatoes and the cream, we have ourselves a wonderfully rich and saucy chili.

chili-bowl

Top your bowl with some shredded cheese, sour cream or some yogurt cheese (which, sadly, we are now out of), and enjoy!

Here’s the recipe:

Non-traditional Slow Cooker Chili
for: 8 quart slow cooker
cook on low for 5 hours

Lean or extra lean ground beef (family pack; about 5 pounds)
1 large onion, chopped
4-5 small carrots, chopped
2 small sweet potatoes, chopped small
1 tin mixed beans (19oz), drained and rinsed
1 tin white kidney beans (19oz), drained and rinsed
1 tin crushed tomatoes (796ml – 26oz)
1 tin tomato paste (170gm – 6oz)
4 cups water (to start)
Seasonings to taste (steak spice mix, dehydrated garlic or garlic granules, salt, pepper, etc.)
hot water, as needed during cooking
3/4 cup whipping cream, or to taste
shredded cheese for topping (or sour cream, or yogurt cheese)

  1. Brown beef and onions.  Drain and transfer to slow cooker liner.
  2. Add chopped vegetables, beans, crushed tomato, tomato paste, 3 or 4 cups of water and seasonings.  Mix. Cover.
  3. Set slow cooker to low for 5 hours.
  4. Check after a couple hours to see if hot water is needed.  Add if necessary and stir.
  5. Shortly before done, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  6. Stir in whipping cream.  Cover and let warm through for final cooking time.
  7. Serve topped with shredded cheese, sour cream or other toppings of choice.

 

 

Home Made Yogurt – Day One

I hadn’t intended to make this again so soon, but my daughter and I were able to make a quick trip into town and she made a passing comment about how we should make yogurt again.  I’ve been thinking of it since I posted about using the liquid from making yogurt cheese in bread baking, so that was all it took to convince me to get what we needed to make some now.

Making yogurt is really pretty easy.  The main thing is to have a warm place for the bacteria to do its thing for the hours it needs.  I’ve found leaving it in a warm oven with the light left on overnight to be adequate, but there are other methods.

Since that is my preferred method, it’s a two day process.  I use a full gallon of milk, and plan to use half of it to make yogurt cheese tomorrow.

Along with the ingredients, a candy thermometer is needed, and containers you can sterilize to store the yogurt in, later.  Any container that can handle being scalded, with an air tight lid, of the appropriate size for your amounts will do.

The recipe I use is from Whole Foods for the Whole Family, from La Leche League International.  I have a 1991 printing of it.  It’s a very handy cookbook, if you like to make things from scratch.  I modified the recipe for larger quantities, so I’ll include both the original quantities, and my own variation (in brackets).

This recipe uses plain commercial yogurt as a starter.  Make sure you check the label to see that it says something like “active bacterial culture” or “live bacteria” on it.

Do not use the optional gelatin if you’re planning to make yogurt cheese.  The gelatin serves only to make a firmer yogurt.

20180128-yogurt1

4L milk, scalded

Yogurt

4 cups milk (4 litres/1 gallon)
1 cup powdered milk (4 cups)
2-4 Tbsp plain yogurt (1/2 – 1 cup)
2 tsp (8 tsp) unflavored gelatin, softened in 1/4 cup (1 cup) cold water – optional

  1. Scald milk.
  2. Cool to 95 – 155 degrees. (The recipe does not specify, but looking at my candy thermometer, it must refer to Celsius, not Fahrenheit)  Check with candy thermometer to be sure.

    20180128-yogurt2

    Yogurt starter and powdered milk stirred in.

  3. Stir in powdered milk and yogurt.  Add optional softened gelatin.
  4. Pour into sterilized jars, a baking dish with a cover, or a thermos rinsed with very hot water.  (Because I use an entire gallon of milk, I leave it in the same container I heated it in and cover it with a lid.)
  5. Place into or on a yogurt maker or use other heat source.  A thermos just needs to be wrapped in a towel.
  6. Put in a warm place and allow to incubate at 95-155 degrees until yogurt sets.  It can take from 3-9 hours, depending on your heat source.  Check after 3 hours to see if it is set by tilting the container or tapping it with the heel of your hand.  When set, refrigerate immediately.

Maintaining the temperature is vital; too cold, and the milk can go sour.  Too hot, and it will kill the bacteria.  The recipe lists several options for maintaining the right temperature, but a few of them a fire hazards, so I won’t bother including them. 😀

Yogurt cheese isn’t really cheese at all, but is has a texture similar to cream cheese and makes a wonderful spread.  To make it, you’ll need cheese cloth, and somewhere to hang it.

Which I don’t have.  So I have to figure something out for tomorrow.

Anyhow… to make yogurt “cream cheese”

  1. Line a colander with 2-4 layers of cheesecloth.  Place the colander over a bowl, then dump home made yogurt onto the cheesecloth.  Pull up the corners of the cheese cloth and tie them together so it can be hung.  Suspend the resulting bag of yogurt over the bowl and leave overnight. (Or just a few hours, depending on how thick you want it)
  2. Reserve liquid in bowl for bread baking.
  3. Remove yogurt cheese from bag and refrigerate.

Fair warning: getting the yogurt cheese off the cheese cloth can be a messy job!  Also, the outside will often be drier than the middle, so you’ll probably want to mix it together.  If you wish, you can mix in some dried herbs or garlic or otherwise experiment with it.

More, tomorrow!

The Re-Farmer

 

Quick Sourdough Chocolate Cupcakes

When we were living in Victoria, BC, and had made our first sourdough starter, this recipe from The Sourdough Cookbook was one of our favorites.  Not only was it chocolatey and delicious, it was one of the few things we could bake in our wonky PMQ oven.  We couldn’t bake a cake, because it had hot and cold spots so bad, parts of it would be raw and parts overcooked, but we could manage cupcakes and muffins.

We didn’t bake very often at all while living there.

Last night, I gave Sir Sour Alot a new home in one of our giant Tupperware Thatsa Bowls.  Since there is so much room in there, I fed it more than usual so that there would be lots left over after my daughters baked bread today.  With the larger amount of starter, it will be good to be able to use it for multiple things, all in one day.  They made 4 loaves of black olive and cheddar bread today.  While the first pair of loaves was baking, I started to pre-measure the ingredients and prepare the pans.  That way, when the second pair of loaves came out, I could quickly start mixing the batter while the oven got to temperature (the bread recipe calls for the same temperature, but with glass loaf pans, we reduce by 25F, so it was already pretty close).

Here is the recipe;

20180127sourdough.chocolate.cupcakes.ingredients

Quick Chocolate Cupcakes
(from The Sourdough Cookbook)
preheat oven to 400F and pre-measure the ingredients.

1/2 cup sourdough starter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder (sifted)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

  1. Grease 16 muffin cups, or line with paper liners; set aside. (note: I prepared 18 muffin cups)
  2. Place all ingredients into a large bowl – do not mix until all are combined.
  3. Beat with electric mixer on high speed for 2 minutes.
  4. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 – 3/4 full with batter.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from muffin cups and cool on rack.

The recipe then says to put frosting on them, but I don’t think we have ever bothered! 😀

When I started mixing these today, the batter was MUCH thicker than I expected.  Almost a dough, rather than a batter.  I think perhaps the sourdough starter was thicker than when we’d made it before.  I ended up adding extra milk to it.  It still was really thick, but it turned out wonderfully, anyways.

The recipe said 14-16 cupcakes, but I filled 18 muffin cups (I had three tins with 6 muffin cups each), so they were a bit on the small side.  They turned out very light and airy.  So much so, the first one I tried to photograph didn’t work out because, when I started to break it open with my fingers, the inside was so delicate, the slightly crispier outside just crushed it!  So I got another one and very carefully used a knife to cut it open.  😀

These have a rich chocolate flavour, but are not too sweet.  So you taste chocolate, not sugar.

As for the sourdough, you don’t really get a “sourdough” taste, but there is definitely something there that’s different.  It adds a depth and complexity to the flavour that is quite nice, and of course, it adds to that light and fluffy texture.

Very delicious.

And, judging from how many are disappearing with the girls upstairs, they might not last until morning.

Ah, well.  I guess I’ll just have to make more…  Oh, the tragedy. 😉

The Re-Farmer

Almost Alaska Sourdough Hotcakes

I say almost, because I don’t have an Alaska sourdough starter.

Yet.

I will be working on that later today, and when it is ready, I will make another batch to compare.

Basic Sourdough Hotcakes
(adapted from Alaska Sourdough)
Note: make sure the mixing bowl you use has enough room for the batter to expand.

2 cups sourdough starter
2 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 scant tsp baking soda; full teaspoon if starter is very sour.

Mix together all ingredients except soda.

Heat pan or griddle.

Dissolve soda in a tablespoon of warm water. Fold soda gently into batter.  Batter should immediately begin to expand and become light and fluffy.

Cook on prepared pan or griddle.  Place cooked hotcakes on hot place and serve immediately.

I like to put some butter onto the hotcakes as soon as possible after transferring them from pan to plate, while waiting for the next one to cook.  That way, the butter is melted into the hotcake before it gets to the person eating it.

These hotcakes have a very strong and robust sourdough flavour.  Which makes sense, since it’s got no additional flour, and only egg and oil for additional liquid.

For this recipe, I use an 8 cup measuring cup as a mixing bowl; that way I can measure the 2 cups of starter first, then add everything else, and still have room for the batter to expand.

Quick and Easy Sourdough Bread, with garlic and parmasan

While I was driving my husband to a medical appointment and then the pharmacy, my daughters eagerly went at my new copy of Alaska Sourdough and baked bread.

This was not our first attempt at doing a sourdough yeast bread in loaves.  However, when we tried it before, we did not have any commercial yeast left.  Normally, this is not a problem; it just takes longer for the dough to rise.

Except it didn’t really rise.  Even using the oven with the light on to keep it warm and draft free, and giving it 4 hours, it still didn’t double in size.  Nor did things improve after shaping the loaves and setting it aside for a second rising of a couple of hours.

We baked it anyways and got a very dense loaf that was delicious, but it was half-way between unleavened bread and regular bread in texture.

Our home is simply too cool for doing sourdough bread without using commercial yeast, though if we had shaped them into buns instead of loaves, it might have worked better.

We have yeast now.

The girls went through the cookbook and settled on the Quick and Easy Sourdough Bread recipe because… well… it was quick and easy.

Of course, it was also modified a bit.  Because we do that.  They added Herb and Spices Parmesan (found at Bulk Barn) and garlic powder.  You can’t see it in the bread, but you can taste it!

They also doubled the recipe, because two loaves with 4 people is gone in a day.

So here is the modified, two loaf, recipe.

1 cup Sourdough starter
1 Tbsp yeast (1 pkg)
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
6 cups flour
optional: about 1/4 cup each, garlic powder and Herb and Spice Parmesan, or to taste.

Add yeast to warm water.  Mix in sourdough starter, sugar, salt and 4 cups of flour.  Beat well.

Put in oiled bowl and set aside in a warm spot to rise until doubled.

Mix soda win 1 cup flour.  Add to risen dough.  Knead in garlic, Herb and Spice Parmesan, plus more flour as needed, until satiny and springy to the touch.

Cut dough in half and shape into loaves.

Bake in 400F oven for 45 minutes.

Note: if using glass loaf pans, reduce heat by 25F.

The recipe did not call for a second rising, so with the doubled recipe, the first two loaves went straight into the preheated oven, while the second two loaves got a second rising while waiting.

I would go with doing a second rising.

The resulting bread has a lovely, spongy texture that is dense enough to handle being spread with rather cold butter (when we buy bread, sometimes I have to warm up the butter in the microwave for 8-10 seconds, just to be able to spread it.  Otherwise the slices just disintegrate!).

We polished off the first two loaves with some beef stew.  A marvelous combination.

 

Sourdough Dinner Rolls

Today was our first yeast bread using Sir Sour Alot.  The recipe is very basic.

Typically, with yeast breads, I like to do things like use oatmeal, seeds or grains, or knead in herbs or shredded cheese.

For this one, I didn’t play around.  When my pantry is better stocked, I will get more creative. I didn’t even double the recipe, like I usually do.  So these buns were much tinier than what I typically make! 😀

It was quite a success.

The sourdough flavour is still quite mild with this baby starter, but it is identifiable.  A bit of butter melting on the still warm buns is heavenly!

20180107_1509582064642697.jpgSourdough Dinner Rolls
(adapted from The Sourdough Cookbook)

1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 egg
1 cup sourdough starter
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp oil
3 – 4 cups all-purpose flour

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and set aside for 5 minutes, or until bubbly.

In a large bowl, beat egg.  Stir in sourdough, sugar, salt and oil, then stir in the softened yeast mixture.

Add 2 cups of flour and beat until smooth. *

Continue beating in small amounts of flour to make a soft dough. **

Turn dough out onto floured surface, then wash and grease the bowl and set aside.

Knead dough, adding flour as needed, until smooth and elastic. **

Place into prepared bowl, turning to oil all sides.  Cover loosely and set aside in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours, or until dough is doubled.

Oil large baking sheets and set aside.

Punch down the dough, then divide into 24 pieces.  Shape the pieces into rolls and arrange on prepared baking sheets.  Cover with a towel and set aside to rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. ***

* How much flour needed can change based on things like humidity.  When I made these today, the first 2 cups was almost all that was needed.  I mixed in maybe half a cup more with this batch.  Likewise, rising times can change dramatically.  I placed the bowl in the oven with the light on for warmth, and it took only about an hour to double in size.

** Sourdough breads will have a slightly stickier dough than those made without sourdough starter.  This is normal.

*** Ovens can be quite variable.  Check after 10 minutes.  Of our two pans of buns, the first one was ready in 10 minutes.  The other in about 15.

 

Sourdough Pancakes

This morning was our first use of the sourdough starter, to make some basic pancakes.

They were awesome.

I topped mine with just a bit of butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar.

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The sourdough flavour was mild, but definitely there.  They were also light and fluffy.

Before I go on to the recipe, here are a few tips.

It’s very helpful to pre-measure all your ingredients first.  It’s also a good idea to use a bigger mixing bowl that you might normally use.  Once the wet and dry ingredients combine, there is a chemical reaction between the baking soda and the sourdough, causing it to bubble up and expand a fair bit, very quickly.  I’ve made a flapjack hotcakes recipe using an Alaskan Sourdough where the batter would quickly triple in size!  You’ll want to be able to start cooking them right away, to keep them all light and full of air.  I started preheating my pan after pre-measuring the ingredients, and just before I starting combining them.

Again, you’ll want to avoid using metal bowls or utensils.  Metal will affect the flavour of your sourdough, so stick with wood, plastic, glass or ceramic.

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It now has a name!  Meet Sir Sour Alot!

 

This is what the sourdough starter looked like this morning, before I stirred it.  With my doubled recipe, I used 2 cups of starter, which left behind maybe 1/8th of a cup.  More than adequate.  I fed the remains with equal parts flour and warm water, plus a bit of sugar, right away.  I will feed it again tonight, so there will be a decent quantity for anything we’d like to use it for tomorrow.

Here is the recipe I used this morning, except that I made a double batch.

Quick Sourdough Pancakes
(from The Sourdough Cookbook)

20180102_111510828317172.jpg1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 egg (beaten)
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp vegetable oil

20180102_1118001516703109.jpgIn a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the wet ingredients.

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened.

Cook on pre-heated griddle or frying pan for about 1-2 minutes each side, or until golden brown.

20180102_114909672118921.jpgI like to finish off cooking with one giant pancake.  Just because.

These can be modified by adding chopped pecans, frozen berries, diced bananas or even crumbled bacon.  Just fold 3/4-1 cup into the batter after it’s mixed.

If you give these a try, do feel free to leave a comment and let me know how you like it!

The Re-Farmer