Thursday, June 17, 2004

Arts Academy Bounty and Sourdough Bread

Two things of note happened at the Arts Academy dinner tonight at Bennigan's (paid for by Barry Halpin, the producer of our most recent show--in-progress, Out of Control). First, I finished both the "Big Irish" (i.e. double-decker) burger and the Salmon Caesar Salad. And dessert. Then, Mary Lee Grisante solved two important problems for me related to Animal Crackers.
The first problem was casting; many seniors have something else to do this July. (The production is circumscribed to July because I, with many fellow Stamford High Actors, am going to Scotland to perform in our production of Sophocles's Antigone.) The solution: bring in last year's seniors, many of whom need something to do this summer, and whom I will see tomorrow at the Drama end-of-year banquet.
The second problem was costumes, which has been incompletely solved (like the Salmon Caesar Salad), but at least seems solvable with Mary Lee's ideas. She generously offered to help me put them together, and also offered a few suggestions as to which other people who might help me.
Tomorrow, to mention something only tangentially related to the previous topic, I shall bring my second-ever loaf of whole wheat sourdough bread to Mary Lee's house for the Arts Academy lunch. I synthesize dit from two recipes, S. John Ross's recipe and the Weston Price people's sourdough recipe. I simplified it as such:

Starter:

Put 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of purified or spring water into a plastic or glass (nothing metal for sourdough until the cooking) container. Every 24 hours, pour out half and add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. When the starter becomes bubbly and fragrant, put it in the fridge after a feeding and feed it weekly instead of daily.

Proof:

Mix the starter with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water, and leave in a container out of the fridge.

8-10 hours later:

mix 2 cups of the "sponge" (the product of the last step) with 2 1/2 cups of flour and 1 1/4 cups water, once the sponge has become frothy. The rest of the sponge should be fed like starter, becuse it is starter, for your next loaf.

24 hours later:

Mix into dough 5 cups flour, 1 3/4 cups water.

24 hours later:

Mix into dough 6 cups flour, 1 cup water with some salt (about 2 tablespoons) dissolved in it (sea salt, if possible). Knead 25-30 turns. Wait 1/2 hour. Knead for a minute. Then put the dough into the baking container/pan/clay pot/glass container/ casserole, oiling the container lightly with olive oil first. You may use comparatively small bakeware and make multiple loaves.

8-10 hours later:

Flip the loaf in the baking container, perhps by dumping it out and putting it back in upside down, or dumping it out into a similarly shaped container. SLASH THE TOP OF THE LOAF!!!!!! (I forgot to slash the top my first try, and it was disastrous.) Slash it a few times with a knife. Then put it in the oven, and set the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
Bake for about 45 minutes. Experiment with length if it doesn't work the first time.

Take it out of the oven, and out of the bakeware/pan. Then let it cool for a few hours. Then enjoy!

UPDATE: The bread came out a bit moist, but not disastrous. I think I'll try a solid 55 minutes next time before checking on it. The crust was nice and pliable. I haven't had a piece yet.

UPDATE 2:

Don't try that recipe. Look somewhere else. I'll pose my revised recipe if I get around to it, but til then, find another.

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