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Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

RUSTIC SOURDOUGH BREAD


 
This chewy loaf, with its deep-brown crust, can be made in two versions: with rich, deep, flavor, and very mild tang; or with assertive sour flavor, typical of a San Francisco sourdough loaf. 
Since I went to a class about sourdough, at King Arthur flour center, I have this "starter" from there that I maintain in refrigerator. Twice a week I have to discard 1cup of starter and feed again the "starter"=yeast, with 4oz flour and 4 oz water. I found this recipe at the blog of  King Arthur flour, using the 1 cup that I discard anyhow, from my "starter".
This makes me good, I don't trough any dough!



Ingredients:

 •            1 cup  sourdough starter (My Note: I used the "discarded "cup, unfed, from refrigerator)
•             1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
•             2 teaspoons yeast
•             1 tablespoon sugar
•             2 1/2 teaspoons salt
•             5 cups all-purpose flour

 My Note: this time I used 4 cups all purpose flour + 1 cup rye flour. In this case, as I learn in class, I add 4 table spoons of warm water, so the dough will be soft and silky as the white flour dough, will be.

Directions:

1) Combine all of the ingredients, kneading to form smooth dough.
My note: I use the bread machine to knead and first rise. The dough rise a lot in the machine!But you can use manual knead and rise at room temp, if you chose....



 

2) Allow the dough to rise, in a covered bowl, until it's doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
3) Gently divide the dough in half; it'll deflate somewhat.
  4) Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves; or, for longer loaves, two 10" to 11" logs. 




5) Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour.
6) Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
7) Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
8) Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
9) Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.



  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2008/09/10/sourdough-for-sissies/


 

My Note:
I use this dough bread machine to bake, because one night I didn't have time to deal with the dough, shaping, raising, and baking. I got a very good tall bread, tasty and firm crumbs.







 

Friday, May 4, 2012

ALL ABOUT MY DAUGHTER, publishing a children book

 


My daughter is very artistic: she is painting, she is writing, she is sewing, she is singing….

 She started to paint first, a story….. and slowly,…. Later,…. start editing (from her newspaper’s days)   a story around  her paintings.
Her little son, was very involved in the story, having ideas, decided what painting to use and so on.

"EVERY DUCK IS DIFFERENT!" is the title of the book.



All started from a little duck, Giani, who went so far away from home, he got lost.

He has seen many different ducks, different  birds and different places, in his traveling, learn many things all the way, but nothing was so good as his own home, a
nd his own family…



At the end he  was so happy to get back to them… and he was so happy to tell them all the stories of his little adventure!
Let's let my daughter to tell us the end of the story:
"Goodbye, Giani" chuckled Carl  'Be careful, and listen to your parents from now on."
Then Carl was gone and Giani walked toward the two trees he missed so much, near his home.
"Every duck is different," Giani said one more time. And with that, he was happy to be home.
The end.

MY SISTER IN LAW, A FURNITURE PAINTER, in her spare time

   

 

 

 Bran Castle, from my sister in law, house.

   





My husband family is from Bran, a little town up, up, in the Carpathian Mountains.
 In Transylvania, Romania, the vacation home that my sister in law has became a home all way from home. She is spending a good part of the year there, in the mountains, in the nature…grasshopper and flours all summer long, apple and potatoes in the fall, the pottery sale near the winter, raspberries pick up in the woods, mushrooms, cows and chickens….
From their house (a new log house, replacing the old vacation home they had before) you can see the castle.It is what tourists know today as ‘DRACULA CASTLE”. This is not true for us, Rumanians who live in the little town at the foot of the castle.It is a fighting castle, a castle for guarding one of the most important pass in the mountain in between the south (MUNTENIA) and the north of Romania, (TRANSYLVANIA).
 
“Long before Germans/Austrians came to claim this part as theirs (Austrian-Hungarian Empire), the Turks were a huge peril for the people who were living peacefully here. The danger of Turks coming was so big that nowadays, 500 years after, we still have a saying “why you are in such a hurry, are the Turks coming?”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bran_Castle.jpg

This castle is build for fight, on top of rocks, cold rooms, solid walls, small windows…..

“Bran Castle was originally a stronghold built by the Knights of the Teutonic Order in 1212. At that time it was called Dietrichstein. By the late 1200′s the castle had been overtaken by the Saxons who had used the castle to protect Brasov, an important trade center. In 1370 the fortress was used against invading Turks. It remained an important feudal fortress through out the middle ages, its role was the defence against invasion. From 1920 the castle was inhabited by Queen Marie. Bran Castle remained a summer royal residence until forced abdication of King Michael in 1947.”
http://www.hauntedcastlesandhotels.com/Romania/Bran.htm

The castle has a central position in the Romania “round map” and VLAD DRACUL, the king after who’s the name DRACULA came up, was the first one who unified the 3 small countries (Muntenia, Moldova and Transylvania) into a big country: the Romanian Country, 500 YEARS AGO. This act put the king Vlad Dracul into the middle of the territory, in Bran’s castle, so this is why it is named today as “Dracula Castle”.
For my husband family, the old house was the place to go in summer vacation and this little town is very dear to them.



My sister in low is living there all the time, in a brand new house. She found in the basement of the old house few pieces of old furniture and she is bringing to life…..new paint; she decided that is the time to bring a new face, new color.
Painting the furniture was a very characteristic thing for much generation of Germans that are inhabited this part of the world, for quite a while. The last frontier of Austria Hungarian Empire, Transylvania has much German family living there. They brought the food, the songs, the painted furniture, the painted plates and specific furniture to display them (blidar).
Old chairs, old design……































She  she start painting chairs, first.






























She painted 2 benches to put on the front porch.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

SOURDOUGH PRETZELS - from discarded sourdough starter






SOFT 12 SOURDOUGH PRETZELS (from discarded sourdough starter)
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2011/04/28/soft-scrumptious-and-sourdough-pretzels-from-your-discard-starter/



My NOTE: this is a very good recipe and you don't have to have the sourdough starter. You can use one cup of patee fermente or poolish. This brings the texture of the dough, softness and volume.


I keep my starter, in refrigerator. It is a starter that I get it from KING ARTHUR FLOUR when
 I went for a class on sourdough.
Twice a week I take out of refrigerator and I “feed” the starter. I discard a cup of starter and
 I add new flour and water (RT) in equal proportions. I mix well the new “fed” starter and after
 I let it at Room Temp for 1-2 h, and after that, I cover with ceramic wrap and put it back to refrigerator.
I was always sorry that I have to through away one cup of starter. This is a way to “save” this cup of starter, and I was very happy to find this recipe.


Ingredients:
3/4 cup lukewarm water 
1 cup unfed sourdough starter, straight from the refrigerator (or use fed starter if you like)
3 cups Sir Lancelot Unbleached Hi-Gluten Flour* or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) malt powder or 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast


Directions:
1. Mix all the ingredients, with a spoon, hands or a paddle of a stand up mixer.




2. Knead the dough – by hand, mixer, or bread machine – until it’s smooth. The dough is nice and silky, but is a little sticky.
 3. Make a nice round (boule) shape and leave it to rise in a covered, buttered bowl, for 30 minutes. It is not going to raise a lot, and this is how should be.




4. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
5. Take the dough from the bowl and press it down a little, to deflated, and make a square measuring 12/6 inches. Cut the dough in 12 squares (2/3 inches, for example).



6. From each square make long ropes, 18” long.



7. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

My note: The recipe states to oil/melted butter the parchment paper, but I never do. It works fine as it is and I use this parchment paper, many, many times, all over again.

8. Make the shapes of pretzel and arrange them on 2 cookie   sheets, on 2 levels, in oven.







My Note: I put all 12 pretzels on one sheet and they raised so much during baking, that they lost the pretzel shape.

9. Brush them with malt powder or baking soda, dissolved in water. Spread with coarse salt.  
10. Bake for 35 minutes at 350F.




My Note: I will try next time to bake longer, up to 45 minutes to get a crunchy surface and a soft crumb.

11. Remove them from the oven, and brush with melted butter, if desired.



 12. The pretzels are soft and nice brown, a very good taste and pleasant structure.
Bonne appetite!