Monday, February 01, 2010

BREAD: Project Sourdough~Basic Recipe

Some people have plants in their offices. In my studio, today, I have a living ball of sourdough on a slow rise to keep me company.

2 c active sourdough starter* (wild yeasts, all purpose flour, water)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 c bread flour.

That's it! Following usual bread making methods: stir, knead, rise, punch down, rest, form, rise, bake, EAT.

This little ball-o-dough will be 6-8 oval sourdough sandwich rolls before the day is done.

No matter how much I have to do during the day, the slow rising of dough is a calming ostinato played in mellow tones on a double bass. The smell of the yeast and flour says "home" and "sustenance" to my soul. The whole process is a sort of working meditation.

The picture above was not staged, except to pull back the damp towel from the top of the bowl. This is what the work surface just inside my studio door often looks like. That is, when it's not covered with piles of papers.

CHALLENGE: In the picture, see if you can find [clockwise from L]: a computer speaker, a Kleenex box (my students don't use handkerchiefs like I do), a paintbrush, a pottery bowl, a sumi-e board, a box of 96 crayons, a pink pearl eraser, an unfolded paper clip, a few remaining Hard Rock Cafe promo stickers, a 4x normal size larynx model, hand sanitizer, a pile of 3x5 cards, a 3-hole punch, a file cabinet, 3 packets of tiny star & smilie stickers, a zip-lock bag full of misc stuff & pile of papers to be sorted.

In the hour since I took the picture, the dough has nearly risen to the top of the bowl. Soon, I'll form the rolls and leave them to rise while I lessons. Baked in time for dinner.

*My sourdough starter has been in our family for 60-70 years, when it was passed along to my father's brother by an very old man, one of the original homesteaders in Idaho. Follow the link to directions for making your own.

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