Feb
05
2009
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Be a Sour Belly

Light Wheat Flour Sourdough

Light Wheat Flour Sourdough

When German settlers crossed the Great Plains into the Wild West they did it often with a small sack of fermenting sourdough tucked near their tummies. In this way they could keep their beloved sourdough just at the right temperature for the healthy and tasty cultures in the sourdough to stay alive. As a result of this cultural habit that they could not leave behind, they became known as the Sour Bellies. Since then, the world has fallen in love with sourdough breads. Particularly in the northern parts of Scandinavia and Finland, dark rye sourdough is a favorite.

Why use sourdough in bread baking? Not only does the bread take on that great, tangy flavor, but you can use less yeast which frequently can give bread an unpleasant, overbearing flavor. From a health point of view, breads using sourdough cultures are better for your digestion than breads that do not use it. If you are using rye or whole grains to make the bread then there are all of the heart and digestive benefits of using those ingredients.

Making and maintaining a sourdough culture is the easiest thing you can imagine if you keep a few basic principles in mind. 1) Sourdough doesn’t like drastic changes of temperature (although it should be stored in the refrigerator once prepared). Keep it at an even temperature in your kitchen. 2) “Feed” your sourdough with new flour and water once a week. If you don’t, the culture you have created in the sourdough cannot survive. 3) Keep your sourdough in a clean, sealed container. If it begins to look discolored, do not use it.

Most of the time, I have both lighter wheat flour and darker rye flour sourdoughs on the go in my kitchen form making lighter and darker breads. Here is how to make them:

Light Wheat Flour Sourdough

Day 1:
2.5 dl or 1 cup white flour
2 dl or 3/4 cups water
1 tbsp grated apple
Blend in a clean glass container. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to stand somewhere warm in your kitchen (e.g. above your refrigerator, near your stove) for two days.

Day 3:
1.5 dl or 1/2 cup white flour
1 dl or 1/3 cup water
Add these ingredients to your sourdough which should already be bubbling with microbes. Cover once again and place as before.

Day 4:
Repeat as for Day 3.

Day 5:
Ready to use for baking. The sourdough should be something like the consistency of waffle batter. Once you have used some of the sourdough in your bread recipe, replenish the sourdough culture with flour and water  as for days 3 and 4, above. Keep refrigerated.

Dark Rye Sourdough

Day 1:
2.5 dl or 1 cup rye flour
2 dl or 3/4 cup water
1 tbsp grated apple
Blend and handle as for light wheat sourdough.

Day 3:
1 dl or 1/3 cup rye flour
1 dl or 1/3 cup water
Blend and handle as for light wheat sourdough.

Day 4:
1 dl or 1/3 cup rye flour
1 dl or 1/3 cup water
Blend and handle as for light wheat sourdough.

Day 5:
Your rye sourdough is ready for use. It should be a slightly thicker consistency than the light wheat sourdough. Use, store and maintain as for light wheat sourdough.

Now I’m off to bake some sourdough bread. So, prepare these sourdough cultures during the coming days and return to my kitchen after that to pick up some of my very best sourdough bread recipes which I will be entering shortly.

Feb
05
2009
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Romantic Seeds

Roasted Seed Muesli

Roasted Seed Muesli

With the approach of Valentine’s Day I know that I should perhaps be throwing some oysters, clams and other libido-promoting foods into my pots. I cannot help it, though, I’m stuck on quite different ingredients when it comes to food and love.

Just imagine the house at about 11.00 a.m. filled with the irresistable aroma of dark roast coffee beans. Outside it is snowing and chilly and you’ve got the fireplace going. A solo cello concerto captures perfectly the mood of this ordinary morning that you will nevertheless always remember.

At your simple brunch table you’ve got a bowl of home-made seed muesli and a loaf of warm baked sourdough bread that you’ve just taken out of the oven. The family comes to join you and you sit musing and laughing over life and the passing of the day.

If you are enjoying my romantic brunch thought, then you’ll most certainly want my best recipe for home-made seed muesli. It is full of pumpkin seeds which, if you are interested, is one of those libido-promoting foods. A note: make sure that none of the seeds that you purchase are roasted or salted.

Roasted Seed Muesli

300 g or 1.5 cups pumpkin seeds
300 g or 1.5 cups sunflower seeds
3 dl or 1 1/3 cups linseeds, crushed
3 dl 1 1/3 cups wheat germ
2 tbps gingerbread seasoning consisting of ground ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom
200 g or 7 oz dried chopped fruit – I use dried cranberries and figs
4 tbsps raw sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200 C or 390 F. Line a deep baking tray with baking paper. Blend the seeds, wheat germ and gingerbread seasoning. Bake 5 minutes, mix with a spoon, and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and blend in chopped fruit and raw sugar if a sweeter flavor is desired. When cooled store in an air-tight container. Serve sprinkled on top of yogurt or buttermilk.

Jan
03
2009
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Gröt Glorious Gröt!

The Glorious Filling Grains & Pulses of the Nordic Kitchen

The Glorious Filling Grains & Pulses of the Nordic Kitchen

Gröt or porridge doesn’t seem like the sexiest of dishes but things aren’t always what they seem. Porridge in all of its most innovative and traditional forms is being served up as fine cuisine in some of the most fashionable restaurants in Scandinavia. Why? It’s healthy, fresh and delicious.

My own porridge recipe is as simple as it is delicious. Enjoy with some fresh berries, nuts or raisins strewn on top:

Julie’s Porridge for a Happy Morning or a Satifying Evening

4 dl or 1 3/4 cups oatmeal
8 dl or 3 cups milk
3-4 tablespoons honey

Warm all ingredients in a pot, stirring slowly over medium heat with a wooden spoon. Once thickened, and just beginning to simmer, remove from heat. Lap up and enjoy the warmth surging through your body! You can use water or milk substitutes as an alternative to milk if you are allergic.

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