Link Soup – 2/17/2010

Serious Eats’ Technique of the Week is an awesome slide show about beating egg whites

The Bitten Word with some tips on finding a CSA (we use Tipi Produce)

And a bunch of great articles at The Kitchn:

How to Buy and Store Bulk Foods from re-nest. This one included the following (which I had never thought of before):

When we get home from the store, we like to place dry goods like flour in the freezer for 48 hours to kill any pests. (We do this with all grocery store grains, not just those from the bulk bins.)

Have any great links you’d like to share? Send them our way.

if validate_patient_info

Similarities between me and Hurley (from Lost)

Hurley: won millions in the lottery, crashed on an island
Me: has won a few games of Settlers of Catan, lives in a house surrounded by snow piles

Hurley: one of the stars of the best TV show ever
Me: has appeared in local news interview segments twice in my lifetime

Hurley: has a blog — his most recent post currently has 99 comments
Me: has a blog — my most recent post has like 3 comments

Me: has been blogging about making bread
Hurley: blogged about making bread!!!

Link Soup – 2/5/2010

A few share-worthy links for this week:

San Francisco Sourdough Bread

The saga of the sourdough starter has come to a close.

This was my second attempt at creating a sourdough starter from scratch and it was indeed a success! I started the seed culture on January 15th. After 10 days of diligent stirring and feeding, the culture was most definitely alive and ready to transform into a mother starter. That step was a pretty simple one, but involved some resting time on the counter before hitting the refrigerator. Once in the cool and cozy confines of the refrigerator, the starter is good for 5 days before it needs to be “refreshed.”

Well, at the four day mark, I had some time to whip together a bread dough using this mother starter. I chose to go with the San Francisco Sourdough bread. I mean, that’s the gold standard right?

So, I took the 2 ounces of mother starter I needed. Wait. What? 2 ounces? Do you realize how small of an amount that is? What am I going to do with the rest of the starter? The “refreshing” process only needs 4 ounces of starter. Hmmm… This could get wasteful. More on that later.

After mixing the sourdough, well, dough, and letting it proof, and storing it overnight in the refrigerator (man, this is a long process), it was finally time to bake! For loaf #1, I forgot to turn down the temperature of the oven after putting the bread in, and I didn’t rotate the loaf. It still turned out just fine, but it cooked a little faster than it was supposed to, and the lack of rotation caused it to rise a little faster on one side and lean a bit. No big deal. Loaf #2 included a much more careful following of the directions and turned out awesomely.

Here’s one of the loaves:

And here’s a look inside after we cut off a slice:

Check out those air pockets!

The bread was delicious. It had a heartier, yet spongier quality to it than the lean breads we’ve been making to date, and it had a really nice flavor.

Now, as I alluded to before, the downside is the maintenance of the sourdough starter itself. Realistically, if I was going to keep that starter going at the same size, I would either need to bake about 20 loaves of bread a week, or basically discard 3-4 cups of flour every week. One of those options is just not gonna happen (I mean, who would eat it all?), while the other seems super wasteful. So, after some careful deliberation, it was decided to discard the mother starter that I had taken so long to grow and focus on the non-sourdough bread varieties for a while. At least I know I can successfully create a sourdough starter though, so maybe this experiment will live on again someday.

By the way, this recipe and the process involved all came from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Bread Every Day book.

Link Soup – 1/26/2010

Eat Your Books compiled a Top Cookbooks of 2009 list – our copy of #2 Ad Hoc at Home should arrive on Friday

Understanding the various steak cuts

Serious Eats’ gadget feature regarding the KitchenArt Automatic Dispensing spice rack has me intrigued (mainly because of the dial-an-amount feature)

Some recipes to try:

Wild-Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans (Martha Stewart)

Pomegranate-Lentil Soup (The Kitchn)

Indian Cashew Chicken (My Recipes) — with the one-hour cook time, this is a recipe for the weekend