Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rosie Makes A Sourdough Boule.

Not too long ago, I made Julia Child's recipe for English Muffins, which I heartily recommend. It's hard to go back to Thomas' once you've had Julia's. When I made the English Muffins, I didn't use the entire amount of dough. I saved what I didn't use. As Julia noted at the end of her recipe, you can turn this batter into a sourdough. Simply let it sit at room temperature for a day or two, then refrigerate it. According to Julia, You can now use it in any sourdough recipe, or you can make sourdough English muffins: blend 1/2 cup of it with 1 cup flour and enough water to make a batter, add 1 tablespoon dissolved yeast, and let it rise; then beat in more flour and water, or milk, and add salt (proportions make no difference as long as you get your bubbles); let it rise and bubble again; and cook your muffins. Replenish the sourdough starter by mixing it with more flour, and water or milk blended into a batter, and let sit at room temperature until it has bubbled up and subsided; refrigerate as before.
Let's make some sourdough bread. My ingredients: 1/2 cup warm water 1 package yeast 1 tablespoon sugar 1/4 cup sourdough starter 1 egg 1-2 TB olive oil salt and pepper approximately 1 1/2 - 2 cups bread flour Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes for 1-cup ramekins and 30 minutes for a larger bread container. For a better explanation, here are my step by step instructions.
I poured 1 package of yeast into 1/2 cup of warm water ...
... and sprinkled 1 tablespoon of sugar over top. Let the mixture sit until it "proofs." Wait until the mixture gets bubbly and foamy. That means the yeast is active. If the solution doesn't get poofy, throw it out. The yeast is no good and the dough won't rise.
Notice my yeast has "proofed." You may continue to the next step: Add 1/4 cup of the sourdough starter in.
Add in an egg and mix well. It's ready for the flour now.
I know bread making may seem intimidating to some, but it shouldn't. The amount of flour you need to add to make a proper dough will vary - depending on humidity, alignment of planets, global warming, religious affiliation, moon phase, and, since I live at the beach, tidal flow. Please don't let this discourage you. One must jump right in, hold one's head high, and carry on. I probably used 2 cups of flour total. Here's the trick though: I only use 1/2 cup at a time. Add in 1/2 cup and incorporate it in the dough before adding any more. Your dough will tell you how much flour it needs. You just need to listen.
At this point, when it's nice and shaggy, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and start kneading. Push dough away from you with the heel of your hand, bring the back towards you, and give it a quarter turn. And continue this way until you have a malleable dough. Dust with flour, as needed.
If the dough gets too sticky, add more flour. Just a sprinkling at a time.
After about 5 minutes of kneading, I made a well in the dough and added about 2 tablespoons of ELBOO (That's Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil.) ...
and freshly ground salt and pepper. Continue kneading to distribute the oil, salt, and pepper ...
... until you have a nice, elastic, pliable dough.
Place the ball of dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise. Rosie tip #432: To hasten the rising of dough, I nuke a dampened kitchen towel for about 90 seconds and wrap the bowl in the towel. Put the bowl with towel in an enclosed area - a microwave or small oven (turned off) and let it rise.
After about an hour and fifteen minutes, my dough has doubled.
Flour the back of your hand and punch it down. I like this part- an outlet for my aggressive tendencies.
Peel the dough from the sides of the bowl ...
... and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
The dough was a little sticky, so I sprinkled a bit more flour over top and kneaded a bit.
I cut my dough in half.
One half went into a 1 1/2 pint buttered Corning Ware bowl for my boule.
The other half I divided into thirds ...
... and put into 1 cup buttered ramekins.
Let rise. The second rising took about 45 minutes.
Brush with melted butter.
The smaller ramekins took about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
The larger Corning Ware dish took an extra 15 minutes. Wait a minute. Didn't I make 3 of the smaller ramekins? What happened to the third one? I believe Daughter Hawthorne and her friend downed the third one.
I'm using the larger round dough for my boule. Slice off the top ...
... and pull out little chunks of dough to hollow out the boule. Look at all that crabmeat! Now I'm starting on the crabmeat filling.
Take some red pepper, some green pepper, some red onion.
Fine-chop it.
Melt a tablespoon of butter in the pan. For extra flavor, brown the butter a bit.
Add in a tablespoon of flour.
Cook about a minute to get rid of the raw taste.
Add in the pepper and onion and about 4 TB cream cheese.
About 1/4 cup heavy cream.
Crab meat from crabs which were swimming in my canal mere hours ago.
About 1 cup crabmeat. Heat through.
If you like, you could add a couple of tablespoons of sherry or vermouth. I usually do, but since certain people in the household don't care for alcoholic flavors in their food, I abstained this time.
Pour crabmeat mixture into boule and add some zested citrus over top. I'm using a lime. Bake at 350 degrees until the pieces of torn bread are nice and toasted and the crab meat mixture is heated through.
Use the bread pieces to scoop up the crabmeat mixture.
Simply keep peeling away at the boule and dipping into the crabmeat until it's gone. Trust me. It won't take long.