Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Update on My Sourdough Accident - Making Sourdough Starter and Sourdough Bread an Updated Easier Version!

I haven't bought a loaf of bread in years. For some years now I've had a sourdough starter that I kept refreshed. What that means is you take out the little glass jar that holds your starter from the refrigerator. You use some of it to make bread and you feed the original starter with  flour and a little bit of water and return it to the refrigerator and keep it there until the next time you make bread. The starter can be kept for years.
I have quite the collection of glass storage jars. I keep my starter in a glass storage jar. And sometimes when I have a bit of leftover fruit smoothie I also put it in a glass jar. A few weeks back I just wasn't thinking I grabbed what I thought was leftover fruit smoothie, took a taste. It was so bitter and awful that I immediately spit it back into the jar.  Seconds later I realized that I had just spit into my sourdough starter. I sadly had to dump it out. I admit that for a few seconds or maybe minutes, I considered keeping it. Gross right. But  there are places in the world where they make a fermented drink by chewing and spitting.   And then there's the thing about making wine with your bare feet . But nevertheless, rest assured I tossed it out.


People have been making sourdough bread since Egyptian times. How hard can it be?. Not hard, it's a really simple and natural process.  It amounts to mixing a tiny bit of whole wheat flour, I use organic whole-wheat, and a little bit of water. You keep it covered and stir it a couple times a day you. You add a little bit more water and a little bit more flour everyday. My starter took 10 days until it looked bubbly and I probably had about 2 cups worth of starter made up. I took a half a cup of it and put it in the refrigerator and the rest I used it for a sourdough bread.


Again, this process is not hard.  But I admit when I first started making bread it seemed hard and complicated.  It is not.  I am sure there are different methods to make a loaf of sourdough bread using just starter with no added extra yeast, but this is what I do:  

The day before I want to make bread  I feed the starter (add whole wheat flour and water, keeping it the consistency of pancake batter).  I take about 1/2 cup starter and place in a medium size bowl  and return the starter you want to save to the refrigerator.bowl. 

To the medium bowl with starter I add about a cup of water and enough whole wheat flour to make a pancake-like batter.  Cover this and leave on the counter. Later in the day add more flour and water. I'm wanting about 2 cups of batter.  Cover and leave overnight. 

The next morning or early afternoon I  pour the batter into the bowl of my electric mixer.  In a separate small bowl add 1 cup warm water and about 1 teaspoon salt and maybe 2 teaspoons of sugar if you want.  You can leave the sugar out.  Stir well to dissolve the salt and sugar if you are using sugar.  Add to batter...You can use more salt, but I watch my salt content.

At this point I have been only using whole wheat flour.  Now you will add more flours.  I might add a cup of rye flour or some white or golden whole wheat flour.  Mix with dough hook.  At the end of the mixing I'll add some organic white unbleached flour.   You can experiment with the flours.  Just make sure they are from the wheat family.

The idea is to add flour until a very non-sticky, stretchy dough is produced.  But you don't need to or want to mix it all at once.  Allow rest times in between mixing the dough and the bread will develop a better flavor and texture.    Cover the mixer bowl  with a clean dish towel.  I use a large dish towel over the whole mixer and bowl.  Let the dough rest maybe 30 minutes.  Mix it more adding more flour if necessary.  Again repeat the rest and mix maybe 2 or 3  more times.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and by hand fold over the dough.  Cover again.  You are striving for a very, very stretchy, soft dough.  Don't go  the next step until your dough is very stretchy and you can easily fold it over into itself into a ball.  Unlike package yeast breads which can easily become over-proofed and fall, sourdough keeps slowly growing as it feeds on flour.  I have over-proofed sourdough bread  when I have experimented and let it rise overnight, say 10 hours on the kitchen counter.  Some people slow down the rise by letting the bread proof or rise in the refrigerator. 

I used to let the dough rise in a greased bowl and bake it in a cast iron dutch oven.  But no more...I found a much easier way to make bread.  I bake it in 2 parchment lined bread pans.  So easy and so sourdough delicious!  This method produces a softer bread with still a chewy crust. 

Take 2 pieces of parchment paper.  Big enough to leave about 2" above the sides of the pans.  The side pieces will act as support for the dishcloth-cover as the bread rises.  Working on one sheet of parchment, divide the dough into 2 pieces.  Add extra flour as needed to make 2 rectangle non-sticky pieces.
Place each piece into parchment lined pans.


Cover pans with clean dishcloth and let bread rise for 4 hours.  They will almost double in size. 

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Score bread, and cut off extra sides of parchment paper

At 500 degrees bake for 12 minutes...Lower temperature to 375 degrees and bake for another 12 minutes.

 Using an instant read probe thermometer I make sure the bread's internal temperature is about 195 degrees.  
Remove bread from oven and immediately remove from pans and slide off of parchment paper onto cooling racks. 

.This bread is delicious!  
Conclusion:  This new starter is much more active than the now deceased and non-existent starter. 

This bread is delicious!  I let it raise 3 hours, but I think I could have let it raise another hour and gotten bigger holes, but it was wanting to spill out of the resting bowl.  

Conclusion:  This new starter is much more active than the now deceased and non-existent starter. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Garden Changes

When I first start gardening, at least when I first started gardening here in South Dakota, I just wanted to grow things. Now things have grown and now I find myself wanting to simplify. Here's a recent picture of  part of the garden.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Pumpkin Pie with Dried Fruit and Nut Crust and Whipped Coconut Cream

I have been making this dairy-free pumpkin pie for many years.  I first made it for a friend who craved pumpkin pie but could not eat any dairy.  It's my easy go-to pie.  I have experimented with the crust.   I've tried gluten-free flour crust  and have tried oatmeal and nut combinations.  I think my favorite crust that compliments this not-too sweet pumpkin pie is a crust using dates and prunes. Serve topped with a dollop of whipped coconut cream.

You can make both the crust and the pie in a food processor,


1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup prunes

 Lightly grease a 9" glass pie plate with coconut oil.  Process the walnuts or pecans with the dates and prunes until finely ground.  The mixture will look like a paste. Press into pie plate.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Set aside. Make filling and add to pie crust.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

3 Eggs
3/4 cup unrefined cane sugar (You can substitute with other sugars for instance 3/4 cup honey)
2 cups canned pumpkin (You can also use roasted Butternut Squash. Drain squash if it seems wetter than pumpkin )
1 heaping teaspoon Cinnamon
1  teaspoons Vanilla and a pinch of salt
Walnuts  or Pecans for sprinkling on top of pie

1. Make pie crust –

2. Beat together eggs with sugar. Add pumpkin and other ingredients. Continue beating. You can also do this whole step in a food processor.
3.  Pour into pie crust. Decorate with Walnuts or Pecans if desired.
4. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 45 minutes or more.  It is done when an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool and eat!
Note: The filling will not reach to the top of the pie crust. 

Serve with whipped coconut cream.

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 can coconut milk. My favorite is Organic Native Forest. It has a good deal of cream.  Chill overnight in refrigerator.
2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Chilling the can of coconut milk will cause the cream to rise to the top and .makes it easier to pour out the liquid and keep the solid cream.   Save the coconut water for smoothies or other uses.

2. Scoop cream into chilled bowl, add syrup and vanilla and beat until soft peaks are formed.

Coconut whipped cream does not separate when kept in the refrigerator.  It actually will set up firmer.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Reworking Garden Paths

This was the year to do a lot of rock work. Here is an example of a starburst I got done. I'm trying to reduce the amount of dead heading and work in the garden. One thing I have learned after 20 some years of working on this garden 
Is that most plants need to be dug up and replanted or removed at's just what needs to be done. Weeds get in grass gets in.  So, now I'm trying to keep the garden especially in the front colorful but low. I'm trying a new blogging app so hope this works.   Gloria

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hi Everyone - It has been a long time since I blogged. The year was so busy and the garden was beautiful and a breath of fresh air and calm.   I did make garden changes. That's what gardeners do.  Each year spring comes with  an opportunity to learn and change and hopefully improve the garden.  But at the end of last year's growing season I said to Ted "That's it, I can't think of anything that I can change that I want to change.  Oh, there are always things we would change if we had the time, money and unlimited workers to do the job.  But, I thought I had reached a level of contentment for how things are.  But, alas and to my joy I have a list of things to change and I am excited about them.

The job that will give me the most aches and pains and the one I am most excited to tear into is changing this area right in front of the little garden house.  I want to make a 6 foot by 6 foot patio with 12" redish-colored cement pavers.  This is a picture from last year:

Last spring I placed one of those fabric raised beds in this spot.  This was a poor location for a vegetable planter, but should make a nice spot for a little table and chairs.  The fabric raised bed I plan to move to a sunny spot.
Our springs can be cold.  I always try to cover tender plants like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.  The red and green covers are Wall-O-Waters.

I have a to-do garden list.  Included in the list is start plants by seed. Last year I bought all my plant-starts.  I missed the varieties you can get from seed.
Hopefully, I will show you how they do.  Enjoy spring.  We still have almost 3 months before we can plant outside...but I should be able to the patio and start the seeds before then. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter To-Do’s While the Garden Sleeps and You Know You are in South Dakota If:

This winter has been cold and snowy and has inspired some house reorganizing and finding new homes for unneeded things.  We all have so many things, things we no not need…getting rid of what we don’t need is liberating.  Today I cleaned out my closet and took some clothes to a friend and I also took a box of gardening magazines to friends.  A couple of weeks ago I found some things to donate to a fundraiser to raise money for 5 young ladies going to Ireland.
Their fundraiser also included a bake sale, so of course we had to go.  It was 6 below zero….Brrr cold.  While we were driving out of the parking area we saw this man in a motorized wheel chair trying to get over a snow drift.   Ted got out and had to shovel out the snow in order to help his chair move.  He could go neither forward or backwards.  Good thing we travel with a shovel in the car trunk.
A few days ago Ted and I were driving down a South Dakota road and look at what we saw coming head-on to us.
And bringing up the rear was this handsome cowboy.  Would you know it, we know him.  Not only is he handsome but kind.

I have been in a food-creative mood and  find myself thinking up new food combinations.  It helps that Ted is not fussy and is willing to try new tastes.  Here’s what I made today.  We were too hungry to take a picture.
                                                   MEXICAN CURRY CHICKEN
I didn't measure ingredients, but this was easy to make:
I cooked about 3 cups of cut-up chicken breast in a pot of water with added chopped celery leaves,  a teaspoon of dried oregano and a couple of bay leaves and some spicy black pepper spice mix.  Cook for about 20 minutes.  Let cool, remove chicken pieces and cut up into bite size pieces. If desired save the broth for another use.

In a large wide pan add a bit of olive oil and some ghee (butter would work)
Add 1 medium  chopped onion, add chopped chicken.  I added about a teaspoon of roasted chipotle pepper powder, 1 teaspoon of anchiote (ground annatto powder) a dash of cayenne and about 1/4 cup of roasted red pepper-tomato paste like that used on sandwiches.  (The roasted pepper paste can be found in the grocery store near the mayonnaise).

Add I can of coconut milk and a can or two of extra water. Simmer while you prepare the rest of the meal.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Extra:  In a separate pan  stir-fry some chopped celery and snow peas.   Do not overcook vegetables.  Keep them crunchy.
Serve chicken over cooked basmati rice and serve crunchy snow peas and celery on top of chicken-rice.  

Friday, November 29, 2013

Low Fat Vegetarian Tamale Pie Recipe and “Don’t Tell Them it’s Tofu” Latin Inspired Spicy Potato Hash

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I cook almost everyday and I love to be able to  make a dish one day and find a great way to use leftovers.  Yesterday I made a potato hash with spicy tofu.  This is so easy and those who are not familiar with tofu will probably not be able to identify what the ingredient is  except delicious. 
A few days ago I made Low Fat Vegetarian Tamale Pie.   Tamales are usually high fat and most definitely prep intensive.  But I love the taste and fragrance of a tamale.  Tamales are steamed which gives the masa (dough) a totally yummy difference to corn meal.  This is a very easy version.  I will walk you through it with pictures.  It is delicious! And it does taste like a tamale.

I served the hash with a salad and a  roasted corn, black beans, green pepper, onion mix from the frozen foods department that I purchased from Sam’s.    I took the vegetable leftovers and combined it with the hash recipe.  This is the filling of the low fat tamale pie.  You can add any filling to the tamale pie.  The trick is knowing how to make a low fat masa.  I’ll show you how:

Easy Latin Inspired Spicy Potato, Onion, Tofu Hash

A bit of Olive Oil
3 or 4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into about 1/2”
1 medium onion
1 Tub of Extra Firm Organic Tofu
1 teaspoon of your favorite Mexican Style Seasoning or more according to taste
Extra cayenne powder if desired.
Serve with roasted corn, black bean vegetable from the frozen foods department
1.  Slice tofu  in half long-wise.  Place on paper towels and press excess liquid.  Sprinkle with spices and let set while you do the other preparations.
2.  Wash and chopped potatoes.  In a large skillet cook potatoes in oil about 10 – 15 minutes
3.  Add chopped onion and cook.
4.  Chop tofu in tiny pieces.  Add to pot and using a spatula, hash into smaller pieces.
5.  Slightly try to brown hash on one side and flip slightly browning on the other side.   Taste and add more spice if desired.

Low Fat Vegetarian Tamale Pie
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tofu hash tamale pie 002
The ingredients for the masa are simple
tofu hash tamale pie 004
The masa or dough is mixed up in a food processor. Half is patted down into a 10” Glass Pie Plate.  The filling is added.  A bit of cheese grated on top and the rest of the masa is patted onto the top.
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filling with shredded cheese on top
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The pie is covered with foil and placed in a roaster.  Boiling water is poured up to 1/2 of pie plate.  Bake for 1 hour at 400 degrees. This method provides the steam cooking that in tamales is accomplished by corn husks.

Low Fat Tamale Pie
1 1/2 cup Masa Harina
1 cup broth (I hydrated 1/2 of a cube of organic dry chicken broth)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I used ground ancho chile) and a bit of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup organic shortening or you can  freeze 1/4 olive oil and use it instead
grated cheese of your choice.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease glass dish

1. Mix chili powder and cayenne  with broth.
2. Add Masa Harina to a food processor.  Slowly add broth-chili liquid and mix well.
3. Add baking powder and shortening.  The masa will be like a wet stiff batter.
4. Immediately (masa will dry out if not covered) pat masa down into greased deep glass 10” pie plate.  Add filling and top with cheese and the rest of the masa.  Cover tightly with foil.
5. Place covered dish into a large roaster.  Pour boiling water along sides of dish.  Bake for 1 hour 400 degree.