Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sunrise Sourdough Bread

The sun, the sun, I salute the sun, I open my heart to everyone. The sun rises and the sun sets, the whole world in my heart rests.

A fire in the wood stove, a sweet sun salutation and “cranberry orange nut sunrise sourdough bread”, it doesn’t get much better than this on a cold morning.

Sourdough bread, one of my many passions. Several years ago I was given the gift of a starter. It was one of those friendship breads we so often get. We make a loaf and give loaves away then usually forget all about it. Well this time I decided to keep the “mother” alive. I tweaked the recipe a bit and spent months baking a basic boule’, without any sophisticated equipment, not even a baking stone. It was pretty good but I knew it could be better.

Time passed then one day, a friend told me about baking in a cast iron dutch oven. And as they say, the rest is history. I fell in love. Wow, crisp chewy crust, moist tender crumb! Fresh out of the oven it delights all your senses. A sight to behold, oven spring rises the dough perfectly and the crust splits and cracks beautifully. It smells lovely and sings to you as it cools. And come to find out sourdough is actually good for you, the wild yeast predigests the grains reducing the glycemic index. It is healthy for the intestinal tract, full of beneficial bacteria. After years of baking a basic bread and biscuits, I decided it was time for a little adventure. Time to step out into the world of creative add ins.

A breakfast bread was what I had in mind. I make a no knead sourdough so I stirred up my starter, added dried cranberries and orange peel, along with the salt, water, and flour. I set it to rise overnight. Turning it out onto my cutting board in the morning I gently folded in some pecans and gave it a quick shape. The loaf rested while the pot heated in the oven for an hour. Very little hands on work is involved in sourdough baking. The no knead recipe takes only 5 total minutes effort divided in 1 minute increments here and there. Time and love is all it needs.

Yummmm, bread baking feeds me, body and soul. 


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