So, my first intention with this post was to write about what I do when I have have a couple of sad looking pears sitting on the kitchen table. During the process of writing something happened.
I decided one day that enough was enough. Enough with the wining and moaning. Enough with the negative attitude. I didn’t see any other way out than to take care of it myself. I had to jump on the DIY-train and start making my own bread. Not regular yeast bread. Sourdough bread – without the yeast! Why? Because it’s totally possibly, easy and, it’s good for your health, wallet and Mother Nature. Instead of complaining about the poor quality of store bought breads and getting annoyed when bakeries use yeast in their sourdough – which to me doesn’t make any sense – it was time to start my own little sourdough boulangerie at home.
I have tried making sourdough a couple of times before with both success and not so much success, but its funny how easy it actually is when you get it right. During these passed weeks I’ve realized that this type of baking is a process and you can’t cut any corners at all. You just have to take the time needed, be patient and let nature have its course. Maybe it’s the time-part that scares people of but I’ve decided that I need to get into a bread baking routine. The objective is to bake all the bread we need on a weekly basis. I’m very excited to see to where this road will lead me.
If you’re curious and want to know how I made my sourdough, this is what I did:
DAY 1: In a clean glass jar (well rinsed from any detergents since this can kill the good germs in the starter, making it utter impossible to start anything what so ever) mix 50-70g organic wheat, 30g organic rye with 100g lukewarm water and a pinch of salt. Let sit in room temperature with the lid slightly on.
DAY 2: Feed the sourdough starter with 50-70g organic wheat, 30g organic rye and 100g lukewarm water (NO salt). Bubbles should be visible on the surface
DAY 3: Repeat the above.
DAY 4: The sourdough is ready for baking if its really foamy, with big bubbles, looking a bit like chocolate mousse, and have doubled in size.
NOTE: I followed the steps above, but my starter was a slow one and didn’t reach the last step. I decided to try and bake anyway and I made a bread which looked really nice, but turned out to be too dense and heavy, probably due to under proofing because of the sourdough not being fermented long enough. There was some foam on the surface but the dough was runny and also it got a really sharp alcoholic scent on day 5. This is however a problem that is easily fixed by feeding the dough more. I poured 50g of starter in a separate bowl and then removed almost all sourdough that was left in the glass jar with only a couple of tablespoons left on the bottom. In both the bowl and the jar I then added a round of the flours (+ 20g extra wheat) and water mix (see step 2 above). In hindsight I don’t know why, I was kind of stressed to get the thing bubbling and growing!
So, two doughs, one in a bowl and one in a glass jar. I decided to put the bowl in the oven, which was still warm (not to hot) after I used it to roast some vegetables for dinner. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap. The glass jar was sealed and put back on the counter. And after a while things begun to happen. Both doughs where bubbling and had increased in size after just a couple of hours. So, now my plan is to continue to feed the doughs with 60–70g of wheat and 30g of rye and 100g of water since I prefer a thicker texture from the beginning. I made a new bread from the bowl dough which turned out great in texture, but not so much in shape. It was a loose and sticky dough and I should have baked it in a casting iron instead of on the baking tray. This led to it spreading out to much and not rising high enough. But it still tasted good and compared to my first bread it was so much lighter and had nice, big wholes through out the bread. From now on I’m going to try and have a jar with about 50g of sourdough after every bake, so I don’t have to waste too much. When I bake I’ll feed the starter with the same amount as stated above and when it has become active I’ll put 50g back into the jar and use the rest for baking.
Ok, what happened to my sad looking pears? Its not far from bread, in fact it goes very well with a slice of fresh sourdough bread. Yes, that’s right, I made a nice pear marmalade with lemon and vanilla! I pealed the pears, removing some of the mushy dark parts, and cut them in chunks. I washed the lemon, cut it in half and sliced one half thinly and pressed the juice from the second half. Looking at the squeezed lemon half I decided to slice it too – I couldn’t create more waste as I was trying to get rid if it. And I like lemon! I let the fruit come to a boil and simmer for twenty minutes before adding sugar and then continue the simmering for an additional twenty minutes. The marmalade was poured into a clean mason jar and voilà, instead of wasting I had been making! Feels good, tastes awesome!
Pear and Lemon Marmalade
All ingredients are organic.
500g pear, pealed and diced
225g raw sugar
1 organic lemon
1/2 vanilla pod
1. Wash the lemon and cut it in half. Take one half and slice it thinly. Squeeze the juice from the other half in a separate bowl and slice the rind thinly.
2. Place the pear, vanilla pod and lemon including slices, juice and rind in a pot and bring to a zimmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add the sugar and continue zimmering for an additional 20 minutes. Test if the marmalade is ready by spooning a teaspoon on a cold plate. It will set to a firm jelly as it cools. If it’s too runny, zimmer it a bit more. The color will darken as the marmalade reduces.
4. Pour the hot marmalade – with the vanilla pod – in clean jars. Seal the jars and let them cool completely.
A Sweet Tip
♣ Add a little piece of fresh ginger, finely diced, at the beginning. Try other spices like cardamom or a cinnamon stick.
♣ Serve the marmalade with a good sourdough bread and cheese.
♣ Make a quick dessert by filling a pâte sucrée tart shell with mascarpone cheese, flavored with some cinnamon and pear marmalade on top. Finish with some honey caramelized walnuts, roughly chopped.