At the end of October, I joined Carolyn and several other bloggers in a plan to cook dinner at least once a week and then post the recipes on my blog. I have cooked with intention at least once a week this month, but I've fallen down on actually posting the recipes.
Sometime soon I'll post all the missing recipes. This week I made bread and helped D make his fabulous Swiss cheese fondue.
I only sort of use a recipe. And since the condition of the sourdough starter, the humidity in my kitchen, and the actual amount of bread I want varies from baking to baking. I kept good notes yesterday so I could share something. Here are the basic instructions with approximate amounts. If you do not have a burbling sourdough culture in you kitchen, you can buy starter from the King Arthur Flour's Bakers Catalogue or beg some from me (if you are in the DC area) or another friend. Use a glass bowl and a dough wisk or wood spoon for mixing. Do not use a metal bowl for sourdough unless you want strange tasting bread.
The sponge (or feeding the beast)
1 - 2 cups starter
1-1/2 - 2 cups warm water
3 - 4 cups flour
Beat the warm water into the starter. Add the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for at least 4 hours. Generally, I do this the night before I am going to bake the bread.
Put 1 cup of the starter back into the beasts' storage container. Yesterday I put too much back in the crock and ended up with Sourdough eating my fridge. Oops.
1 lb starter (appx 2-1/2 cups)
3/4 cup warm water
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon salt
Continue mixing in flour until you have a soft dough.
Knead until the dough is soft and elastic.
Put into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in bulk. Turn and let rise again.
Turn out onto lightly floured board. Knead quickly. Divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10-20 minutes.
Form into loaves and put onto baking sheet covered with parchment or cornmeal. Let rise for an hour or so (until loaves are doubled in size).
Preheat over to 400 degrees. When oven is hot, put a pan of boiling water on the lowest rack. Slash tops of loaves. Spritz with water. Bake 10 minutes. Remove pan of water and spritz again. Bake another 30-35 minutes.
The books all say to wait until the bread is cooled to sample. I never do. Nothing beats crusty French bread right out of the over smothered in butter.
David's famous fondue
2/3 lb. Gruyere
1/3 lb. Emmenthaler
3 tablespoons flour
1-1/3 c dry white wine
pinch white pepper
nutmeg to taste
Grate cheeses. Toss with flour (I use a 1 gallon zip top bag for this). Cut garlic in half and rub pot with the cut side. Heat wine until just below simmer. Slowly start to add cheese, stirring constantly. After all cheese has been added, season with pepper and nutmeg to taste.
If the fondue is too thick, add a little more wine. If it is too thin add more cheese or 1 teaspoon corn starch mixed with a little bit of wine.
I also cut up a granny smith apple to munch with the cheese and bread. Cauliflower is also good.
This dinner always takes me back to my second date with D. He came over to my summer dorm room and cooked for me. I made salad, he made fondue. I definitely got the better part of that deal.
I drank too much wine with my dinner tonight, so can't say anything else except for yummmm.