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2020 October 16

Sourdough focaccia 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 09:18
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I’m retrying the sourdough focaccia that I made before, changing the recipe a little.

Day 1: I started with a light sponge to rise and sour overnight. Mix

1 cup sourdough starter
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups water

together in large bowl.  Cover and let rise overnight.

Day 2: Stir down and remove one cup of mixture for new sourdough starter. To the remaining sponge, add

1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour (I ran out of bread flour)

and let rise for another day.  Meanwhile, mix

1 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped fine
fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon salt

and let it steep overnight to make a garlicky oil.

Day 3 (the day of baking): Mix into the sponge

½ cup of the garlicky olive oil
2½ cups bread flour (I bought more)
1 teaspoon salt

with bread hook. Knead in an additional

½ cup bread flour

by hand, to get a smooth dough. Place the ball of dough in a bowl with the garlicky oil (turning to coat the ball with oil), cover, and let rise 3–4 hours until tripled.

Stretch dough into a sheet about 12″ by 18″ by ⅜” in a greased cookie sheet with raised sides (use the garlicky oil from the bowl to grease the sheet). If the dough springs back, let it rest a couple of minutes and stretch it out again.  Make dimples in the top surface and pour the remaining garlicky oil on top.

Let rise (covered) for an hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F (which means setting 450°F on my oven) and bake 35 minutes, until golden brown.

The focaccia in the pan shows a bit more browning at the front of the oven than at the back. I turned the pan at 10 minutes, but I should have turned it again.

The foccacia on the plate looks quite appetizing.

2020 October 9

Scones again for bread and tea

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:22
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I made scones again, modifying slightly the recipe I used last time, but this time I’ll take photos:

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Mix dry ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
handful of flame raisins


8 tablespoons cold butter

and cut in the butter with a pastry blender followed by rubbing it with your fingers to get coarse crumbs.  It was a mistake to add the raisins before the butter—next time the raisins will go after the butter, but before the wet ingredients.

Beat the wet ingredients together:

1 large egg
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until everything is a sticky mess. It wasn’t quite as sticky this time as last time.

Dump the dough onto the counter and pat it into a circle about ½-inch thick.  Cut into 8 wedges (vaguely triangular wet blobs will do) and use a pastry scraper to transfer to a baking sheet that is covered with baking parchment.

Bake for 20–25 minutes.

The scones are tasty, fresh from the oven.  They looked nice also.

Scones cooling on the rack.

The display at the beginning of the bread-and-tea Zoom meeting.

2020 October 2

Sourdough Whole-Wheat and Rye Bread

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 16:45
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I decided to make a whole-wheat sourdough bread this week, for bread-and-tea on Friday.  I’m basing it loosely on the Norwegian Whole-wheat Bread and the Bread-machine bread without the bread machine, but starting with a sourdough starter.  The sourdough starter had a fair amount of rye flour in it, from last week’s Rye bread rolls again.


  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon unfiltered, raw cider vinegar

Let this age for a day (covered with a cloth).  I added the vinegar mainly because my recent sourdoughs have not been sour enough for my taste, and I wanted to re-inoculate with a vinegar-forming bacterium.

Set aside one cup in the refrigerator for future sourdough baking. To what is left add

  • 1 cup warm milk (100°F–115°F)  (if the sponge had not been very active, then I would have added a teaspoon of yeast to the milk)
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1–2 Tablespoons molasses (there was a little blackstrap molasses in the bottom of the bottle, but it wouldn’t budge, so I used the warm milk to dissolve it)

Knead until smooth on a well-floured board, incorporating maybe ¼ cup more rye flour to get an elastic, smooth dough.

Let rise in an oiled  bowl for 24 hours, punching down whenever it doubles in bulk. ( I ended up punching down once, in the evening before letting the dough rise again overnight.)

Shape the dough into an oval loaf and place on baking parchment.  Let the dough rise until doubled again (another 4 hours).


  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch

in microwave and cool to room temperature.  Preheat oven to 400°F.

Brush cornstarch mixture onto loaf, slash the top of the loaf, and bake at 400°F for about 55 minutes.  Remove the parchment about half way through the baking, so that the bottom crust is directly on the terra-cotta tiles.

The bread  spread a bit more in the rising than I expected, so a slightly stiffer dough may be better, but still came out looking good.

The dough after shaping had a texture of bubbles on the surface, because I tried not to knead the dough during the shaping.

I slashed deeper than usual this time, to get a more pronounced effect. The shininess is from brushing on the cornstarch mixture before slashing.

I may have slashed a bit too deep, but the loaf still looks good.


2020 September 25

Rye bread rolls again

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 19:11
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I managed to resurrect my sourdough starter by adding more yeast and keeping it in the refrigerator for a week, and I made a whole-wheat sourdough bread that came out pretty good (good crust and crumb, but not sour enough for my taste). It was basically the same ingredients and amounts as bread-machine bread, except for starting with sourdough starter for part of the liquid, bread flour, and yeast, and substituting molasses for the sugar.  I also baked it on baking parchment (no loaf pan) for the first half of the baking time, then directly on the terracotta tiles for the second half.

The whole-wheat sourdough looked good, as well as tasting pretty good.

So this week I decided to do the rye bread rolls again—the recipe that originated my sourdough.  Now that I have a starter, the recipe is a little different:

Feed starter:

1 cup sourdough starter
½ cup warm water (105°–115°F)
½ cup Strauss yogurt (the sourest one in our local market)
1 cup rye flour

Mix together in bowl, cover with wet dish towel, and let sit at room temperature for a day.  Remove and refrigerate one cup of the mixture for future sourdough starter, and let the rest sit for a day or two more at room temperature.


the aged sourdough starter
1¼ cup warm water (105°–115°F)
1 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1½ cup bread flour
3 cups rye flour
1½ cup raisins

Stir down the starter, blend in water, yeast and salt. Let sit for 3–4 minutes so yeast can dissolve.

Stir in bread flour.  Add rye flour a cup at a time until dough forms a mass.  Stir with silicone scraper until dough has lost most of its stickiness.  Stir in raisins (this is different from last time, when I didn’t add the raisins until just before shaping). Turn from the bowl onto floured surface.

Knead on well-floured surface until dough soft and elastic (about 6 minutes), adding about ¼ cup rye flour to keep dough from sticking.  May need to scrape surface initially, as dough starts out very sticky. Put in greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 1–2 hours.

Punch down, divide dough into 2-oz pieces, and roll into balls.  Place on baking parchment on baking sheets, cover, and let rise until double in size (about one hour). Makes 24 rolls.


1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk

Remove cover, brush each roll with glaze, and cut X into top of each roll. Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 35–40 minutes.  Done when browned on the bottom and feel solid when pinched.

Cool on wire rack.

The rye rolls came out looking good. They had a nice flavor and texture, but not as much sourness as I would like. I think I also need to cut the crosses deeper.

2020 August 27

White sourdough Try 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:45
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In White sourdough, I gave a recipe that sort-of worked for a white sourdough loaf, and two weeks ago in White sourdough Try 2, I had a disaster, because the yeast in the sourdough starter had died in the freezer.  I’m going to try again. I added more yeast to the starter 2 weeks ago and have been growing the starter in the refrigerator ever since.

As before, I’ll make a light dough to rise and sour overnight, then add more flour in the morning.


1 cup sourdough starter
3 cups bread flour
1½ cups water

together using a silicone spatula.  Cover and let rise overnight.

In the morning, set aside one cup for future starter. To the remaining, mix in

2¼ cups bread flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil

with bread hook, then knead in

½ cup bread flour

by hand, to get a smooth, springy, but not stiff dough. Grease the mixing bowl with

 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Place in dough in greased bowl, cover, and let rise 3½ hours.

Punch down and divide into three parts. Roll into cylinders. Place on baking parchment for final rise, about 3½ hours.


½ cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch

in microwave and cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400°F with shallow pan of boiling water on bottom of oven (high humidity in oven makes for crisper crust).

Puncture any large bubbles on the top surface of the bread with a skewer.

Brush loaves lightly with corn-starch water and place in oven.  Try not to let any of the corn-starch water get under the loaves.

Bake 5 minutes, and brush again with corn-starch  water.

Bake 5 minutes, and brush again with corn-starch  water.

Bake 10 more minutes.

Remove pan of water from oven and bake another 10 minutes.

Remove baking parchment and bake another 5 minutes directly on baking tiles. The bottoms of the loaves should sound hollow when tapped.

Update 2020 Aug 30: I forgot to photograph the loaves, though they came out quite photogenic this time. There was no sticking to the parchment at all—I could just slide the parchment out.  The crumb was a bit finer than I expect for a sourdough, and the crust rather soft.  The flavor was ok, but nowhere near as sour as I like.  Overall, the loaves came out more like an ordinary white bread than like a sourdough bread.

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