Monthly Archive for October, 2007

Bread and Wine (Sourdough & London Cab)

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This is what they served me the last time I was in jail. A big improvement over the time before that when all I got was stale bread and water! Of course this was a jail just outside of Napa Valley, California…

If you believe that, I have some nice swamp land for sale too :-)

Actually, Karen, a fellow St. Louis food blogger at Familystyle Food was kind enough to share her sourdough starter w/ me, so I decided to try my hand at making some sourdough bread. I had intended to make the bread for World Bread Day 2007 hosted by Kochtopf but I missed the deadline. Oh well, better late than never! 

The wine is one that I’ve been wanting to do a post on because it is very good and not outrageously expensive like some California cabernets can be.

 Notes on London Cab:

2003 London Cab

 

You never know what to expect. But boy, what a ride! A little wild, a little reckless, and a whole lotta red. This cab starts off slow and easy, but revs up into a fun, full-bodied, fruit-driven wine in no time. Flavorfully rich, cherry red, and oh-so-berry, it’s nothing short of ready for action, and one of the greatest finds in all of old country . . . and new, for that matter.

Varietals: 100% estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon

Appellation: Russian River Valley

pH: 3.56     TA: .484     Brix: 24

Oak: French

Alcohol: 13.8%

Production: 1300 cases

Vinted & bottled by Chateau Felice Winery

NO-KNEAD SOURDOUGH (recipe courtesy of Sourdoughs International)

After Mark Bittman’s feature in the New York Times (November 8, 2006) on Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread, I received many inquires asking if it is possible to make no-knead sourdough. It took just one look at Lahey’s recipe to focus on the 12 hour “rest”. It seemed pretty obvious.  Lactobacilli in a sourdough culture “fermenting” for 12 hours should produce a far better flavor than ¼ teaspoon of instant yeast and no lactobacilli. It is only necessary to modify the recipe for the extra flour and water added by the sourdough culture.  Here’s what it looks like.

Recipe (see note)
Produces one 1½ pound loaf
1 cup fully active sourdough culture
440 grams (3 cups) all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1 cup water
1½ teaspoons salt

  1. In a large bowl briefly combine sourdough culture, flour, water and salt. The consistency should be very firm and shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and proof 12-18 hours at about 70° F. At 70-75 degrees the bread leavens well and has the distinct sourness and flavor of sourdough.  At more than 75 degrees the dough becomes too acidic which inhibits the wild yeast and leavens poorly. At much less than 70 degrees the dough leavens well but has a mild flavor.
     
  2. After the 12-18 hour fermentation this is very sticky dough. Use a plastic spatula to ease it away from the edges of the bowl onto a lightly floured board.  Sprinkle the surface with additional flour and let the dough rest 15 minutes or so.
     
  3. With minimal handling and additional flour (not more than ¼ cup) form a ball which is placed directly in the baking container to rise (or placed between cotton cloths as described by Lahey) and proofed until ready to bake, double in bulk (about 4 hours).  The baking container can be almost any small covered pot (avoid willow baskets since the sticky dough is difficult to remove).
     
  4. Lahey bakes the dough in an oven and container both preheated to 450° for approximately 1 hour. To obtain better oven spring place the risen dough in its container in a cool oven, set the oven at 450°, turn it on and bake for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.  You will never knead a better sourdough!

Note:  In developing the above recipe, I used our Original San Francisco culture. There are several additional recipes for no-knead sourdoughs in the section on batter breads in Classic Sourdoughs.

** The bread is one of the best I’ve baked. The crust and crumb were fantastic, and Karen’s homemade sourdough starter added such a great flavor to the end product! I highly recommend this recipe. The only thing I will do differently next time is doing the rise in the baking container as suggested. I let my bread rise in a seperate bowl and it was difficult to transfer to the preheated dutch oven.

I hope you give this bread and wine a try!

Until next time…

Bruno