sourdough

sourdough whole wheat pizza

Occasionally we do a great job of planning our meals in advance and it results in tasty things like homemade pizza. You'd think that would be incentive for us to get organized more often. We're getting there.  IMG_1252 IMG_1256 IMG_1263

Overnight Sourdough Whole Wheat Pizza Dough adapted somewhat wildly from Peter Reinhart's Crust and Crumb

1 c white bread flour (I used Roger's Organic) 2 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour (I used Schmidt Organic) 1 cup sourdough starter (hopefully you have some on hand, if not, find a friend or a bakery who is willing to share, or start some yourself but realize it takes time to develop) 1/4 cup sugar (I used Sucanat, a deliciously unrefined cane sugar) 1/4 tsp salt (I used Le Paludier French grey sea salt) 4 tbsp butter (I used salted because that is what I had) 1 egg (from a happy free -ranging chicken) 1 cup milk (I used Avalon organic whole milk) 1/2 cup water Olive oil for oiling bowl (I used organic extra virgin)

Mixing: Combine all ingredients (except olive oil) in the bowl of a Kitchenaid stand mixer. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 10-12 minutes, sparingly adjusting for moisture if necessary with water or flour. The dough should be slightly soft and tacky and should pass the windowpane test when done (gently tug a corner and try to stretch it so you can see through it- if it rips mix it more and if it stretches it's ready). If mixing by hand, stir ingredients together in a bowl and then knead for 12-15 minutes on a lightly floured surface.

Rise: Lightly oil a clean bowl with the olive oil and place dough in bowl. Cover with plastic and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour, until it noticeably swells.

Divide: Turn dough onto a lightly floured counter and cut in half. Round each piece.

Rest: Lightly oil either the dough rounds or the insides of two plastic bags. Place dough in bags leaving room for it to expand (it will grow more than you think in the fridge), and then place in fridge for at least 1 hour but preferably overnight (dough can be refrigerated for up to 48 hours).

Preheat oven to 550° F or as hot as possible. If you have a pizza stone, put that it before preheating. If you don't have a pizza stone but do have a spare large sheet pan, invert that and place it in the oven before preheating.

Roll: On a floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to desired shape and thickness. Put on pans or a cornmeal-dusted peel (or makeshift peel - I use either a wooden cutting board or an inverted sheet pan as a peel. Also it doesn't need to be cornmeal but be sure to dust the peel with something so the pizza slides off okay). Make a fancy crust if you like. Sauce and top according to personal preference (we used organic pizza sauce, roasted garlic, veggies from our garden and shredded mozzarella).

Bake: Slide into the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the dough is crisp and golden and the cheese is bubbly and golden.

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the quiet passage of time

Over the past couple days, I have done almost nothing. In a way, that's a huge relief. I've just been lazing around the house, mostly in bed or at the kitchen table with my feet tucked up on the heater. I've been reading this, and looking for DIY wedding ideas here. My cold/flu is waning and I am gradually feeling stronger. I braved the mild spring air for a brief walk to our local bakery for milk (being home sick without milk for coffee was too dreadful a prospect), and somehow while I was lying with my eyes closed in the grey half-light of a room with curtains closed in the afternoon, with the cries of gulls punctuating the quiet passage of time, the next stages of spring were unfurling outside. I walked outside into a street full of cherry blossoms. At the bakery, it seemed silly to just buy milk so I bought sourdough spelt sandwich bread too, which is delicious. The excellence of our neighborhood's  wood-fired, sourdough, local-grain-using bakery has resulted in my own little sourdough culture languishing in the fridge. I feel guilty thinking about when I last fed it, or longer ago still, baked with it.

While I've been writing this from my customary blanket on the floor with the rabbits roaming around, one set of headphones were the sad casualty of one rabbit (Zephyr, of course) being left with our computers while we intervened with and separated a catnip-ed out cat (Michette - who had until this point been on her best behavior) and a naive and curious rabbit (Seven, naturally). Now, J and I are going to practice dancing- a kind and patient friend is teaching us and we are hoping to show improvement at our next dinner and lesson together.

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