Archive for October 9th, 2009

Just wanted to give you a quick update on my sourdough starter (though it seems a little mundane on a day when Barack Obama was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize).

The other day S commented that we should make waffles this weekend.  Since our favorite waffles are made from the recipe found in Nancy Silverton’s book Breads from the La Brea Bakery,


I was prompted to get my sourdough starter from the refrigerator where it has been hibernating for the last month.  For those of you who haven’t cared for a starter over the long term, once you get your starter happily bubbling away it gets a little tiring feeding it twice a day (and pouring good sourdough starter down the sink so that you don’t end up with bathtubs full of the stuff).  Luckily, you can stash it in the refrigerator for long periods of time without any bad effects.

After a few feedings my starter is  refreshed and bubbly and waiting to become a part of some delicious Sunday morning waffles.  I’ll let you know how they come out.

Ah, but I am not finished yet!  One of my Portland downtown Farmer’s Market obsessions are the panini from the Pearl Bakery.  These are not the kind of panini that you are probably thinking of right now (grilled sandwiches with savory or sweet fillings) but small, round chewy rolls flavored with figs and anise, chocolate, or hazelnuts.

Luckily for me there is a recipe for the Pearl Bakery’s fig-anise panini in Maggie Glezer’s book Artisan Baking across America. Even though the recipe is identified as “advanced” I am going to give it a try.

The first step is to transform my “batter-type” starter into a firm starter. This is a little tricky — the instructions on page 93 of Glezer’s book tell you to take 1 tablesppon each of liquid sourdough starter and lukewarm water, mix them together and knead this together with 1/3 cup unbleached bread flour to make a very firm dough.  This lump of dough is to ferment for 8-12 hours, rising to about 1 1/3 cup within the first 8 hours.

firm starter

firm starter2

My first attempt, which I made right after refreshing my batter-type starter, didn’t work, probably because my starter wasn’t at full strength right after being fed.  I am trying it again with a tablespoon of very bubbly, first-thing-in-the-morning, starter.

I’ll keep you posted on the outcome.


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