Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wild and Sour Part TWO

Okay. SO a week or so ago I posted about Billy and his fancy little loaf of Russian Black Bread. Well people, that was only the humble beginnings of a newly formed bread baking obsession that has taken possession of Billy's brain. We bought a bread baking book by Peter Reinhart called "Whole Grain Breads, New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavors." This is a great book for people who are willing to get serious about baking some bread. It goes in to great detail about how producing a really good whole grain bread is a totally different process than making most other types of breads. Billy sat down with the book the first night and read about the first 100 pages and the next day he began the steps to produce our own wild yeast starter or "mother." Many of you may not know that you can actually catch wild yeast right out of the air. What do you do with it once you have it? You feed it and fuss with it and eventually it becomes the base for your dough for baking. It is widely known that San Francisco has a really unique species of yeast that makes their sour dough bread so spectacular and unique in flavor. Well... we are hoping that much like other bay area residents maybe some of it will wander up here on vacation and we can take it hostage and turn it into a loaf of 9 grain sour dough.

A couple of nights ago Billy baked three loaves... small, medium and large in size using one of the techniques in the Reinhart book where you make a "soaker" with your grains 24 hours in advance to cultivate the flavors in the grains to make a better tasting loaf of bread. The bread turned out amazingly good and very pretty! Billy made Rudy his own wee little loaf to eat. It was hysterical. The medium sized loaf had a swirl of fresh chopped herbs and smoked gouda inside as well as poppy seeds crusted on the outside and the large loaf was just straight stone ground whole wheat.





Pretty fancy eh? We devoured the herb bread that night while Rudy ate his little loaf of whole wheat. The next morning I drove in to town before breakfast to get a worthy jar of jam to eat on our loaf of whole wheat. I grabbed a locally made Whole Blueberry Jam from Carol Hall's Jelly Company and we dove in.


Let me just throw in a shout out to Carol Hall for making some damn good jam.

This weekend we have big plans to make three new breads possibly using Billy's "mother starter" which is coming along quite nicely. Oh! And I almost forgot to mention that along with our bread I made a batch of home made vegan cashew cheese. Ohhh... stop your gagging! It really turned out great. If I ever find the recipe online I will post a link to it... it is in the current issue of Vegetarian Times magazine for anyone interested. I forgot to snap a pic of it but it turned out tasting like a lemony, nutty goat cheese. It's made from nothing but cashews, lemon juice, tahini, canola oil, salt and pepper. The process is a bit of a situation to contend with but it was worth it in the end.

Yesterday afternoon we walked Rudy down to Russian Gulch Beach and hung out for a few hours. Here's a few pics...

Billy and Rudy having high times playing with a stray piece of seaweed. That is not a giant slug sitting up on the bridge it is the seaweed flying through the air...



A more serious, reflective moment...



And then back to good times and rough housing!



The fog was rolling back in just as we were leaving. You have to cross the little river that flows through the beach to get on or off of the beach at Russian Gulch. Here I am making the crossing...


We spotted a family of Canada Geese on the river. Ohhhh those chics are soooo cute!




We continue to be blown away by the vast array of plants that are blooming in the woods here. Every single time we go for a walk we find something new. Here are yesterdays additions to the scene...





I think this last one is called Monkey Pod but the first two are still a mystery. We are off to work for the afternoon! Have a great day peeps!

2 comments:

sybil said...

ok. so i take back what i said about grocery store bread and cheese... billy's loaves look AMAZING!!! i think i can smell their tastiness from here...

Bethany said...

Maybe I will pop one in the mail to ya. Girl you should see what he is makin' next. I can't wait to see it come out of the oven. But really... my life is being taken over by the carb monster.