Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Seed-Starting Pots?

grapefruit rinds to dry

Can grapefruit half rinds be dried and used to start seeds in? Don't know. That's why we are trying this experiment.
For the past few days we have been saving our empty grapefruit rinds. We set them on a plate to dry, and will dry more as we get them. Once they are dry, we will save them for next year's seed starting. Maybe we will try oranges, as well.

Sourdough Success!

sourdough bread
We have been trying for over a year to make a decent sourdough starter and loaf of bread. The starter always goes bad on us and the bread is too..well, sour. Finally, we have come up with both starter and recipe that have worked very well for us.

Sourdough Starter

1 cup flour
1/2 cup water

Combine in glass jar (we use a quart wide mouth jar). Stir well, with a wooden spoon. Cover. Let sit 3 days before using for the first time, stirring every day, and do not refrigerate for the first 3 days.
Once your starter is ready, you must stir it every day, unless you refrigerate it. If you will not be using it for a few days, it is best to refrigerate.
Take starter out of the refrigerator the night before you plan on using it.
It is best to use wood, glass or ceramic bowls and utensils, basically anything but metal. Metal can inhibit fermentation.
Always replenish starter after using.

sourdough, after kneading

Sourdough Bread

3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cup warm water
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup sourdough starter
flour; for kneading (it could take up to a cup or more flour for kneading)

Generously grease a bread pan.
Combine all ingredients and mix until dough forms.
Turn out on a well floured board and knead until well mixed,(adding more flour as needed) about 10 to 15 minutes, dough will become elastic and smooth.
Form dough into a loaf and place in bread pan.
Let sit in a warm place to rise, this could take 4 to 6 hours, maybe even longer, depending on room temperature.
Place bread in a cold oven and place a pan of water on the oven floor.
Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 350°F and cook about 35 minutes more.
Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.
Don't forget to replenish your sourdough starter.
Makes one loaf of bread