English Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup (240 grams) Sourdough Starter
  • 2 Cups (488 grams) Whole Milk
  • 4 Cups (480 grams) Unbleached flour
  • 2 tsp (11 grams) Salt
  • 2 Tbs (42.5 grams) Honey

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly together. It will be sticky.
  2. Cover bowl (not airtight) and let sit on the counter to proof for 8-10 hours. Let the yeast do its thing!
  3. Remove dough onto a generously floured surface.
  4. Roll out dough to a 3/4 inch thickness.
  5. Using a large biscuit cutter or glass (I use a 4 1/2″ cutter) cut out as many rounds as you can. (you can reuse and re-roll out the excess dough)
  6. On medium low heat, cook biscuits in butter for 6 minutes on each side.

HINTS:

  • You can cook these on any pan you choose, I use a cast iron skillet as it cooks more even for me. I let it preheat for at least 20 minutes before cooking. Adjust your cooking times to get the results you want. Every pan is different. Start with 6 minutes and go from there.
  • I use a frozen stick of butter to butter my skillet. Then I keep my stick of butter in the freezer while I cook the biscuits, then it doesn’t get all melty.
  • You can use any types of flour you choose. I usually do half white whole wheat and half khorasan flour. (Kamut)
  • Seriously… roll out to 3/4 inch thickness, if its too thin you will get thin biscuits. (its ok if they aren’t completely done inside….this fixes itself with toasting)
  • Fling the flour! You will need a bit to keep them from sticking…it will produce more uniform biscuits.
  • These freeze beautifully.

Mushroom Long Grain Rice (INSTANT POT) and….info about carbs.

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Long Grain Rice
  • 3 Cups Bone Broth (any flavor)
  • 1 lb sliced mushrooms (divided)
  • 1/2 C Butter (divided)
  • 1 bunch green onions (sliced)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Rinse and thoroughly drain rice. Add rice to instant pot.
  2. Add broth to cover rice.
  3. Add 1/2 of the mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cook rice for 20 minutes, turn off instant pot and allow a natural release.
  5. While rice is cooking, melt 1/4 C butter in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the other 1/2 mushrooms until golden brown. Set aside.
  6. Once natural release has finished, carefully open the lid and add 1/4 C butter and carefully toss until melted. Add browned mushrooms and sliced green onions. Mix and serve!

Long grain rice is the WHOLE grain of rice. Nothing has been removed from it. The bran and germ layers are left intact, (the most nutritious part) giving the rice a nutty, grainy flavor and a chewy bite. It also takes longer to cook than “normal” rice that you buy from the store….which is usually a medium or short grain rice. Nutritionally, long grain rice has so many health benefits. It has a lot of fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full. It has a lower glycemic index to help control blood sugars and excellent antioxidants for heart health.

I love long grain rice…I love the chewy, heartiness of it. Frank the dog likes it too! One thing I learned during many different roads of my health journey…was how much I craved rice and other whole grains. Not white sticky rice, or boil in a bag rice…but real rice. I think our bodies crave health. We also know what is good for us and what isn’t. The culture in our world right now is so anti-carb…and I don’t believe that’s real life. It’s not truth either. Carbs are fuel. Energy. Who here needs more energy? phhht.

Healthy, good carbs are meant to fuel us! I’m not talking about cold cereal and pop-tart carbs….I’m talking about grains. And potatoes. And beans. And fruit. Remember the food pyramid back in grade school? I think they were really on to something. And real butter? Ummm yes. Julia Child taught me a lot about butter…her love for it is something her and I share…because we are besties. I will talk about healthy fats another time.

I found these 2 nutritional posters while searching for the old fashioned food pyramid. They fascinated me! The one on the left is from the 50’s and the one on the right is from the 40’s. I feel like we’ve come full circle…or at least I have. In between these time frames and today….we have introduced mass processing and GMO foods…and most of all..convenience. All of the foods shown in the posters are natural, whole and healthy. No processed sugar, no fast food, no high fructose corn syrup. Hardly anything in the pictures are in cans…maybe some tuna and some fruits and veggies. It’s fresh REAL AND RAW food. I think I’m gonna choose it!

Maybe she’s crazy…maybe she just needs carbs. YOU. DON’T. KNOW.


The BLAH’s

I was really feeling BLAH this week.

I think we are all feeling BLAH. It seemed like everyone I talked to this week…..”I’m feeling BLAH.”….”yeah me too.”

And you know what? It’s ok. We’ve all been through a lot this year…it’s ok to not feel ok!

I was trying to decide what to post today…and I ended up deciding to post BLAH!

It’s Sunday…so I got up this morning… turned on my favorite Sunday music….started some bread dough and some English muffin dough. And decided that I needed some help getting me out of the BLAH’S. So today…it was about the earth for me. I caught a glimpse of the Wellsvilles (a mountain range where I live) as the sun was coming up…still covered in snow, they were glowing and beautiful. I just stared….and took it in. I wish I would have taken a picture… but I didn’t know I was gonna post this today…and I was too busy just staring.

I love the earth. I love her. I have so much gratitude for her. Have you ever stopped to think about what she really does for us? She freely provides everything we need…..she has impeccable timing and she’s more than reliable. She never stops giving. Her beauty is unmatched….and I literally could find something new every single day that I haven’t seen before. Sometimes if we will just take a few minutes to really look….she will heal us. Mentally and physically by what she gives. She brings us joy…. gives a smile… shows us hope …..puts light where there is none….not to mention the nutrition she provides. She must be exhausted! Just having those thoughts today brought me an unexplainable amount of gratitude for her. Which in turn lifted my BLAH’s.

The truth in baking gives me comfort. The laws of it. If I use a certain ingredient and mix or cook it a certain way…it has to become what has to become. It’s a law! So I know when I grind wheat berries….I’ll get flour. And I know that when I add natural yeast with that flour and some water…a little salt…give it some time. It will rise. And I will get bread. It has to! It’s a law! That brings comfort and satisfaction to me.

Today was a great baking day. I felt a little more connected to Fernandough…. to his creation. To the ingredients. Putting everything in the bowl. Getting my hands in there and feeling the consistency…the stickiness….the ingredients coming together. Becoming what they have to become. When I pulled these hot babies from the oven….my heart felt so full. Like the earth had said, “Thank you for thinking of me today”.

Sometimes just finding a little something to be grateful for…can take away the BLAH’s. Plus you get some beautiful, delicious bread as a result.

BAKE ON!

BAKE ON!


Sourdough Granola

During my “trial and error” phase of bread making…I had a LOT of unused bread. This recipe helped me reduce the waste and create something that I love! Sometimes now, I will make a loaf just to cut it up and let it dry out for granola. Super versatile recipe. Make it what you love!

Ingredients

  • About 1 pound of stale, dry sourdough bread
  • 1/2 C Slivered almonds
  • 1/2 C Chopped hazelnuts
  • 3/4 C Puffed rice or puffed kamut
  • 1/4 C Chia seeds
  • 1/4 C Flax seeds or meal
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 C- 1 C Honey

Directions

  1. Run stale bread through a food processor until you have both fine and chunky crumbs
  2. In large bowl, mix all ingredients until honey is well distributed and everything is coated evenly.
  3. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.
  4. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes. (Stir granola every 10 minutes while baking)
  5. After 30 minutes baking time, let granola sit undisturbed until completely cool. Break up and store in an airtight container.

You can add whatever ingredients you like to this recipe. Add the nut varieties you love! I have added oats, muesli, dried fruits, etc. Just make sure you add enough honey to coat evenly. If you want yours more chunky or sticky, add more honey…if you want it more dry and crumbly…add less! It’s heavenly with some yogurt and fruit, or even pour a little milk over it and warm it up.


Bread Overload

There’s a lot of bread that can come from the trial and error of sourdough breadmaking. Like a LOT.

Sourdough in reality isn’t a “type” of bread….its a process. And it’s different for everyone.

Each recipe takes time to perfect. You will get good and bad results. It’s part of the learning curve and to be honest…. I love the figuring out part. I learn something new every.single.time. Everyone’s oven temperature is different. Everyone’s humidity level is different. Everyone’s natural yeast starter is different. Recipes are awesome…but they are just a base line of where to start. You have to adjust and fine tune that recipe to become YOUR recipe and get the results that YOU want. I take a lot of notes!

These particular loaves came from a new recipe I found. Honey and Molasses Whole Wheat. I love the idea of this type of bread….I could tell right off the bat that the dough wasn’t right. It was too dry and dense, and wouldn’t rise much during the 2nd rise. I knew it probably wouldn’t give me the results I wanted but we push through anyway right!? I will make adjustments the next time I make this…and I know I’ll get some beautiful, delicious and healthy bread as the result.

I never stress about baking results…because I know I have use for the bread regardless. Even the “whoops” loaves have nutritional value to them. All of the goodness and health benefits are still jam packed in those ugly, doughy, burnt, dry, learning loaves! And I know I can make other things that I love from my whoopsie loaves.

What to do with all of that extra bread? Here are some ideas!

  • Granola
  • French Toast
  • Bruschetta
  • Bread Pudding
  • Breakfast Strata
  • Stuffing
  • Croutons

Recipes are forthcoming!!

Bake on!!


Artisan Sourdough Bread

This is the recipe I started with. I found it was the simplest and most consistent one for me. A crusty outside, chewy inside. It does not taste like “sourdough”. Every single loaf is different, weird shapes and scoring…. the uglier the better! You literally can’t go wrong. Give it a try! (I will be adding a video soon of the entire process)

Ingredients

  • 2 C (480 grams) Sourdough Starter (Natural Yeast)
  • 5 C (625 grams) Unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3/4 C (90 grams) Brown Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 3/4 C-2C (420-480 grams) Filtered Room Temperature Water
  • 2 1/2 (14 grams) tsp salt

Directions

  1. In a large glass bowl, combine all ingredients except the salt. Mix well until all of the flour is moistened to form a soft, tacky dough. (Sourdough is sticky… this is normal. It won’t feel like smooth soft, dry dough) Cover and let rest for 20 minutes so the flour can absorb the water. (You can use a mixer or hand mix it)
  2. Add the salt, knead the dough until it’s smooth, about 5 minutes. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  3. Inside the bowl, pinch one side underneath the dough and pull (fold) to the other side. Turn 1/4 turn and repeat. Repeat this about 8 times until the dough has been completely folded. Cover and let rise for another hour.
  4. Turn out the dough and divide in half. Gently shape into 2 rounds by turning the dough in circles while the bottom continues to touch the counter (like a steering wheel) to create tension on the surface of your dough. Tension is what makes your loaf stand tall and proud.
  5. Place each round into a floured banneton bowl or into a lightly greased bowl. (There are so many ways to do this last rise….with good tension, you can even just place it on some parchment to rise without a form) Cover and let rise until light and airy. About 2-3 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 450° (with dutch oven or baking stone inside). Gently turn loaves onto parchment, score them with a sharp knife or lame, (have fun with that part!!) and carefully lift or slide parchment into the dutch oven or onto the baking stone.
  7. If using a dutch oven, bake with the lid on for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and bake an additional 20 minutes.
  8. If using a baking stone or baking sheet, place a pan of boiling water inside of the oven, and bake bread for 40 minutes.

My favorite way to eat sourdough like this….is avocado toast! It’s AMAZ-ZA-ZING!! It makes incredible grilled cheese sandwiches, dipped in olive oil and balsamic, and is just delightful as a slice with plain ‘ol butter. ENJOY!!


FERNANDOUGH

He’s basically the star of the show right now. I wish I was joking when I said we are in a relationship… it’s pretty serious. I love checking on him every morning….”look at you sir!!” “you are so bubbly and happy this morning!” “you’re doing such a good job… all rising and stuff!!” “you smell terrific!!”

I’m so proud of him. He is strong, active and reliable. He’s a workhorse really…. I get great results with him. We get each other….when I am consistent with him…and he is consistent for me. He lives in my microwave, this is a safe space for him. Draft free and consistent temperatures. I feed him daily. Some people keep theirs in their fridge…and feed less. And that works too! It’s all about what you want!

What even is sourdough starter? Basically it’s a natural leavening (yeast) made from fermented flour and water. It’s been used for centuries to make bread. But it has been found to be SO HEALTHY….and can do SO MUCH MORE! It’s quite the adventure.

I started this sourdough journey this past year right after COVID hit. Trying to be self sufficient and also working on my own gut health. This is where the path started. I created Fernandough from scratch on my own….it wasn’t pretty. It was hell if I’m honest. I didn’t know what I was doing and MANY times I thought I had killed it or I “wasn’t doing it right”….nothing was happening!! The truth of what I have learned so far is that there’s no right way to do sourdough. There’s just YOUR WAY.

Natural “wild” yeast is found all around us. In our environment. And basically, we trap it in a jar. That in itself is fascinating to me. So your starter won’t be the same as mine. Even if I sent you some Fernandough…(which I can do!) it would adapt to your environment and become YOUR starter. My humidity level is different than yours, my water is different than yours, our flour is most likely different. It’s ALL different. So yours is perfect for you and mine is perfect for me. So no starter envy ok?

I have posted “how to make a starter” videos on Instagram and Facebook, (I will post videos here eventually) that take you step by step for the first few days and then everyday after… after you see bubbles… is basically the same to care for it daily. Unless you’re building your starter amount up for baking days. I’m trying my best to keep things simple and easy to understand…which is what I wanted when I started. So hopefully it doesn’t feel overwhelming….because it can easily feel that way. I promise….overall it’s very simple. Sometimes….it’s time consuming and messy… sometimes what I make ends up in the trash. But keep trying! Eventually you get something that comes out of the oven that blows your own mind! I MADE THAT!

Not everything on this blog will be made using sourdough starter….I love cooking with all the earthy things!! But lets just clear up one thing… shall we? Sourdough starter…isn’t sour. When people hear the word “sourdough” they think of the typical sourdough bread with a sour twang….that is not sourdough starter. (there are ways to make it twangy if you want) I actually prefer the term “natural yeast” and use that frequently…just because it gives the correct context of what we are using. It’s fermented yeast that has been used for centuries to make bread! It can be used it SO many things! Any recipe that calls for flour and water can have natural yeast added to it!

Just a few health benefits from using natural yeast:

  • It breaks down enzymes in grains and maximizes natural vitamins, minerals and fiber…all while converting the grain into an easily digestible food.
  • Reduces blood sugar spikes
  • It’s both a pre-biotic and a pro-biotic (there is 5 billion pro-biotic cultures in 1 teaspoon!)
  • Natural yeast slows digestion so you feel fuller longer
  • It lowers your glycemic response to carbs
  • It can help reduce heartburn and reflux
  • It can reduce inflammation in the gut
  • And so many other health benefits!

Creating and keeping a natural yeast starter is time consuming…..it’s messy….it’s not convenient…it’s a commitment….but aren’t you worth all of that? I think so.

I have SO enjoyed getting back to the basics of cooking, of creating and SLOWING THINGS DOWN. It was what I needed at that time…and it awakened me in ways I didn’t even know existed. All day to make bread? Why is this fun?

The truth of the matter is that out of the hours it takes to make 2 loaves of bread….you are literally only hands on for maybe just a few minutes of that time. You are letting the yeast do it’s job and allowing the magic to happen within your creation. So timing really is everything. On work days…I wake up early and it takes MAYBE 10 minutes to get an english muffin dough or Everything muffin batter going. I head out the door and 8-10 hours later it’s ready to go! On my bread baking days… usually Sunday…. I get one batch of dough going in the morning…..and then 2 hours later I get another batch going. That will give me 4 staggered loaves for the day. Its basically just a little preparing the day before to build up your starter….and then cooking day I set a bunch of timers because I’m old and I forget what I’m doing. Where am I?

p.s. If you want some Fernandough…I have learned how to dehydrate him and send him safely to your house! For $10, it comes with 3 Tbsp of Fernandough flakes, directions for how to revive him, some of my favorite recipes….and a whole lotta love. You can contact me at kristis.kitchen5@gmail.com or on any of my social media accounts. My social media links are here —–> Facebook or Instagram.