Sourdough Bread – Pain de Campagne

Modified from the recipe in Ken Forkish’s book “Flour Water Salt Yeast“.

The part I disliked most about the original recipe was how much starter I was throwing away, and that it used commercial yeast. If I’m going to bother with starters and levains, I don’t want to use commercial yeast. So I modified it to make half the amount of levain, all of which goes into the main dough.

Feed Your Starter the Night Before

If you bake once a week like I do and not every day, you’ll need to refresh your starter that’s been sleeping in the fridge.

  1. Mix well with a metal spoon
  2. Throw out all but 3/4 of a cup or so
  3. Add 100 grams of ~90 degree Fahrenheit water and 100 grams flour
  4. Put into the oven with the oven light on
  5. Leave until the next morning.

Make Your Levain

The next morning, around 8 or 9 am:

  1. Get a medium bowl and add and mix together the following:
  2. 50g or your starter
  3. 200g of white / all-purpose flour
  4. 50g of whole wheat or rye flour
  5. 200g of 85 to 90 degree Fahrenheit water
  6. Cover and put in your same oven with the oven light on (or some other warm place)

Autolyse the Main Dough

Around seven hours later (3pm if you started at 8am), get a bigger bowl and add the following:

  1. 740g white / all-purpose flour
  2. 60g whole wheat or rye flour
  3. 620g 85-90 degree Fahrenheit water
  4. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes

Add Starter and Salt to Main Dough

After the 30 minutes are up and the flour is nice and autolysed:

  1. Add all the Levain
  2. Add 21g of salt
  3. Mix (using the pincer technique) .

Stretch and Fold

Do three or four “stretch and folds” every 30 minutes or so, then let sit covered on the counter until it is a little more than doubled in size.

Divide the dough into whatever you’re making

I always make Boules. So I cut my dough in half, form into tight balls, and put into proofing baskets. Cover the baskets and then put them into the fridge for 12 hours or so (i.e. overnight and into the next morning).

Bake the Bread

The next morning or afternoon, set the oven to 450, put a dutch oven in there, and let both come up to temperature, and then stay up to temp for another 20-30 minutes to let everything get good and hot.

Then:

  1. Take one of your bread dough baskets out of the oven, flip it upside down to get it out of the proofing basket and onto the counter
  2. Take the dutch oven out of the oven, place it on top of the stove, and remove the lid (carefully!)
  3. Put the dough in to the dutch oven, replace the lid, and put the whole thing back into the oven.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes
  5. Remove the dutch oven lid and bake for another 20 minutes, or longer if you want darker/crispier/thicker crust.
  6. Remove the dutch oven from the oven, take out your loaf of sourdough, and put on a cooling rack.
  7. Resit the urge to cut into it right away and instead let it cool on the rack.
  8. If you have more dough put the dutch oven back into the oven for 5-10 minute to let it re-heat and then do your next loaf.

Sweet Vidalia Onion Chicken Thighs

This is a super easy recipe that tastes great!

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Thighs, with excess fat trimmed off
  • 1 Large Vidalia Onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Thyme
  • Orange Juice
  • Deli Mustard
  • Flour + Water Slurry (for optional gravy thickening)
  • Chicken broth / bullion (maybe need it for sauce)

Steps

  • Trim the excess fat off the chicken thighs,
  • Season the 4 chicken thighs on all sides with salt, pepper, and thyme (or any other spices/herbs you think might go well)
  • Heat a large skillet or cast iron pan over high heat to get it nice and hot (but not all the way to smoking in the case of cast iron). The pan will be going into the oven, so keep that in mind. If you don’t have an oven-safe pan then you could use a baking dish or whatever.
  • Place the 4 chicken thighs into the pan, skin side down
  • While the chicken thighs brown, cut the onion into 4 large slices like you’re making large onion rings, but keep them together in one piece.
  • When the chicken thighs are browned, remove them from the pan, place the 4 onion rounds into the pan, and then place a chicken thigh, skin side up, on each. (you can also do this without having to remove the chicken from the pan bu stacking them all together and working your way around the pan building the onion+chicken stacks – I always save creating a dirty dish when I can!).
  • While the chicken and onions cook, start some rice.
  • Remove the chicken when it reaches whatever temperature you like your chicken at (165 degrees fahrenheight is the official temp, but I usually go a tad higher since my gauge might be in a weird spot, and chicken thighs are much more forgiving to a little more heat than breasts).
  • Place the chicken and onion rounds (carefully! They will want to fall apart) on a plate under some foil to let it rest / stay warm).

Pan Sauce / Gravy

  • Place the pan the chicken was in back on the stove with high heat. It should have plenty of juices and fat from the chicken.
  • Add about a cup of orange juice and a tablespoon of mustard (this is relative, the actual amounts will depend on how much juice you have in the pan).
  • Mix these together and then taste it. You may have to:
    • Add more salt and pepper
    • Add more orange juice or mustard if one or the other is overpowering
    • Add some chicken bouillon / broth if there’s not enough chicken flavor.
  • When it tastes right you can now optionally add some flour/water slurry to thicken it up, or leave it the way it is.

Serving

I like to serve it on a bed of rice, then the chicken, topped with one of the onion rounds, with sauce over the top. You can also go rice > onion > chicken > sauce if you want to show off the chicken more and make sure the skin stays crispier, but in my experience both will result in the skin not staying “crispy”, so why not put the large onion slice on top since it’s really almost more of a feature of this recipe – it’s the thing that’s “a little different”.

Serve with a side salad, or whatever vegetables you want.

Starter Bread Experiment – April 14, 2019

Starter Bread

Ingredients

IngredientAmountBakers Percentage
Starter (50 / 50)100g (50g flour)
Bread Flour100g
Total Flour150g100%
Water121g water
(117 + 2 oops, +2 “seems dry”)
80%
Salt3g2%

Timeline

Day Before

  • Day before woke up starter, fed twice

2018-04-13 – 2:00 PM

  • Mix ingredients
  • Stretch and fold
  • Short rest
  • Add salt that I forgot
  • Stretch and fold
Rested after first stretch and fold

2018-04-13 – 2:20 PM

  • Cover and rest

2018-04-13 – 4:10 PM

  • Stretch and fold #3
  • Form ball
  • Cover with oil and plastic wrap
  • Put into oven with light on to wake up since it seems sluggish
Consistency at this stage

2019-04-13 – 5:10 PM

  • Into the fridge to slow rise overnight.
After oven-light rise, and on its way to the fridge

Maime’s Sugar Cookies

  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1/2 C Soft Butter
  • 1/2 C Sour Cream
  • 1 1 /2 tsp Vanilla
  • Optional 1 tsp lemon juice and/or zest
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 1/2 C Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  1. Blend sugar and butter
  2. Add and mix in sour cream, vanilla, egg and optional lemon
  3. Combine together and sift into the wet mix: Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt
  4. Drop table spoon-sized balls onto ungreased baking sheet
  5. Sprinkle with sugar
  6. Bake at 350 until edges turn brown.

Snowball Cookies

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup confectioners sugar (I use a little less because I don’t like them so sweet)
  • 1teaspoon vanilla
  • Blend above together until smooth
  • Add:
    • 2 Cups Flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt and blend until flour is completely mixed
    • Mix in 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • Take about 1 Tablespoon of dough and roll into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. (I fill the cookie sheet because these cookies don’t spread,)
  • Bake 300 degrees for about 20 minutes or until bottoms begin to get a little color.
  • Roll in confectioners sugar twice while warm. (I only roll once, again because of the sweetness.) I actually like this cookie without the sugar coating. They’re just not as pretty.

Goulash / American Chop Suey

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ground beef.
  • Almost an entire box of ziti (or your favorite pasta)
  • 1 Can Tomato Soup
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Ground Black Pepper
Steps:
  • Get a nice big pot of water boiling with some salt (if it tastes like tears then it’s probably salted about right), although, the soup has plenty of salt in it too, so you could salt the water a bit less in this case if you want.
  • Brown beef in pan.
  • Around this time also put your pasta in the water (which should be good an boiling by this point)
  • When the beef is about 80% cooked, add in the garlic.  You don’t want the garlic to brown, but you do want to sweat it a bit.  Might as well throw a few grinds of black pepper in there as well.
  • When fully cooked, remove beef and drain off excess fat.  You can put the beef back into the pan to keep warm if you want while you wait for the pasta to cook.  If you’ve timed it well, it should be pretty close to done.
  • When the pasta’s done, drain it and then add back into the big boiling pot.  Add the beef mixture to this pot, as well as the entire can of tomato soup.  Season with additional black pepper if you want.
  • Mix well and serve immediately with some garlic bread of something (I like it best when it’s screaming hot).
To borrow some words from my old roommate whose father cooked meals for a firehouse, this is one of those things that can be cooked “hot and a lot” for a group of people.  Super simple, easy, and fast.

Cardamom Bread

Ingredients:

  • 8 Cups Flour
  • 2 1/2 Cups Lukewarm Milk
  • 2 pkg. Dry Yeast
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup melted (salted) butter
  • 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • Chopped almonds
  • Egg White (for wash)

Steps:

  • Dissolve yeast in 1/2 Cup of milk
  • Mix remaining milk, sugar, egg, salt, butter, cardamom and half the flour.
  • Beat with whisk until smooth
  • Add milk/yeast mixture and remaining flour.  Mix.
  • Cover and let rise until doubled.
  • Turn out onto lightly floured board, knead until smooth.
  • Cut into thirds.  Cut each third into thirds and roll each into ropes.
  • Place ropes onto lightly buttered cookie sheets and braid into loaf.
  • Let rise until doubled.
  • Brush each braid with slightly-beaten egg white wash.
  • Sprinkle sugar (more creates a sweeter sugar crust), and chopped almonds.
  • Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.  More is better but watch for burning.
  • Remove, let cool, cut and enjoy with butter.
  • Best the next morning toasted with butter…

Raw Apple Cake

This is, without a doubt, the best-tasting cake you’ll make for how easy it is.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups chopped apple
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 Cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice
  • 1 Cup chopped walnuts

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Combine all ingredients in one (large) bowl.
  • Mix by hand just until flour is mixed in
  • Pour / place mixture into (angel food cake pan?)  Whatever the kind is that makes a round cake with a hole in the middle
  • Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Optional Frosting:

  • Mix together confectioner’s sugar and water to make a liquid paste that will run/drizzle off a spoon.
  • Add Almond Extract to mixture.  Not sure on quantity,  pretty powerful stuff so go slow and taste…add more if it needs it.
  • Drizzle over cake going from center to outside so you get lines of frosting radiating out from the “center” of the cake.

Matt’s Chicken

This can be cooked in 30 minutes and be ready to eat.  In Matt’s words, his father used to make this for the Fire Station where he worked because it can be made and served “hot and a lot”.  I don’t actually eat the broccoli, I really just like the flavor it adds, so depending on how much you want it cooked you might add it  at a different time in the process.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces.
  • 1 Onion, sliced.
  • 1 Pepper, sliced.
  • Broccoli, trimmed
  • 1 Jar store-bought chicken gravy
  • 1/4 cup White Wine (guessing on quantity here)
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Red Pepper flakes (add as much or as little as you want)
  • Salt / Pepper
  • Egg Noodles

 

Steps:

  • Get water and pan for egg noodles ready.
  • In large skillet, cook onions and pepper over medium heat in olive oil until onions start to turn clear.  Add chicken, cook until mostly cooked-through.  Try not to let onions brown.
  • Add broccoli
  • Add red pepper flakes to taste.
  • Add gravy and white wine, let cook more to burn off alcohol.  Turn heat down to simmer, cover and let cook until desired doneness.
  • Cook egg noodles.
  • Serve over egg noodles.

Turkey (or chicken) Vatapa

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1 (28 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 12-ounce can light beer
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
  • 3 Cups chopped, skinned turkey (or chicken)
  • 1/2 Cup light coconut milk
  • 1/2 Cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 Cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Steps:

  • Heat oil in a dutch oven (or a big pot)
  • Add onion and garlic, sauté 2 minutes
  • Add ginger and jalapeño sauté 30 seconds
  • Stir in water, tomatoes, and beer.  Bring to a boil and cover.
  • Reduce heat, simmer 20 minutes.
  • Place peanuts in spice grinder, grind until fine.  (you can substitute peanut butter too)
  • Add peanuts, meat, and coconut milk to pan.  Stir to combine.
  • Increase heat to medium, bring to simmer, cook 5 minutes.
  • Stir in parsley, cilantro, juice, salt, and black pepper.
  • Garnish with cilantro sprigs if desired.