Sourdough Bread with EAR

Find out how to get an ear on sourdough bread by watching this video. The secrets of creating a sourdough bread with ear are revealed in details. Gluten development, dough strength, good oven spring, correct bread scoring, and other aspects are very important in getting a bread ear.


Car cake

When you realize that the name day of your son is tomorrow and you do not have a cake to celebrate with him what do you do? The quick solution is to buy a cake, but with this lockdown, it was not an option for me. I had then to postpone the celebration a bit and bake a cake for my little angel when I could.
Before starting, I showed my little son some cake designs for boys and he pointed me one that he liked. It was not an easy one but it was a challenge for me to try something new.
For the composition of the cake, I went for a simplified version of my previous Bunny cake. I knew then how to do it, so the steps were straightforward. What I didn't know, was how to make those cars, a plane, a road and a traffic light from sugar paste.
I did then my homework, find some shapes, and cut them in paper with an Exacto knife. I put those shapes over a stretched sheet of sugar paste and cut around with the same knife. Colors were of my own choice. Near me, of course, my son and my daughter were active participants. My daughter took the wheels of the cars in black sugar paste and she did them with the help of some coins or other round shapes. My son, well, he was extremely curious about what his mother and sister were doing. He was there to observe and to give a Wow, mommy, this is a car... it is a tractor, it is a bus... with an enthusiasm that you'll only find when you have his age. Of course, from time to time, a little piece of sugar paste was disappearing on his tongue but well... this was the whole fun right? 
In this way, we spend some beautiful hours on a Sunday afternoon and finally, the cake was ready. Almost ready, because mommy had to take a photo of it. And that time was felt way longer than the entire afternoon of doing all the decorations :D . 
The big moment arrived, we put 2 candles on the cake, sang the classic song, and let the kids blow the candles. After that, there was a small discussion about, who would eat the traffic light and who would eat the tree, who would eat the red car and who the blue one. When this problem was solved, the kids were quietly enjoying their piece of cake.
Yep, another beautiful day spent with kids has passed, and the image of the cake will remain in their memories. So yes, it worth every minute to do the cake... because happiness is not about the end result but it is about the journey.

Retarded sourdough bread

Knowing how to retard your bread, it offers you a lot of flexibility to spread these steps to fit your personal schedule. Baking bread at home should not be the main activity of your day but rather should fit between other main activities you have. 

Retarding the bread in the refrigerator is an interesting process. On one side, it gives more flavour to your bread. The flour releases its flavour at its maximum potential. On the other side, it helps the baker to easily score it and offers flexibility to bake it when you want. 

The risk of extending the regard is to get an over proved bread and a more sour taste. But this happens if you keep the dough too much in the fridge (over 3 days) or when your fridge is keeping a higher temperature than 4ºC. At this low temperature, the sourdough is dormant and won't be active to rise your bread.

But imagine that you knead and shape 3 loaves of bread, you put them in the fridge and the next 3 days you take out and bake one bread per day. This means that you'll have fresh bread every day. How does this sound?

Knowing all these details allows you to control the bread-making process.

Let's now see the recipe...

Classic country bread

I could have sworn I over proofed this bread because I forgot it twice over the planned schedule. I normally do not leave my breads that much to raise between the adding of the starter and placing it in the fridge. But this one stayed for 6 and a half hours at a temperature of 27ºC. I thought it was a lost cause, but when I removed the Dutch oven lid, I had a such a beautiful surprise. That made me wonder.... was I under proofing my breads before? A question that would haunt me for the next bakes for sure. Then, I need to test this new discovery to find the best timing in correctly proofing my bread. Join me in this journey and you'll find out too...

Borsch sourdough starter

If you are not from the est part of Europe, I am pretty sure you have no idea what borsh is. I know it from Romania where it is very popular between for housewives. My mother used to buy borsh from a neighbor and she was using it to sour the soups. My grandmother was making it herself. When I was a child, lemons were a luxury fruit to destroy it to sour your soup, so everybody was counting on this miraculous yellowish liquid called borsh.

When I moved in another country I found it very difficult to match the taste of my soup with the one I knew from home. Although the quality of the vegetables ripen by the sun in Romania is incomparable to the ones you find here in the supermarket, I was missing the secret ingredient: borsh. There was nowhere to buy this fantastic liquid. 

My mother in law even brought me some starter (not sourdough based but yeast based) from Romania but unfortunately I was not very experienced to know how to keep it. I had then to through it away as it got a strange smell. 

Two years ago I got stubborn and wanted to do my own starter, not in the way is traditionally made in Romania but from sourdough. I had this wonderful bacteria fed for my bread baking and it should have been a way to make borsh from it. The challenge was to find a recipe over the web with sourdough and there were not many listed. Finally I found one, applied it and it worked partially. Why partially? Because although I got a very nice borsh, it was not sour enough. I continued with it and used it for months even without the expected strong sourness. 

But recently, I was stubborn again. It must have been a way to get your borsh from sourdough starter that actually gets really sour. I found more recipes around but many of them had no sense. This bacteria is the key to achieve this sourness. Recipes that calls to pour boiling liquid over the sourdough starter were just crap as the idea is to keep this bacteria alive to do its job, meaning to get your liquid sour. But I found one that looked more interesting, respecting this principle. I adapted it a bit and practice it. In 24 hours I've got the borsh of my dreams!

But before presenting you the recipe, let me tell you that there is more to know about this sour liquid. It is not used just to sour soups, it has much more properties and usages. From childhood, I also remember that people were using it to wake up from dizziness caused by alcohol or to avoid the next day symptoms after a big drinking night :)

This sour liquid is rich in vitamins B, C, D, H, minerals, enzymes, chrome and other amazing elements. It is used in diets before lunches as a purifying agent. A lot of people are drinking it as such because of its probiotic properties to fortify the imune system, to improve the digestive system and so on. 

But look, I am not a doctor to confirm all these and I am sure there are many articles regarding the healthy benefits of the borsh. I am here to tell you about its taste and how to make a good one yourself.

I usually use it for soups and from time to time, to taste it in the morning before breakfast.

Here is my adapted recipe: