My Latest Obsession

I’m baking bread. But I’m not using regular old yeast — instead, I followed Audrey’s lead and now have my own sourdough starter.

(How’s that whole ‘say no to more’ thing going again, you might ask? Just you wait and see…!)

It took me a bit – I didn’t realize that it might take a few days to get the starter going, plus when they say ‘foamy’, they mean an inch or so of foam. But now that I’ve got it going, I’m going through tons and tons of flour, and making lots of bread. Challah. Cinnamon-cranberry swirl bread. Oatmeal bread. Beer-cheese bread.

You can use the starter for other baked goods, of course – I’ve used it to make chocolate-chip pancakes (my daughter’s favorite) on the weekend. Or applesauce waffles for a friend.

I had tried making pizza as well, but failed miserably the first few times — didn’t let it rise long enough, didn’t cook it long enough, or at a high enough temperature. The kids were less than thrilled: “Mom, why can’t you just order pizza?”

But tonight, I made the best homemade pizza ever (with an assist from my new perforated pizza pan.) Here’s how I did it:

1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup water (I cheated this time & added 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast – see below for the reason)
squeeze or two of honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
more flour for final kneading/shaping

Mix 1 cup of the starter, 1 cup of the flour, and 1/3 cup of the water together in large bowl. Stir vigorously. Loosely cover & put into an oven you’ve warmed briefly (along with a pan of water for humidity.) Let sit overnight.

In the morning, add the rest of the flour, cornmeal, honey, and olive oil. Stir vigorously (I’ve heard this referred to as ‘spoon kneading’) Cover and put back into the oven that you’ve re-warmed.

When you get home from work, remove the dough & shape it to fit your pizza pan. Let it sit for a final rise while you preheat your oven to 450. Brush with olive oil and bake for 7-10 minutes without any toppings, then add your toppings & bake for another 15 -20 minutes (or until done to your liking.)

Why’d I add the yeast this time? Normally, I’d have made the recipe as described above, starting the sponge last night. But I was home sick and didn’t get the ‘hey, why not try making pizza with the new pan’ bug until 9:30 this morning – so I added the yeast with the first rise, then stirred it back down & added the rest of the stuff halfway through the day.

How good was it? So good — and so easy, with just a little forethought — that I’m never ordering delivery pizza or buying takeout pizza again.

3 Comments

  1. When I had a bread machine I made a lot (A LOT) of sourdough bread, and it was a winner every time. Once I lost my starter and thought I was going to hell or something. But, lo and behold, it ain’t that hard to start newly. Sure wish I had that machine now….it was always yummmy.

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