I mean foodwise, but it's also pretty hot and muggy weather....especially in the kitchen with the oven on!
A week ago I decided to have another go at a sourdough starter. I've done it a few times in the past, sometimes successfully, sometimes not....I've found that the starter doesn't do nearly so well in the winter, obviously doesn't like colder temperatures. Well, this past week it's bubbled along really nicely and smelled delicious - beery, yeasty and sweet. You can (hopefully!) see the bubbles in the pic below.....as always, the pics are taken on my phone so aren't of the best quality.
I started off the starter last Monday with wholemeal rye flour as I've found that to begin activating very well, and 1/4 tsp yeast....a belt and braces approach, just to be sure it would get going quickly.....it did. I used rye flour on the 2nd day also, but strong white on subsequent days.
This morning I tipped 3/4 of the dough out onto the well-floured worktop.....it was very loose, spreading like some kind of alien monster in those old sci-fi movies, creeping all over the worktop. I used my 2 dough scrapers to lift and fold the edges into the middle, adding more strong white flour as I went along. When the flour was all incorporated and the dough firmer and no longer wetly sticky, I used my hands to shape it into a neat round, picked it up and quickly plopped it onto baking paper, cutting a big cross into it.
I'd bought a deep round Pyrex stoneware casserole dish with glass lid yesterday, specifically for baking bread in....I have found that if I just bake the loaves on a baking sheet, they expand outwards instead of upwards, creating a loaf that's too shallow. Whilst the shaped dough was resting/proving, I pre-heated the oven to 220 deg (it's a fan oven) and put the dish & lid in to thoroughly heat up. 30 mins later I took the dish out and lowered the dough into it, still on the baking paper.
Into the hot oven for 30 mins, then I took the lid off the dish and carried on baking the loaf for another 10 mins to develop the crust. It's come out looking very good, nicely risen and with a lovely thick crust.
Whilst the oven was on I also made a puff pastry tart......sheet of puff pastry topped with bacon, sliced red onions softened in a little oil in the microwave, halved cherry tomatoes and torn goats cheese. We're off out to the beach tomorrow, Porlock Weir, and will take some with us for a picnic lunch.