Sourdough Bread

Friends, I know you were all a little disappointed after Mary Ellen’s last post. I mean, she didn’t even tell you how to make the bread you were toasting before you had to combine different sprinkle colors. This kind of inattention to recipe details is frankly embarrassing, and I don’t mind publicly blasting her for it.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was making sourdough and, not only was I the kind of absolute monster that didn’t share the bread with my adorable new puppy, but I also didn’t share the recipe with any of you. I’m going to rectify that today (sort of) and let you know how you absolutely need to stop what you are doing and spend like 9 hours making sourdough.

I’ve tried my hand at bread making a few times over the years and was always so disappointed with the lightning-fast process. 2 hours from start to finish. I’m making my own bread here, not taking a dump. I’d like to savor the experience, dabble with the dough for a few minutes every three or four hours, really fill up what could otherwise be a productive day. But, I’m a busy woman who spends an entire day making one or two loaves of bread, I don’t have time to wax on about this. I also don’t have time to give you any coherent information about how to get into the fast and loose sourdough lifestyle so, that’s probably disappointing for you.

This is my sourdough starter. I consider it a pet. It’s better behaved than the cats.

A “comprehensive” guide to making sourdough

Step 1: Obtain a sourdough starter or make your own.

Step 2: feed your sourdough starter regularly. I named my sourdough and make sure I interact with it regularly. I’m actually not going to tell your starter how to take care of this microbial pet. Google it or check out an actual resource.

Step 3: make sourdough bread!!!

Ingredients for two loaves, halve the recipe for just one loaf

  • 800 grams flour (I like to use 1/3 or so whole wheat flour)
  • 260 ml water
  • 320 grams sourdough starter
  • 20 grams (about 4 tsp) salt
I only have one proving basket, so my second loaf wasn’t as fancy

Instructions:

  1. Mix ingredients
  2. Knead for, like, ever. Or 10 minutes. Or until the dough is soft and just right. TBH, every time I knead dough I am 100% certain I either over or under kneaded it and I have no idea which one.
  3. Prove for 4 hours
  4. Re-knead and divide in half.
  5. Prove for another 4 hours
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes. Either in a dutch oven or on a baking sheet and throw some water in the oven with it. Seriously, I’m not typing out the details. You’re going to need to look at a much better source to do this correctly
Always serve with butter. Always.

Bread is life

Serafina

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Barbecue Jackfruit Bao

Friends, I’ve been a vegetarian for such a long time at this point that I’ve stopped sharing the exact amount of time because I realized it ages me. So, I’ve been a vegetarian since I was about 10, and I’d rather not say how long that is exactly and force you all to do the math. Suffice it to say, it’s been awhile. It’s been so long that I’ve started to realize there are entire groups of foods that I’ve never really encountered. Since today is the Lunar New Year, I’m going to share a vegetarian version of Chinese Bao buns. I hadn’t even heard of Bao until I saw it on another food blog a few weeks ago, and this gets me to my side-rant.

Hey, Google and Facebook, I’m not fucking pregnant. Just because one of the food bloggers I occasionally follow got knocked up doesn’t mean I’m pregernant. So, feel free to stop showing me ads for maternity clothes, ovulation kits, and baby supplies. I get it, you did the math on how old I am and have unilaterally determined that it’s time for me to get on the baby train. But you’re not a part of that decision, creepy-ass targeted-ad people. My IUD and I are perfectly happy together. Her name is Maude. I love you, Maude.

Anyway, I realize vegan barbecue steamed buns might be sending a mixed message about odd cravings after that little rant, but they sounded genuinely intriguing. And it’s the Lunar New Year, so here we are. If you’re worried that something about bao will get you pregante, I recommend oral ingestion only, and maybe go get an IUD just in case?


If you go with premade jackfruit, make sure it looks like it was made by a douchebag.

Vegan Barbecue Bao (with Jackfruit)

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp oil

For the jackfruit filling

  • Either get premade BBQ jackfruit like I did OR
  • Drain one can of jackfruit and cook with barbecue sauce. Use the jackfruit in brine, not the sweet kind.

Instructions:

  1. Mix all of the dough ingredients together and knead for about 5 minutes until it’s relatively smooth
  2. Let rise for 30 minutes, or longer if, for example, your yeast has been sitting in the fridge for like two years. The dough should double in size
  3. Once your dough has risen, knead it again briefly and then cut it into about 8 pieces. Roll into 3-4 inch rounds. Place a few teaspoons of pulled apart BBQ jackfruit in each of the dough section things. Then crimp them together in an attractive manner (maybe, like, watch a youtube or something to make yours actually attractive)
  4. Steam for 15 minutes. I used a steam basket because I’m not going out to buy a bamboo steamer. My bao stuck to the bottom a little, but it was fine.

Turns out I wasn’t a huge fan of bao. But I still ate it, I mean, it’s not like it was cheesecake.

Serafina

A lovely smoothie

Disclaimer: This smoothie will turn out ugly, as pictured.

Oh hey there, eggplanters. I’m sure some of you were wondering if I’d return after Mary Ellen’s blasphemous post about the health benefits of cheesecake. Well, I’m still here and it will take more than a dairy-infused feud to stop me.

I’ve been thinking about our time here together, and I feel like I have a moral obligation to use my significant clout for the greater good. I think everyone can see where I’m going here. This is going to be an all-out rant about group texts. You see, awhile back I was added (against my will) to a group text involving my darling boyfriend’s entire family. For years, he has complained about my family, we see them all the time, and there are just a lot of us Bearfinas. And while my family may outnumber his 10:1, at least my people had the decency to keep him out of any group texts. Now, it’s well documented that I am an exceedingly tolerant person, however, today was the final straw. Somehow a text chain about current events led to a series of offensive chicken memes and I could no longer contain my rage. After a brief 20 text rant/dissertation about chicken rights, as well as a few dozen thoughtful PETA re-tweets, I regained control of my life and decided to lead by example instead of shouting via group text.  

So here I am, Fully enlightened. Drinking a smoothie that was originally supposed to be green but turned out kinda brown because I added strawberries.

Vegan Green Smoothie, for health and enlightenment

Makes two smoothies, so you can share your enlightenment with your future self:

Ingredients

  • 1 apple
  • ½ orange
  • Small handful of mixed frozen berries
  • Large handful of spinach
  • Some almond milk

Instructions

  1. Put all the fruit at the bottom, followed by the spinach, followed by the almond milk
  2. If you are saving one of the smoothies for later, wait until you’re actually going to make the smoothie to add the almond milk
  3. Blend
  4. Take a selfie while you’re drinking your smoothie, show off that radiant glow and deep understanding of the universe

For a long time I was hiding in anonymity, concerned about what my family, boyfriend’s family, and colleagues would think of my flawless recipes and exceptional prose. But no more! I’m here! I’m going to soar through the skies like a chicken. And feast on vegan greenish smoothies.

Serafina

Healthy snacking

When life gets stressful, it’s important to manage your health and nutrition. I recently started working from home more often. Not actually working from home, per se, but I’m home more often so I can focus on my rigorous studies, training to be the next Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.  When you don’t have coworkers around you and small, measurable workplace goals, it’s harder to keep yourself motivated and on task.

I’ve found that a well-timed, healthful snack is extremely important in my home productivity. It’s essential to ensure your snacks have whole grains and protein, which is why I swapped out half of the flour for whole wheat and kept the eggs in this recipe for cookie dough.

I like to have my first snack of the morning with coffee, after I’ve watched a few episodes of Dr. Quinn, taking detailed notes.

Healthy morning
You can see that there is a box of deck screws behind the eggs. That’s because I have other hobbies that I may or may not choose to share with you. How about you get off my back about it?

By mid-afternoon, I find that my energy levels are subsiding, so I make sure to have some healthful green tea (full of antioxidants and just a little jolt of caffeine), along with some sensible whole grains and protein

healthy afternoon snack
I just couldn’t resist the photogenic nibble while my tea was brewing!

Now, by the time evening rolls around, I start to really drag. I’m going to be honest, every now and then I get an intense sugar craving, but sugar is so bad for you! So, I usually drink some sparkling water with a nice snack, chock full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats!

healthy evening snack
I make my own sparking water with reusable CO2 containers, it’s much healthier for the environment and me!

Happy, healthy snacking, everyone!

Serafina