A Holiday everyday for the next year!
The last two years have been pretty rough. Covid, war, isolation...I have a new goal to brighten up every day for the next year. Wanna hear about it?
Have you ever noticed how many weird, fun, meaningful and unusual holidays there are? Well, I didn't either until I started making macarons. And now you're saying what's the connection? Macarons and holidays? Over our fun 'stay at home time' during Covid, I became obsessed with making macarons. Which in turn, made me obsessed with macarons in general and I started following lots of Instagram macaron posts, many of which use decorated macarons to celebrate holidays. What fun!
So, in researching these typical, unusual and sometimes obscure holidays, I actually felt a connection with a lot of them. I mean, who wouldn't be excited about celebrating National Banana Split Day? (August 25th, by the way). So, my goal for the next year is to share some of these holidays and observances with you. It just makes life more fun and can't we all use that right now?! Let's have a holiday EVERYDAY!
Starting today! April 1st in not only April Fool's Day, but it's also National Sourdough Day! For the last 5 months, I have been in charge of keeping my mother's sourdough starter alive. It's a lot of pressure, people - that sucker is over 120 years old! I cannot let it die! So, to keep sourdough 'alive', you have to feed it every so often. Before you feed it, you have to discard some of the current sourdough starter to make room for more water and flour (the feed). I felt really bad and wasteful dumping perfectly usable sourdough started down the drain. So, a sourdough baker I have become.
Sourdough is pretty amazing stuff. Sourdough is the oldest form of leavened bread. It adds great flavor to your bread and has health benefits. Sourdough bread acts as a prebiotic, which means that the fiber in the bread helps feed the “good” bacteria in your gut. And the aroma of baking sourdough wafting though you home is heavenly - it has to have some kind of de-stressing effects. So, let's bake sourdough!
To celebrate National Sourdough Day, here is my Rustic Sourdough Bread recipe.
Rustic Sourdough Bread
1/2 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 cups unbleached AP flour, plus additional for kneading and dusting
1/2 Teaspoon dried rosemary (optional)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (optional)
Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar, mix and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Combine all of ingredients in large mixing bowl, mixing and kneading to form a smooth dough (I use my handy dandy KitchenAid, letting it mix and knead for 5-7 min). This is a stickier batter.
Allow the dough to rise, in a lightly greased, covered bowl, until it's doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
Divide the dough in half. Pre-shape each piece of dough by pulling the edges into the center, turning it over so the seam is on the bottom, and rolling under your cupped hands to form a ball. Let the dough rest, covered, for 15 minutes.
To make fat oval loaves, elongate each ball of dough you've pre-shaped by gently rolling it back and forth on an unfloured work surface several times. For longer loaves, continue rolling until they are the length you desire. Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Spray the loaves with lukewarm water and dust with flour.
Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each. Use a very sharp knife.
Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.
Best served warm with a big slab of salted butter!
Do you need sourdough starter? Check out https://auntphilstrunk.com/product/sourdough-cookery/ cookbook, which includes dehydrated sourdough starter from 1896!
Original recipe for Rustic Sourdough Bread from https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/rustic-sourdough-bread-recipe