We’ve got another reason to celebrate in our house – Miss A’s third birthday! Our little baby girl is growing up and way too fast for our liking. Some days it certainly seems like she’s three going on twenty three. Take her birthday meal request for instance. Here’s how the conversation went: “What do you want for your birthday dinner?” Miss A responded without hesitation, “Cookies.”
“Yes, honey, but what do you want to eat before the cookies.”
“Cookies.” (Gotta love her determination.)
“You have to eat dinner before the cookies – your special birthday dinner. You can pick any dinner you want.”
“Um. Something hard. A hard recipe. And balsamic.”
“Balsamic? You want me to make something that’s hard to make and use balsamic?”
And so Miss A’s birthday dinner came to be – a sourdough bread served with cheese, fruit and summer sausage – and of course olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. Miss A couldn’t have been more excited – all of her favorite foods in one meal.
So when Miss A said to pick a hard recipe I instantly thought of a homemade bread. I’ve only ever used the bread machine for fresh loaves and the few times I attempted dinner rolls from scratch have not gone well. I started by ordering a King Arthur sourdough starter. I remembered Sally over at Bewitching Kitchen had mentioned it and she’s my hero when it comes to fresh loaves of bread.
We left the sourdough in the fridge overnight (12 hours). Then it was time to add the remaining flour, sugar and salt. There is no additional yeast added to this recipe (which is why I chose it – one less thing for me to kill).
Now this is the point that I started to panic a bit. It was very difficult to incorporate the flour into the dough without any additional liquids. I thought it was going to be near impossible to form a smooth, soft dough; but after 15 minutes of literally throwing my whole body into the kneading process…voila!
I actually teared up at the results. It’s the little things in life. We then let the dough take a five-hour “nap.” We left it in the kitchen (I consulted Sally on this one – thanks again for your help Sally!) to rise at room temperature. And so far so good.
Any tips on how to do that and actually make them pretty, please let me know. So then we let the dough rest again for another three hours, made cuts in the loaves and baked them for 30 minutes at 425F. It didn’t end up looking perfect – but it sure looks like real bread!
At only three years old, this little one has an unlimited vocabulary and continually amazes us (and scares us) with the way she quickly learns anything new; yet, she still can’t figure out which ones are her thumbs. She has her priorities I guess. LOL.
Miss A was right about one thing though – this bread was thumbs-up! After slicing into it I was so excited to find a bread with the right consistency, texture and taste. We served it warm with the rest of Miss A’s picks and it was a hit.
We all loved the bread and it went really well with the olive oil and balsamic (as well as on its own). Although the bread didn’t look bakery worthy, it sure tasted delicious, so I’m calling this homemade bread attempt a success. It was a proud day for me. But the thing that topped it all was when the birthday girl spontaneously announced, “Mommy, you did it perfectly!” And then she ran over and gave me a hug. Needless to say, I teared up again for the second time that day. Happy birthday Miss A!
To print this recipe: Extra-Tangy Sourdough Bread