Monday, February 15, 2010


I have used many sourdough starters in the past. I had one terrific starter that remains in my freezer but I am hesitant to defrost it. I have decided to start a few others to decide what works best in my area, the Midwest.

I made rye bread yesterday but it does not have enough of a sourdough taste. The bread is otherwise good and the slices came out heart-shaped, appropriate for Valentine's day.

Today I started making a new starter using only unbleached flour and water to try to "catch" potentially useful and tasteful organisms for my starter. I have read that it might be better to start with whole wheat flour as it contains potentially more organisms. but I started with unbleached flour.

In the past I have made starters using potato flakes, yeast, and various types
of flours.

Today's attempt is my first starting with only unbleached flour and water. I placed the ingredients in a wide-mouth glass jar and hope to see some interesting bubbles in my mixture soon. I have wanted to try this simple method for sometime.

The air in our area of the country does not have the same mixture of micro-organisms one finds in San Francisco, however, it will be interesting for me to find out our potential using the simplest method I know of to create a starter.

I will watch my sourdough starter most carefully for any unwanted colors or growths.

My goal is a perfect culture of micro-organisms in a symbiotic relationship.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Muffin Mixes and Others

My nephew has 30 food allergies. My sister discovered that she can use certain muffin mixes by adding water and oil to the mix, instead of the required egg and/or milk, and the muffins come out wonderful.

My nephew is allergic to soy, rice, almond milk, cow's milk, eggs, nuts, etc.

My husband is allergic to dairy products. He is not allergic to nuts or soy. Almond or rice milk works fine added to store bought baking mix products. To date I have tried brownies, blueberry muffins, and layer cakes. I also substitute almond milk for some of the oil required in the recipe per his diet. If the brownie recipe is too sweet, such as some of the fat-free mixes, I add 1/2 cup flour and a bit more liquid for a less sweet baked brownie.

I wonder how pumpkin pie will turn out using almond milk instead of the milk suggested on the canned pumpkin? Check back to find out!

Spicing Up Hot Drinks

The snow makes me want a hot drink.

A dash of cayenne pepper sprinkled into my hot cocoa gives it a wonderful punch. If you try it be very, very careful not to overdue and make sure you are not allergic to the pepper.

I do not put cayenne pepper in my Mom's cocoa bur top it with whipped cream and sometimes a bit of cinnamon.

For coffee, I add cinnamon to the grounds before brewing. It seems to give the coffee a smooth flavor.

Does anyone have any suggestions for variation on winter comfort drinks?