Friday, April 17, 2015

CRUSTY SOURDOUGH BREAD, SOURDOUGH BREAD RECIPE

CRUSTY SOURDOUGH BREAD
Sourdough Bread

I have to admit, I LOVE bread! It's a downfall and I can't help myself, and I love a good crusty sourdough bread. I have been making homemade breads for years and have been making dozens of different types of breads, cakes, pancakes and more out of my sourdough starter for several years. Here's my Sourdough Bread Recipe, enjoy!
  •  3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter 
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (approximately)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
This process takes awhile, not so much of YOUR time, but resting time.

Step 1, making the dough: 
 
In the morning or the night before: 
 
If you are using a stand mixer, combine the flour, starter, butter, and 3/4 cups of water in the bowl. Knead the dough using the kneading attachment on the lowest speed and knead for about 3-4 minutes. The dough will look very dry. If the dough is so dry that it won't even form a small ball, then add another 1/4 cup of water and knead another minute or so. Now turn the mixer off for 5 minutes. This will allow the water to fully absorb into the flour.
 
After 5 minutes, turn the mixer back on and add the salt. Knead a few more minutes. The dough should be in a form of a lumpy ball. The dough should just barely stick to your fingers but be mostly dry. If it is too wet, add a tablespoon or two of flour and knead for another minute or two.

After kneading, spray or wipe the inside of a bowl with cooking spray or vegetable oil. Place the dough into the bowl, then flip it over and roll it around to coat the dough ball with the oil. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the dough. This prevents the dough from drying out during rise. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place. I typically put it on my stove top (burners off, of course) and if you have a microwave above your stove top turn the microwave light under the microwave to provide a little warmth. Let is rest for about 4-5 hours or so.

Step 2, forming the loaf:

The dough should be expanded, filling most of the bowl, 2-3 times it's original size, and somewhat wetter then it was first made. Remove the plastic wrap and punch the dough down with a single punch. Turn the dough onto a floured board and sprinkle the top of the dough as well.
Knead the dough gently, using your knuckles or the palm of your hand. The idea is to remove all of the larger air bubbles, while keeping some of the smaller air bubbles intact. Avoid using a rolling pin or flattening the dough. The whole process shouldn't take more that a few minutes. Flip the flat dough over and do the same to the back side. If it is sticking to the surface add a little more flour.

Now form the dough into a ball. To do this, lift the dough from its sides and fold it underneath to form a ball. Stretch the dough slightly across the front, while tucking it underneath. Pinch the underside of the dough ball to seal the seams.

If you have a bread baker, place the dough in the bottom and cover with the lid and place in a warm place again. If you don't have a bread baker, you can put it on a cookie sheet, and cover with a towel. Allow to rise about 3-4 more hours, until it has about doubled in size.

Step 3, baking the bread:

After the loaf has risen, using a razor blade or sharp knife, carefully (you do not want to deflate your bread) make 3 or 4 slashes about 1/4 inches deep across the top of the loaf about an inch apart. Make the same 3 or 4 slashes at right angles, forming several squares on the top of the loaf. If the loaf has dried out slightly on top, the knife may drag against the dough causing it to tear. If this happens, spray the knife with some cooking oil. To increase the steam during baking (steam will help provide the crustiness of the bread), you can spray the inside of the cover a few times with water. Place the cover over the dish and place in the center of the oven. 

Tip: If you do not have a baker, you can spray the top of the bread with water and put a pan of water on the rack below the bread in the oven to help provide steam for crustiness.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put the bread in the oven and turn temperature down to 425 degrees F (ovens drop in temperature 25 degrees every time you open the oven door for just a couple of seconds); bake fore 30 minutes. Now remove the lid, reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until the loaf turns a dark, golden brown.

Move the loaf to a cooling rack and let it cool at least 30 minutes. ENJOY!

Makes 1 loaf


Monday, April 13, 2015

SOURDOUGH STARTER, SOURDOUGH RECIPE

SOURDOUGH STARTER
SOURDOUGH RECIPE
Sourdough Starter
I make various types of sourdough breads, pancakes, waffles, doughnuts, cakes, and more all the time. I've been using the same sourdough starter for several years, and I've heard of some places that have the same starter that has been passed down from generation to general for more than 100 years! It makes delicious breads of all kinds. I have recipes for two different sourdoughs, one is a sweet sourdough starter, and the other a traditional sourdough starter. I'll include both recipes here and when I post recipes I'll let you know which sourdough starter is used in each recipe... either the sweet sourdough starter, or the traditional sourdough starter.


The best thing about sourdough starter is it's very forgivable! It's really a living organism, but if you forget to "feed" it or "tend" it, it is very hardy and you can easily rescue it and "bring it back to life".

At the end of the recipes I'll share some tips on caring for your starter, and rescue remedies.

Feel free to experiment with all kinds of bread recipes with the sourdough starter. It's a big hit!


TRADITIONAL SOURDOUGH STARTER
  • 1 pkg. dry yeast
  • 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a large non-metal bowl or crock and let stand for about 5 minutes. Using a non-metal spoon or whisk stir in flour, sugar and milk and stir or whisk until smooth. Cover with a cheesecloth, towel, or loose lid. Let stand at room temperature for 5 days, stirring 2-3 times a day.

On the 5th day you are ready to use your starter!

Keeping your starter going: After using some starter, add 3/4 cup milk, 3/4 cup flour, and 1 teaspoon sugar to the remaining starter. Whisk and leave at room temperature, covered with cheesecloth or loose lid. Stir once a day. If you don't use any starter after 10 days, add 1 teaspoon sugar to keep it going. Make sure to stir daily. Repeat adding sugar every 10 days if necessary.


SWEET SOURDOUGH STARTER 
  • 1 pkg. dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk
Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a large non-metal bowl or crock and land let stand for about 5 minutes. Using a non-metal spoon or whisk stir in flour, sugar and milk and stir or whisk until smooth. Stir once a day for the next 4 days (this is a 10 day process).

On the 5th day add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk (doesn't have to be warm). Stir until smooth. Stir once a day for the next 4 days.

On day 10 you are ready to use your starter!

Keeping your starter going: After using some starter, add 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup sugar to the remaining starter. Whisk and leave at room temperature, covered with cheesecloth or loose lid. Stir once a day. If you don't use any starter after 10 days, add 1 teaspoon sugar to keep it going. Make sure to stir daily. Repeat adding sugar every 10 days if necessary.


TIPS:

SMELL: Sourdough starter should be yeasty, fermenting, and beer-like. If it smells sharp and hasn’t been fed in the past 4-6 days, feed it and then check the smell in 1-2 days, it should smell better.

COLOR & APPEARANCE: Creamy, off-white, not gray-ish, and consistency of pancake batter, but on warm days can be thicker and more bubbly.

BUBBLES: After a feeding, it should be active and bubbly within 24 hours. On other days it may be flat like pancake batter, but a quick stir should reveal a few bubbles. It’s important to stir on a daily basis, just to make sure all the ingredients have a chance to get metabolized.

WHY NOT METAL BOWLS OR UTENSILS? There is a chemical reaction that happens between the fermenting starter and metal. You’ll know this has happened because your batter will turn color, usually green or sometimes pink, and while some people have said the bread still tastes fine, there is a definite metallic taste to it. Now if your metal utensils and bowls are stainless steel or coated, for example, you’re probably fine (most KitchenAid mixers shouldn’t be a problem). But if they’re scratched up in any way, it can turn and spoil your starter almost instantly.

STORING STARTER: You can store your starter in a glass, ceramic, or plastic mixing bowls, jar, and Ziploc bags, at room temperature. Just make sure there’s enough room for the starter to grow and expand, otherwise you could have a mess on your hands.

REVIVING STARTER: If you forgot to stir or feed your starter for a few days it's usually fine, just give it a stir and it should be fine. If it's been 4-5 days, feed it the flour, sugar and milk and stir daily for the next few days and you'll be fine.

TOO MUCH STARTER, NEED A BREAK? If you have too much starter or need to take a break for a bit you can either give some away, dump some of it, or you can freeze your starter. Put 1-2 cups of starter in a large zip top bag and pop it in the freezer. It won't freeze completely but will become more like a semi-firm slushy. When you want to use it again take it out of the freezer and let it come to room temperature on your counter, feed it, and then you can use it again and keep it going.

This also makes great gifts, give some sourdough starter along with a couple recipes. You can divide your starter in half when ready to use, and have 2 starters going, then divide those in half again and you have several going to give as gifts. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

BROILED GRAPEFRUIT WITH BROWN SUGAR AND CINNAMON

BROILED GRAPEFRUIT WITH BROWN SUGAR AND CINNAMON

Broiled Grapefruit with Brown Sugar & Cinnamon
The first course of our 3-course breakfast at our Bed and Breakfast Inn is a fruit dish, am always on the hunt for ways to prepare and cook fresh fruit, especially in the winter. Being in Colorado we are hard pressed to find good fruit in the winter, and it's nice to have a warm hot dish on a cold snowy morning. 

Generally speaking I am not a grapefruit fan, but grapefruit like this I love! I have also been able to make grapefruit believers out of many of my guests as well when I serve this grapefruit. The key is to use TEXAS RUBY RED grapefruit, not the yellow Florida or California grapefruits. They ruby red grapefruits are much sweeter than the tart yellow ones. It makes all the difference in the world. And it's so easy you make this dish, you can make it from start to finish in less than 10 minutes. 

Here's the recipe, enjoy (even if you're not a grapefruit fan, you WILL enjoy grapefruit prepared like this)!

BROILED GRAPEFRUIT WITH BROWN SUGAR AND CINNAMON
  • 1 Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Slice grapefruit in half and place on aluminum foil lined cookie sheet. Using a grapefruit knife, cut each segment, and around edge, being careful not to cut through the skin.

Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over grapefruit halves. Broil about 4" from heating element for 2-3 minutes, or until topping is hot and bubbly. Place in serving bowls and serve at once.

Serves 2

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Friday, February 6, 2015

MOLTEN CHOCOLATE LAVA CAKES

 MOLTEN CHOCOLATE LAVA CAKES WITH RASPBERRIES AND CREAM
Molten Chocolate Lava Cake
Who doesn't love chocolate? I was never a big fan of chocolate until my husband introduced me to dark chocolate and now I'm hooked. And there's nothing better than a hot gooey rich dark chocolate molten lava cake. When we're having a special occasion such as Valentine's Day or an anniversary I typically make a rich chocolate dessert such as these Molten Chocolate Lava cakes. They can be made in advance and popped into the oven after your main entree. I also serve them at our Colorado Bed and Breakfast Inn for our 3rd course dessert. Enjoy!

  • 1 1/2 tsp. unsalted butter, plus 1/4 lb. (1 stick)
  • 4 tsp. all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tbsp.
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. cold heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. nut-flavored liqueur (i.e. hazelnut)
  • 1/2 pint fresh raspberries
  • 4 sprigs mint
  • Sweetened cocoa or powdered sugar, as garnish

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease and flour 4 (6-ounce) ramekins or baking dishes with the 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter and 1 teaspoon of flour in each, tapping out the excess flour. Set on a baking sheet.

In a double boiler, or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the remaining 1/4 pound of butter with the chocolate, cream, and powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt until thick ribbons form, about 3 minutes. Sift 2 tablespoons flour into the egg mixture and fold together. Fold the chocolate into the egg mixture. Divide among the prepared dishes* and bake until the sides of the cake are set and the tops are puffed but still soft, about 12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the ramekins for 2 minutes, then unmold onto dessert plates.

Meanwhile, in a bowl whip the cream until beginning to form soft peaks. Add the sugar and nut liqueur and beat until stiff peaks start to form. Spoon a dollop of the whipped cream on each unmolded cake, and garnish each plate with raspberries and a sprig of mint. Sprinkle cocoa or powdered sugar over the cakes, and serve.

*To make ahead of time you can refrigerate them at this point. Remove from refrigerator and let come to room temperature before baking.

Serves 4

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

ROMANCE YOUR VALENTINE SPECIAL

ROMANCE YOUR VALENTINE SPECIAL

Roses & Truffles

Stay 2 nights or more in our Pikes Peak Bed and Breakfast Lodge over Valentine's weekend (February 13-15, 2015) and receive complimentary roses and chocolate covered strawberries! You will also get to enjoy our signature 3-course gourmet breakfast in the morning, or if you want to sleep in, you can opt out of breakfast for a discount.

3-course gourmet breakfast
You can also add on one of our full Romance Packages to make it extra special. 

Our Basic Romance Package includes:
  • A full dozen roses
  • An entire plate of your own hand dipped chocolate covered strawberries
  • A bottle of sparkling cider
  • Two of our Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins etched champagne flutes for you to take home with you to remember your special time away.
  • A fruit and cheese platter
 Our Ultimate Romance Package includes:
  • Everything in the Basic Romance Package
  • Two 1-hour massages 
  • A Certificate to have lunch or dinner at the Wines of Colorado
Some of our rooms have a private balcony or an in-room fireplace, and all have a queen bed, and private bathroom. 

Snuggle up in front of the wood burning crackling fire in the great room, or relax in the outdoor hot tub enjoying the mountains by day and stars at night.

Check our availability calendar and make your reservation quickly, we only have 4 rooms to choose from!


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