Friday, April 25, 2008

So, What Did You Do Today, Dear?


Sometimes our lives get so full that lots of things have to get crunched into a very short period of time. Once a month I have a crunch week. It's the week that I have to coordinate a co-op delivery for a burgeoning membership, attend the homeschooling co-op with its responsibilities, and grocery shop. Three back-to-back days that pull me out of bed as early as 4 am. and no later than 6 am. Groan.

This was crunch week on steroids. And it stretched into two weeks. My parents announced a visit, the first since that brief, abortive fly-by in December when the plague struck our house and they were forced to flee home. The house hadn't been deep cleaned since well before Christmas when we weren't harking to the angels sing. No, we were harking to the hacking of pneumonia. So the turn-the-house-over cleaning took longer than usual. You don't want to know what lurked in dark corners and in hidden places. When you have three short people running around, things can get pretty scary.

And somehow the planets aligned and ordained that our homeschooling group drama production, the Stanford Achievement Tests, and co-op delivery should all coincide in the same week. Did I mention that I offered to proctor the Stanford? So it wasn't just about ferrying Hobbits to go take the test. Nope. I signed on for the full ride. Did I mention that the co-op delivery came on the same day as the test? No stress there. That was the 4 am morning.

Of course, all of the perfect gardening weather happened this week when I was running back and forth between all of this stuff to do. I promised myself that Saturday would be gardening day and I'd take advantage of this wonderful sunshine and warmth. Did I mention that the forecast is now predicting rain for Saturday? All the way until next Thursday. Figures.

This was one of those weeks that I pulled out every gluten free "convenience" food that I've cobbled together. The Hobbits have lived off of chicken fingers, shoestring french fries, cowboy eggs, and buffalo hotdogs. I was even out on the back deck at 6 am, popping sorghum for snacks away from home. Even the bread was relatively easy to squeeze in.

Cold fermenting and slow rising sourdough breads have made juggling everything in our lives with everything free eating so much easier. I've even started pressing the envelope and playing with sprouting grains and grinding them to make flour. Kind of like Ezekiel bread, gluten free style. (And please don't let anyone tell you that Ezekiel bread is gluten free...it isn't!) I've been playing around with making a sprouted sourdough bread and while I've met with a few disappointments, I'm closing in on the quintessential sprouted rice flour sourdough loaf.

Sprouted Rice Sourdough Bread (v.2.1)

2 cups rice or other grain
Appropriate sized sprouter lid or cheesecloth with rubber band
Wide mouth quart jar or larger

Add rice to jar and fill with water. Allow to soak overnight or 8 hours. Cover with sprouter lid or secure cheesecloth over the opening and drain, rinse until water is clear, then drain again. Leave jar inverted at an angle to allow water to completely drain. Rinse and drain 2-3 times a day. I find rice takes longer to sprout than some of the seeds I've sprouted in the past, but it will happen....usually in 4-6 days. It is only necessary to sprout until the tail is about 1/8" inch long or one third of the length of the grain. After the sprout has reached the appropriate length, drain thoroughly and spread out on a baking sheet. Dehydrate at 100* or so degrees for about 12-24 hours or until completely dry. They can then be cooked as whole grains or ground into flour.

Starter:

2 cups sprouted flour
2 cups kefir-fermented apple juice

Mix thoroughly and let stand for 24 hours.

In a bowl, measure out:

1/2 cup tapioca starch flour
1/2 cup potato starch flour
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 teaspoons guar gum

In a mixer, whip up 6 egg whites until frothy.

Into the meringue, pour:

1/3 cup olive oil
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 cups sourdough starter

Mix in dry ingredients. This yields a rather thin batter for a bread. It will be about the consistency of toothpaste, but not spreading out with the ease of pancake batter. Pour into bread pan and return to the refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight. Remove to a warm oven to rise. The dough may have a skin on top of it. I judge that the bread has risen sufficiently when the skin has stretched to cracking around the edges and the dough underneath takes on a more liquid appearance. Bake at 350* for 1.5 hour or until done. Sprouted bread takes more baking than regular gluten free sourdough and is much moister in the final product, so be sure that it is thoroughly baked before removing from the oven. I've even removed it from the pan and returned it to the oven to finish baking the last fifteen minutes. But do so with care. Ask me how I know.

Tomorrow is Saturday. I'm scheduling a nervous breakdown tomorrow. I'll have to get back to you about the time...

1 comment:

MotherLode said...

WOW! Your bread looks wonderful! Who would guess it is so free?