Take a recent conversation between me and The Brother:
The Brother: “Hey, Genny, remember back in 2004 when you and The Ex-Boyfriend made me a fake resume?”
Me: “No, I don’t remember, but…that sounds kind of awesome. What was it like?”
The Brother: “Well, you included a section with my famous quotes…things like ‘And now starring TV’s Doogie Houser, Neil Patrick Harris, as George W. Bush!’ or, ‘Hey, this is a lot like the Rodney King beating, isn’t it?’”
Me: “Wow…so this was nothing like a real resume at all.”
The Brother: “Well, there was a section on my past jobs, but it included stuff like ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog,’ ‘Drugged up Mall Santa,’ and ‘Selling Ben-Gay on the streets.’”
So I guess if you were coming to this blog for serious resume advice, this would be your official cue to get disgusted and leave.
Here’s an easy-peasy-wheezy-squeezy-fo’sheezy no-knead sourdough recipe for misfits who are just starting to experiment with their brand-spanking-new sourdough starters. And once you’ve tried this, there’s no reason not to experiment.
In fact, experimenting with bread is a lot like experimenting with sex. I like to throw in nuts and seeds, occasionally add a little honey or an egg, play around with herbs, and even mix in other grains, like oats, brown rice, and quinoa.
Also, like sex, my favorite kind of bread is 100% wheat sourdough with rye chops.
In a way that is also similar to sex, you can brush bread with melted butter or egg yolks, sprinkle it with coarse salt, carve cool designs in the top, or even throw in some vegetables, meats, fruits, or cheeses.
OKAY, FINE, SO EXPERIMENTING WITH BREAD IS NOTHING LIKE EXPERIMENTING WITH SEX.
But either way, you should, like, bake this bread.
You can do this, misfits. I BELIEVE in you! You’re going to be so good at it once you try it for yourself! Also, don’t let anyone pressure you to experiment with bread in ways that make you uncomfortable!
Yay, I made the metaphor work! I WIN!!!!
In other news…bread.
Simple No-Knead Sourdough Loaf
1 cup sourdough starter (don’t bother proofing it first)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
4 cups flour (I used 1 1/2 cups whole wheat, 2 1/2 cups white)
optional: 3 Tablespoons wheat germ (I think this adds depth and rusticity and makes a more old-fashioned tasting loaf, but you can leave it out without a problem)
Mix the sourdough starter with water, then beat in half the flour.
Now add the rest of the flour with the salt and wheat germ.
The dough should hold together in a lump, but be looser than the bread doughs you’re used to. It needs to be loose enough that you can lump it up and put it in the bowl and it will gradually lose its shape to conform to the sides of the bowl.
Now cover your dough and put it in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, or up to 4 or 5 days. The dough will take on a more sour flavor as it ages, and you’ll come to learn how long it takes to get it right where you want it. During the aging process, your bread will also develop its gluten structure and ferment away the grains’ outer coating, rendering your bread more nutritious and easier to digest.
When you’re ready for bread, put a pizza stone on the oven’s center rack, and a small-ish, heat-proof dish or bowl on a lower rack. Pizza stones yield a crisper crust and heat food more evenly–The Boy and I leave ours in the oven all the time. If you don’t have a pizza stone, use an overturned cookie sheet. The small dish or bowl will be used to hold water and generate steam, which makes for a chewier crust. Now preheat the oven to 375.
Meanwhile, liberally sprinkle your work surface with flour. Plop the dough out onto it, sprinkle a little more flour on top, and gently start to shape the dough by folding the outside edges over and under the bread, forming a tight-ish ball. You can also divide the dough into smaller pieces and make small balls for individual rolls.
When the bread is shaped the way you like it, liberally sprinkle a wooden cutting board or pizza peel with cornmeal. Put the loaf on top, and set a timer for 40 minutes.
When 40 minutes have elapsed, it’s time to bake. Right before putting the loaf in the oven, pour a cupful of water into the dish that’s waiting in the oven and quickly shut the door. Lightly sprinkle the top of your loaf with flour and use a sharp knife to slash a few vent holes in the top.
Then quickly open the oven door, use a swift, jerking motion to slide the loaf onto the center of the pizza stone, then quickly shut the door and walk away. Resist the urge to peek too soon, because you want to keep the steam trapped in there.
Errant cornmeal will make it smell like your house is burning down. Ignore this. Bake until the loaf is a deep golden color, about 40 minutes, but don’t be afraid to let it take on some intense color. Carefully remove it to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing it open (do this too soon and the loaf may not finish cooking on the inside).
© 2011, Genevieve P. Charet. All rights reserved.