Last week ended on a high and this new week continued at the same high! There are multiple reasons for that. One of them is that it started snowing last Saturday and today (Monday) it still is snowing. And I just love snow! I love the way the flakes whirl down performing a dreamy dance. I love the way everything gets covered under a white fluffy blanket. I like the light it radiates when the sky turns dark. I like the way it muffles the outdoor sounds. Somehow when the world turns white everything seems so much more quiet and peaceful, don’t you think?
The second reason involves self sufficiency. Those of you who follow me know that I am always in for an experiment and keen on trying out new things. Especially when it involves self-sufficiency. For example sprouting which I started last year. Or growing my own herbs which I have been doing for some years now. Also, I bought myself a DIY mushroom kit the other week (which was a great success) and in spring/summer I try to grow tomatoes, cucumbers and chili-peppers just for the fun of it. I would love to grow more vegetables on a larger scale so that the produce actually will be enough for a family of six. Something I hope will be feasible in the near future.
Another thing on my self sufficiency list is baking my own bread! Not just any bread, but sourdough bread. As you might well know the baking of sourdough bread is a time consuming process. And besides that it’s time-consuming it takes a bit of skill and knowhow. Now I have been exploring and searching the internet for a long time for the best tips on how to go about baking sourdough bread. I even have been talking to my local baker where I buy sourdough loaves. I got him to explain me the differences between regular baking and sourdough baking.
Nevertheless, the seemingly complexity of baking at home was still daunting. I admit that I had already sort of given up hope. Until last week, when by coincidence my eye fell on a post of Zuurbrood. A Dutch company by a young couple who started Zuurbrood* out of love of sourdough bread. They received their “starter” from a friend and their sourdough baking adventure began. They now have a wonderful website (in Dutch) were they explain in a clear and simple manner the process of baking and feeding your ‘starter’. A step by step guidance together with great video’s of how to knead. You can read all about where their flour comes from and the story of how and why the farmer changed to organic farming.
A story which struck a cord with me, especially after seeing the documentary ‘Kiss the ground’** on Netflix (a must see if you ask me!) All in all I became super excited and confident enough to order myself their starterkit, containing everything you need to get started (see picture above).
On their website you will also find some recipes, one of which New York Bagels. I definitely had to try those first thing! So with the step by step instruction card close by, I started with feeding the starter.
Then the following step: mixing and kneading the bagel dough. Followed by a very long wait. I timed it so that I could finish and bake the bagels first thing in the morning. So at sunrise I formed the small rounds, waited another hour and then made the holes. Despite the fact they had some creases which I did not succeed to get rid of (yet) I was pretty pleased with the result so far.
I boiled them for 4 minutes as instructed and then sprinkled them with a variation of seeds. I used za’atar, sesame seeds, hemp seeds and a homemade spicy mixture (mint, caraway, rose petals, chiliflakes and salt).
Finally it was time to bake them! I was so excited that everything worked out as I had planned. Now the boys would wake up to smell of fresh baked bread with the image of a snow covered garden through the windows. It doesn’t get any better now does it?
Such a pity video’s don’t come with smell 😁 because it was divine!
As I expected the boys entered the kitchen following their nose, filled with anticipation of what they were about to eat. Their excitement was quite rewarding!
Now that the bagels have been eaten it is time for the conclusion. All in all I am rather satisfied with how easy it was, how they looked and how they turned out. Perhaps a bit on the ‘heavy’ side; by that I mean that it was a bit of work to chew them. They were probably not as fluffy as they should have been. But for a first time I think one could call it a real succes, proven by the fact that they ate them all.
Next thing I will prepare is a regular sourdough loaf. The dough is rising as we speak and tomorrow morning it will be ready to get baked. I find this all very exciting, it’s another step forward towards a self-sufficient life. Something I never would have imagined a few years ago.
So that’s it, you know why my week ended and started on a high. Since it’s my birthday this Wednesday and the snow will stay at least the entire week, I think I can already state that this week will be on a high untill the end. That’s the best gift one could ask for really.
Have you ever tried sourdough baking at home and what are your experiences? I would love to hear how you did and maybe even share some tips!
*For the Dutch speaking who would like to give sourdough baking a try, head over to Zuurbrood you will not regret it!
**link to Kiss the ground trailer