I recently learned there is a new app for moms to meet other moms. Like a “Wink” at me if you think I’m cool and I could be your best friend… or “Swipe to the Left” if you think our kids are not compatible. Profile pictures and all. I couldn’t believe it when I learned of this fascinating experiment. Although I love the dating apps for helping folks find their life partner… I wouldn’t be too eager to jump on board to find my BFF on a Mom App. It is amazing to me how many moms’ numbers I’ve gotten at the park. It’s like getting a number from a guy that you know you’ll never go on a date with… but you feel guilty if you don’t give him your number. So, you exchange phone numbers after chatting in the park for an hour…knowing that you probably will never see them again. (I’m not saying this because I DON’T want to “go out” with that mom.) What I am saying is that it’s hard to do with kids. Unless you live next door to them or see them every day at school, it’s really hard to reach out and say, “Hey, want to go out on a date? A Playdate?” I know all you moms reading this get it. Schedules, routines, shopping days and library days fill up the calendar… and then before you know it’s the weekend.
Since moving to Washington, I’ve had to start over. For the fourth time in my life. I suppose it was easier to do when I was single in these big cities I’ve lived in. Bar jobs, gym days, church, acting classes, etc…, but when you’re new in town as a full-time mom and not necessarily working, it’s really hard to make friends. I’m saying this as an almost 43-year-old extroverted woman, who loves the company of another person. Ask my husband, I could talk for hours about everything and nothing at the same time.
In partnership with another mom friend that I’ve known since 3rd grade, this week’s recipe was created by my dear friend, Abby. Now SHE is someone I could talk to for hours. We share the same deep love for acting…being an artist both on stage, in front of the camera, and in the kitchen. She has mastered this Sourdough Bread recipe. I am so thrilled to share one of her recipes with you this week. This is a pretty deeply involved recipe and she has shared steps, starters, tips and tricks!!! I am so excited that she was willing to share with us for this weeks blog!!! Thank you ABBY!!
PUMPKIN CRANBERRY SOURDOUGH BREAD
By: Abby Gerdts
50 g active sourdough starter 240 g warm water 180 g pumpkin purée 500 grams of bread flour 10 g Salt Mix-ins 120 grams of dried cranberries 25 g fresh orange juice 5 g vanilla 10 g sugar Large pinch of each: ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger Mix together cranberries, juice, vanilla, sugar and spices. Let them sit and marinate while you… Whisk together starter, water, and pumpkin purée. Add flour and salt until flour is all incorporated and hydrated. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30-45 min. Add the hydrated cranberries and all of the juice to the dough mixture. Cover with a damp towel and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size (6-10 hours). Remove dough from your bowl. Follow the rest of the steps for making a loaf from the document “Sourdough Baking Steps”.
Sourdough Baking Steps
1. Make your dough
Basic Sourdough recipe:
50 grams of active sourdough starter
360 grams of warm water
500 grams of bread flour (a high protein brand like King Arthur)
9 grams of salt
Combine your starter and water into a large container and whisk well. It will be bubbly and frothy. Add your flour and salt. Use a sturdy utensil (like a Danish Dough whisk, but you can also easily use a big sturdy fork) to bring your dough together a bit. Finish mixing with your hands until the flour is hydrated. It will be sticky and shaggy. Get as much off your hands as you can. Cover the container with a damp towel and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
2. Stretch and Folds
After the dough has rested, take a handful of dough from the far side of your container, lift it and fold it toward you. Rotate your container 90 degrees. Repeat the same Stretch and Fold Process. Do this four times total and you will have rotated your container a full 360 degrees. Let your dough rest for 20 - 30 minutes. Repeat the entire Stretch and Fold process 2 more times. Be sure to keep your dough covered with a damp towel.
Stretch and Folds are not absolutely necessary, but this process is not difficult and it really improves the quality and the strength of the gluten in your dough.
3. Bulk Rise (First Proof)
Leave your dough, covered with a damp towel, for 6-12 hours or until the dough is roughly doubled in size. This is where a large, clear measuring container comes in handy because it will allow you to see very easily when the dough is ready. If you don’t have a container like that, snap a picture so you can more clearly see when it has roughly doubled. You’re looking for air bubbles on the top of (and throughout) your dough. It will be domed and will wiggle a bit when shaken. If the bread begins to deflate or lose volume, it has been over-proofed.
4. Shaping the Dough
When your dough has been properly proofed, it’s time to shape it. In my experience, this is the most difficult part of the process to learn. It is essential, so don’t skip it! But it is difficult to describe in a document like this. There are countless tutorials on youtube about shaping sourdough loaves. Go take a look and find a method that works for you. The instructions are different depending on what shape of loaf you are making. A good one to follow is the San Diego Artisan Bread School’s How to Shape a Bread into a Boule (Round Ball). Watching this video a couple of times will be far more effective than me trying to describe it here!
Once your loaf is shaped, put it seam side up into a prepared bowl or banneton lined with a towel or liner and dusted with rice flour.
5. Second Proof
If you want to bake your loaf right away, you can proof it on the counter, covered with plastic wrap at room temperature for about an hour. I prefer to do the second proof in the fridge. Cover with plastic wrap or a shower cap which is what I use! You can also insert the whole thing into a clean plastic bag and loosely tie the ends of the bag. Then stick it into the fridge for 6-12 hours. Some people even proof it for longer. The advantage here is that you have a wide window for pulling it out and baking it. I like this because I find the longer proofing in the fridge develops the flavor better and then I can easily time having my fresh loaf out of the oven exactly when I want it fresh and hot!
6. Scoring and Baking
When you’re ready to bake, get a piece of parchment paper cut a little bigger than the size of your loaf. Place the parchment on top of your loaf in the bowl or banneton, then invert your loaf and it should gently release from your liner or towel.
Scoring: All you need to do for your loaf at this point is to score the loaf. At the least, you must make at least one large score that spans most of the length of the loaf. If you don’t do this, the bread will expand and break in all sorts of places. The scoring allows the break to spring up where YOU want it to spring up. You can get very fancy and artistic with this if you want, but you need to make at least one large score on your loaf.
Using a bread lame or a very sharp knife, make a cut down the middle of your loaf. If you are doing any fancier kinds of scoring you will want to evenly dust your loaf with flour first before scoring so you will be able to see the designs.
After your bread is scored, carefully put it into your preheated Dutch oven, cover with the lid and put it into a 500 degree oven for 22-25 minutes. Take the Dutch oven out, uncover, return to the oven and turn the temperature down to 460 degrees. Bake for another 12-15 minutes.
Once fully baked, take the loaf out of the Dutch oven and allow it to cool on a rack for a full hour before cutting into it. It is still baking a bit, so be sure to wait the full hour!
This week’s pairing has been inspired by the one and only Brandi Carlile. This woman is just incredible. Her song Right On Time is not necessarily about friendship, Or about moms meeting other moms in the park, Or about sourdough bread. But the lyrics to Right On Time nestles with me in the spirit of, that friend you meet. That one friend that comes into your life at the right time and says or does what needs to be done in the moments that you need them the most. The timing of relationships are key, and the ones that come and go can be just as important as the ones that stay. I love this song so much and I hope you will too.
To be fully transparent, it’s not easy to be an almost 43-year-old mom in a new city. Building relationships when you have two toddlers with you at all times is not an easy task. But I see the desire in the mothers I’m meeting daily. I see the spark of conversation, the little bit of loneliness and exhaustion, the “I’d love to go on a mom playdate with you sometime,” feeling. Maybe just a conversation in the park is okay for now. Maybe it’s just enough. My friend Abby lives too far for me to meet in the park, but she is someone I’d have playdates and mom dates with any day. Her friendship over the years has come and gone, but we always seem to pick up right where we left off. And I just love that. She has the most powerful of souls and the kindest spirit. I hope you follow her on social media on all her tips and tricks for baking these beautiful sourdough breads and pastries. Follow her on Tik Tok and Instagram!!!! She has classes and workshops and all the things. See the links below!! EEKK! Thanks for reading friends!!
Tik Tok: @algerdts