To match Blanc-d'-Noir or Pinot Noir...

Rustic Sourdough
A 1 inch tall, can't-buy-it-in-the-store, power-house of a loaf

-  I n g r e d i e n t s  -

Sourdough Starter - one and a half cups
Non-Fat Milk - one cup at room temp
Water - one cup at room temp
Brown Sugar - three level Tbls.
Whole Wheat Flour - two cups
White Corn Meal - two Tbls.
White unbleached Flour - two cups
Coarse Sea Salt - one Tbls.
Non-stick Spray

-  T o o l s  -

A large mixing bowl about 14 to 16 inches in diameter
Measuring cup and Tablespoon
Rubber scrapper with a stout handle
Clean kitchen towel
Large non-stick frying pan 12 inches in diameter with straight sides and lid
Stove top and an oven with a broiler
Spray bottle that is only used to spray water

-  T h e   B i g   P i c t u r e  -

This was our first adventure into sourdough.  So this recipe has a
curious way of doing things.  It is also the most complicated of our recipes.
However, now with about a half a dozen recipes created,
this method and result is still a favorite of the Rector-residence and a keeper.
It is a knock-out when served with avocado (fork smashed with no salt) and
thin slices of very aged Gouda cheese.  Match it with Blanc-d'-Noir sparkling or
Pinot Noir as a stand up starter to a not-too-fancy multi-course meal.
I apologize if you don't have the specific pan that this method requires.
If you adapt it, try to make it round and not taller than an inch when finished.
In the pan suggested, it is a powerhouse of a loaf.  When cut across the diameter,
and then into thin slices, it is a fun form of bread-sticks and
can dramatically decorate many other dishes.

-  T h e   I n c r e a s e  -

For the timing to come out nicely, you can do this during the dinner preparations.
Put the approximate 1 1/2 cups or less of starter into a very large mixing bowl and add the
1 cup of water, cup of non-fat milk, 1 heaping Tbls. of brown sugar,
and mix just until combined with a rubber scrapper.
Then add the 2 Tbls. of white corn meal, 2 cups of  whole wheat flour, and mix some more.
Scrape down the sides of the pan and cover with the clean kitchen towel.
Set aside at room temperature until dinner is over.

-  T  h  e     S e c o n d   I n c r e a s e   &   O v e r n i g h t   R i s e  -

Hopefully the glow of really good wine is on, which makes it easy to put a bit of
soul, thought, hope, and prayer into the next step.
In the same large mixing bowl, mix in 2 cups of white flour.
Mix/semi-knead with the rubber scrapper with the stout handle.
This is a pretty moist dough, so it's too messy to use your hands.
You don't really get-down on the kneading with this one,
which is why the rubber scrapper works.
Once it is mixed, put in the 1 Tablespoon of coarse sea salt.
Add it slowly, alternating with the mixing.  Don't mix very much
because the idea is to leave the salt as localized flavor sensations.
Spray the frying pan with a light coating of oil and turn out the dough into it.
Coax it to the edges of the pan with the water-moistened rubber scrapper
and put it in a place that is at cool room temperature for overnight.
Now off to bed with you.

-  O n t o   t h e   F l a m e   W i t h   Y o u  -

In the morning, put the frying pan on the largest in diameter burner you have,
and set it at the lowest temperature it will go.  Put on the lid.  It may be the case that your
burner cannot adjust low enough, so cut down on this phase of the 'baking'.
After about a half an hour, take off the lid and see how it's doing.  It's OK if some of the
condensation on the lid drips back into the pan.  At this point it should have some signs of
cooking progress.  Let it cook for about ten minutes more or so, assuming that you have
very low heat.  When it looks like the top crust is starting to dry out a bit and
it develops a little skin, start to pre-heat the oven to 400 F.

-  T h e   C u r i o u s   C o o k i n g   a n d   C o o l i n g  -

With the rack set at the next to the lowest position, bake it at 400 F for about 15 minutes
with the heat coming from below and the lid off.
Now ideally you have a broiler where you can set the temperature,
rather than just turn it on or off, in which case, leave it set at 400 F
for the second 15 minutes of baking.
Be really careful of the handle on the frying pan.
Usually they are cool, but in this case, it is hotter-than-hell.
You want to brown the top of the loaf with the heat coming from above,
but don't let it darken very much past golden brown.  Now, how long to cook it?
Until it does give that reassuring hollow thump,
and it has a very nice  brown color to it.
You'll just have to fiddle with the heat coming from above or below until you get it right
in your particular oven.  With ours, the entire oven time is about 25 to 30 minutes.
Get your spray bottle ready with fresh unpolluted water in it.  If it starts to darken too fast,
spray the top immediately.  At that
'just right moment', take the bread out of the oven and
mist/spray it with water and put on the lid.  This move softens the crust and stops the
cooking of the crust but not the bread.  You can spray the handle also to cool it down.
Mist (not spray) the crust again in a few minutes and put on the lid.
In another few minutes mist it once more, and probably for the last time.
Now get ready to be very patient.

-  O n   t o   t h e   B o a r d   a n d   t o   t h e   T a b l e  -

Turn the bread out onto a cooling rack with the dark side up and cover with
the clean towel.  Let it cool undisturbed for an unbearably long time, like at least two hours.
This cooling is yet another grail point for sourdough.  After three or four hours put
the bread into large zip-lock bag, seal it closed, and let it continue to cool.
Once it is completely cooled, like now it's dinner time, slice the bread in half.
Then start slicing very long and thin slices the length of the loaf.  Slice only what you need.
You will end up with something that resembles a bread stick, they are very fun and can be
used to visually enhance any arrangement, ahh,
and the taste....  ooh my!

As mentioned, this bread and glasses of Pinot Noir makes for a very cool, but somewhat
off-beat standing appetizer while everyone congregates in the kitchen.
Resist putting butter on it to avoid gilding-the-lily.
This bread, cut as suggested above, also completes the picture and menu with
any stew that goes with Pinot.  Whatever the pleasure...

This 'recipe' is  yours, congratulations!
Now you are breaking bread
with the upper crust.

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