home is where the hearty is

I can never seem to follow a recipe… But here is an alteration on a Zingerman’s recipe I have.

3 cups of 7 grain mix (pick your favorites) soaked in 2 cups of boiling water.  Let cool in bowl on side.

1 cup room temperature water with 10oz of sourdough starter, mix with about 1/4c honey and put aside.

Weigh out 1.4lbs of flour… I used about 8oz AP flour, 8oz while wheat, and split the rest between quinoa and teff.  The original calls for .82lb ap, .36lb ww, .08lb brown rice and .08lb buckwheat.

Ad everything together with 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds (toasted or not) and 4t salt.  Mix until a clump and then knead for 5 minutes.  Fold up and let rest for an hour.

Fold again, rest an hour.  Folks a third time, rest for third hour.  At the end of the third hour, divide and shape the loaves as you’d like.  I went for an oblong loaf.  Sit for another 2-3 hours on cornmeal if you have it.


An hour before baking, set oven to 450.  Right before baking, score loaves on the diagonal (or a cross if round) and slide into oven on pizza stone.  If you can, add a pan with a little boiling water into the oven right before you close it – the stream will help your bread spring!

Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking for color and hollow sound when tapped!


Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy with your favorite oil, jam, or honey!


Makes 2 large or 3/4 med/small loaves.


one more bite

Often I come to the kitchen with the intent to bake for others – bread for dinner, sweets for birthdays… And yet I also find myself more collected, thoughtful, rested after this time apart from letting my tasks and my organizing brain control my day. This therapy of baking, and letting my thoughts summer, mellow, ferment… Gives me more than I initially intend.

And sometimes, even though I bake for others, I get to enjoy the dough along the way!

That said, I ran to my good ole friend Food52.com to stealth a recipe for these chocolate chip beauties.

Now don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t have possibly followed the recipe exactly, it’s just not in my nature. Since the cookies are for a work event, I tried not to implement any healthy substitutions that surprise… I DO live in the Midwest ;)

First, I doubled it. Usually tricky for me – somehow I mix things up. But no, beautiful cookies abounding!

I didn’t have the right amounts of sugar so normal brown sugar came in handy giving me 1.3 c sugar + 1.7 c brown + 1c dark brown. Skipped the molasses because I figured the extra brown would cover that. Used less chocolate chips (maybe 4-5c total in the double batch), and only ate about 2-3 spoonfuls of the batter. Oh, and who needs parchment!

Results: puffy, beautiful cookies!
I can’t wait for my hubby to come home and try one!


young love

This past Thursday evening, I had the delight of experiencing a show by The Appleseed Collective at Ann Arbor’s The Ark.  I can’t say enough about this venue and the performances I’ve seen there… but this is about more than a show, it’s about sauerkraut.

For the release of The Appleseed Collective’s new album, Young Love, their friends at The Brinery created a sauerkraut with apple and fennel flavors.

young loveAll I can say is, I’m in love.

(But I think The Brinery has helped me to fall in love with their whole collection.  My other favorite right now is their Jape Kin Cod!)



Well I guess I gave it away, but here’s the long story.

I created a GF sourdough starter with 1 cup teff flour, 1 cup water, red cabbage leaves, and an apple peel.  I learned that the culture needed for yeast to grow and make risen bread includes similar bacteria to those found on cabbage.  The apple peel is just following directions!

I stirred everything together, adding water and teff at 12 hour intervals for a few days and then removing the peels/leaves after 3 days.  There were bubbles… and teff has a very earthy smell… but it was still a soupy form of a starter.  I’ve played with Tartine’s starters (wetter) and I currently use a less wet starter from my Zingerman’s class, so I believe lots of textures can work.

starterI proceeded to add most of the starter in to an old glass jar that I will continue to refresh, some into an ice cube tray to try freezing for later use, and some into the recipe I was going to create right then!

So first, almost like a poolish bread, I added water and new teff to about 1/4 cup of the starter and let it sit for a few hours to reinvigorate my culture of grain eaters.  Then I added a plethora of different GF flours (following a recipe), some salt, sweetener, oil and mixed.  Shape, coat with flax, score, and bake.  At least that’s what the recipe said.

It was sticky to handle, dense and saggy like a sandcastle blob… I was worried.

making break40 minutes later, cowpie.


Hard, dense, dark… interesting.  The taste was hearty but not something I’d crave.  So, back to the drawing board!  It could have been the starter, or the lack of kneading, or the density of the flours…

I’m not giving up yet!

in the beginning…

Our adventure begins with a girl, a happily fed sourdough starter (compliments of a birthday cooking class from her husband at a famous Ann Arbor deli and bakery), and a friend who can’t eat gluten.  Or corn.  Or dairy.  Or meat.  (That one by choice.)  Said friend is dismayed by the flavor of artificial yeasted GF bread.  The conversation climaxes at the question:

Can the superior taste of sourdough exist without wheat?

Next scene: Ann Arbor’s ‘literate’ new bookstore’s cooking section.  Our main character is browsing through the eye candy here when she stumbles upon a book called “Gluten Free and Vegan Bread”.   Skeptically, she looks inside.

A whole section on Gluten-Free Sourdough?

She reads, and rereads.  Visits again.  Goes home to attempt this hefty-teff-ty starter with its savory smells and dark, formless shape.   An experiment, an odyssey.  And it occurs to her, she may need companions on the journey.  Hence, a blog.