The Tree, Edible Art

I looked at the sourdough onion bread. (See recipe in my last post: http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/05/25/sourdough-onion-bread-machine-recipe). It looked back at me. It had fallen on it’s head when I was trying to take it out of the pan. It wasn’t badly damaged (and the flavor wasn’t affected)… just a little crinkly. What should I do?

It was time for the “food artist” to appear. Ta da! To the rescue! 🙂

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Two of my passions in life right now are baking home-made bread, and being an artist with different kinds of media. I first learned about “bread painting” a couple of months ago here: http://cheftessbakeresse.blogspot.com/p/decorative-and-painted-bread-craft.html

I took out the (edible) paints and started figuring out what to paint. I really looked at the bread and the shape of the crinkles and the folds. At first I was going to do some vines, leaves, and/or flowers… but then a tree started showing itself in the curves and crinkles! I began to paint and got more excited as I went along. I love texture and layers, and the bread texture brought out more of the trunk bark, branches and the leaves.

The crinkly bread.

The slight disaster turned into an edible work of art. I was able to give this bread to friends who had been away for several months as a welcome home gift. All of us were happy with the result! What do you think of it?

“Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.”  – Nikolai Berdyaev

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The Life of a Sourdough Starter

I was afraid I might have to call this the death of a sourdough starter. I have had a very happy sourdough starter for many months, all alive and bubbly. Recently though I was busy, not paying much attention, when I discovered I had dumped vanilla flavored soy milk into my sourdough starter. It was supposed to go into the bowl next to the starter. It was too late to get the soy milk out and there was nothing I could do about it, so I decided to just go ahead and “feed” the starter with flour. (You feed sourdough starter by adding an equal amount of flour and water, then stirring it).

Normally, sourdough starter just has flour, water and yeast in it. Click here for a primer on sourdough, full of great information! http://www.kingarthurflour.com/tips/sourdough-primer.html.  See starter recipe here. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/start-your-own-sourdough-starter-recipe#fragement-2.

So yesterday, I stirred it all up and then added more flour and water, stirred it again and waited to see what would happen. Within a few hours, as you can see, the starter got happy and bubbly again! I made a wonderful sourdough bread from it. I’ll share the recipe tomorrow. Apparently the starter didn’t mind the soy milk. Maybe it liked the soy or the vanilla flavoring? 🙂

It’s a little crinkly on the top because it landed on it’s head when I took it out…

Lesson learned: it’s a slight bit sweeter at least for now, but soy milk doesn’t kill the starter!