Friday, April 24, 2009

Cooking flurry and multi-grain epiphany

It is a gloriously beautiful afternoon up here in the Great Northwest. A little bit cool but bright and sunny. My tulips are blooming up a storm – when you pack them close together in a pot they make a dense flash of color.

With mom in the hospital I haven’t been doing as much cooking as usual, at least until this afternoon. I was finally able to take my painkillers after spending time at the hospital and at physical therapy, so felt like I could tackle a couple of things. (I suppose I also felt more like cooking since mom is doing better.)

Last night I took my bread starter out of the fridge so it was ready to be used this afternoon. I mixed up the sponge for some multi-grain bread, and that is where I had my epiphany. I reasoned that since the sponge sits and rests and allows the white flour to absorb plenty of moisture, and I always hydrate my cut or rolled oats before adding them to the mix, that perhaps I would get an even better result if I put all the coarser grain ingredients into the sponge instead of later in the mixing stage and allow them to get a better chance at full hydration. So that is what I have done – added the whole wheat component (instead of the white flour component) as well as the flax and dark rye. And I put in some of the molasses so that the grain can absorb a little of that, too. The rolled oats I hydrated separately and then added them to the sponge. We shall see how that all turns out.

(And a side note: when I fed the starter and set it aside to grow a bit, I must have been too generous. It popped the top and overflowed onto the counter. The starter that ate Seattle!)

I’m definitely on a molasses kick right now. I had pulled down the bottle the other day to add some to my morning oatmeal and noticed a gingerbread cookie recipe on the back. I love soft and chewy molasses cookies and this looks like it might have that potential. I shall start with their recipe (done, and in the fridge to firm up before cutting) and see how I need to tweak it to get what I want. I plan to top the cookies with some coarse raw sugar. They will be a nice snack for watching baseball tonight.

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