When Life Gives You Lemons…

I made a comment a couple posts ago about how people have been making bread since the beginning of time, so it can’t possibly be too difficult.

Well, as it turns out…two weeks into my research on sourdough I haven’t produced the first crumb of anything you could call “bread”.I have nearly as many different starters as Heinz has sauces (kidding), and I can’t even make a cupcake.

Tell you what I did make though…

The current recession that has caused me (and a bunch of other folks) to be out of work going on three months has brought up a renewed interest in beans. Tonight I made a bangin’ pot of chili with a leftover Latin-flavored pork tenderloin, some black beans, a can of Ro*tel spicy diced tomatoes, and a couple of chipotles. And, I quickly threw together what I shall call Sourdough Corn Blini.

They’re too bread-like to be a johnnycake, too light to be called bread, too thin to be a muffin, too thick to be a pancake, and they are partially yeast-raised. Thus, blini.

Here’s the recipe:

1/2 cup Sourdough Starter
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Cornmeal (we use white cornmeal in my part of the south)
1/2 cup Milk
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Sugar
1-1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Mix all ingredients together to make a smooth, thick batter. Let set for 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

Heat up a griddle or skillet to medium heat, coat with melted butter, and spoon batter onto the surface like you’re making pancakes. You can make them any size you’d like. Mine were nearly 3 inches across when they were done.

They should cook fairly slow, as they will rise to about 3/8″ thick, and you want to be sure they cook through. Mine took about 3 minutes per side. If they’re cooking too fast then turn the heat down a bit. They’re best served right away!

These blini were just awesome with the chili I made. They were fairly light and fluffy with a slight sweetness and just enough cornmeal profile to make them taste “different”, but not enough to make them taste like cornbread (which I don’t care for). I had the last couple with some butter and some blueberry preserves that a friend had given me.

I thought that these things were so quick, easy, tasty, and neutral that they would be good with jalapenos and cheese folded in, maybe some chopped bacon and shallots, or even on the sweet side with some blueberries folded in. I might prefer dried blueberries to fresh, or even another dried fruit like cranberries or cherries!

Back to sourdough… I made this great video of the breadmaking process to share with you, but when the dough hadn’t risen but about 10% in 16 hours I decided to pitch it and not waste your time with the video.

What I have done is gone to the Sullivan Street Bakery site and put together Jim’s recipe for No-Knead Bread. This is what I was shooting for to begin with, but was using a modification to allow for sourdough starter instead of yeast.

Go to his site and check out the recipe. If I end up with bread tomorrow I’ll let you know.

Damn, I’m starting to feel like I’ve spent 25 years of my life to get to the point where I know nothing. Maybe that’s not a bad thing.

Cheers!