It’s Christmas Eve, and that meant some cooking tasks. First cab off the rank was completing the sourdough Sourdough and Conjunctionthat I began yesterday.
After rising overnight at room temperature it looked like this (compare to the pre-rising photo from yesterday):
It rose nicely, more than doubling in size, but spread out and went a bit gooey. The next step was to try to manipulate it into a rough loaf shape on a baking tray. This was tricky because it had become quite sticky, and I needed a bit of flour dusting on my hands, and a butter knife to scrape it all off, but I finally managed to produce this:
I consulted my friend who’d gifted me the starter and he said it looked like it had been a bit overproofed. Which he said would make it sticky and not rise as much during baking, and quite sour, but should still taste good. He suggested letting the final rise happen in the fridge, which I did.
A few hours later I baked it, and after 40 minutes it turned out like this:
The bottom (not shown) was nice and browned, but the top had a pasty look. It was firm, and sounded hollow on tapping, which indicated it was baked properly, so I let it cool. Then came the moment of truth:
It was baked through, not doughy in the middle. Yes, it hadn’t risen much during baking, and so was a bit dense rather than airy. But cutting some slices and having them with a bit of butter…
It was indeed delicious! Nicely sour, and very more-ish. So it turned out edible and delicious, which is all I could ask for in a first attempt. My friend advised me to to try letting it rise for a shorter time next time, and then baking it in a hotter oven to try to brown the top a bit more. I knew sourdough would be a learning experience, but I’m happy to have achieved something worth eating on the first try. Hopefully things will just improve from here.
The next thing I had to do was make some mini-quiches, in preparation for Christmas lunch tomorrow. COVID cases have been apparently under control the past couple of days, and the NSW Government announced a slight easing of restrictions for Christmas Day, to allow people to gather with their families in the lower risk regions of the Northern Beaches (which is where my wife’s family lives). The high risk region is still under a strict lockdown, but what this means is we can travel to my in-laws for Christmas lunch as planned.
After I made the quiches, we did a quick run over in the car to drop things off, since tomorrow we’ll be wrangling an entire leg of ham. We drove over during peak hour, on a work day, on one of the most notoriously busy and congested roads in Sydney… and it was eerily quiet and deserted. Almost nobody is travelling into the Northern Beaches region, which is good to see.
Finally, Christmas Eve is traditionally the day my side of the family gathers together. But today with the various COVID restrictions, that wasn’t possible, so we had a big Zoom meeting instead. We had 8 separate groups, including my aunt in Germany, in on the call, and it was hilarious and fun.
It’s a bit of a weird Christmas Eve – one of very very few I’ve ever spent not together with my extended family. The end of a weird year.
New content today: