What could be better than to have the aroma of fresh bread baking in your home. Now that we are quarantined it seems like that is all we do. Cook and eat, cook and eat…… I am sure I have put on extra pounds due to all the baking going on in this house. I bake a little but it is the men in our house who are the real bakers. My husband Carl with his wonderful biscuits and rolls and pizza dough and my son in law Josh who is a master baker. He has been intrigued with the idea of the “starter”, which is a “pre-ferment (also known as bread starter) is a fermentation starter used in indirect methods of bread making. It may also be called mother dough. I love that name the mother dough. RECIPE: Once a week, remove your sourdough starter from the fridge, pour into a bowl and feed it with 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 3/4 to 1 cup of water (the thicker starter above was fed the 1 to 3/4 c. ratio), stirring well. Leave it to grow and become active again 12 to 24 hours before using it in a recipe.
COWBOY POET: “Jack H. Lee, better known as “Powder River Jack,” was a cowboy, writer, singer, and artist from Deer Lodge, Montana. He and his wife Kitty, a trick rider and friend of Annie Oakley, traveled the country in the late 1920s and early 1930s, performing at rodeos and other venues, including a stint as headliners in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. An article in Time Magazine in 1932 described Jack as “a leathery, garrulous, honest-injun cowboy from the wild old West.” Fellow cowboy poets more often described him as a “skunk,” as Jack had a habit of appropriating other people’s work and claiming it as his own. By all accounts, the poems and songs he did write were drawn from his experiences as a working cowboy before he became one of America’s first and most famous cowboy poets. Jack and Kitty made four recordings and published several books before Lee was killed in a car accident in 1946.“
The next time you make yeast dough bread, just cut you out a hunk.
‘Tis good for making sourdough cakes, a good sized little chunk.
‘Tis also good for biscuits, place it in a bowl or pot,
And cover it with water, keep it cool and not too hot.
It will keep fermenting if you let it stand all night
Behind the stove; and in the morning it will be just right.
If you keep it warm at night, the morn will find it sour;
Add some salt and water, then a pound or two of flour.
Mix it good and knead it down, for biscuits, cakes, or dough;
And let it work until it bubbles for a day or so.
Now it’s ready once again for adding in some flour;
Work and knead it till it’s smooth, for maybe half an hour.
Thin it out for flapjacks, or flour, to make it thick;
For better bread, the more you knead will kind of turn the trick.
Place it where the sun will strike it, say an hour or two,
And when it rises once again, your trouble will be through.
Don’t forget the soda now, a half spoon or so
To counteract the acid, now you’re ready for the dough.
Get your oven good and hot, and bake it in a pan.
But, ‘fore you do so, save a piece to start your dough again.
Watch your fire and oven, for they mustn’t be too hot.
If it cooks too fast you’re almost bound to spoil the lot.
Let it bake till turning brown, and then a trifle more;
But watch it close, if baking fast, and open up the door.
The time you take is not so bad, when all is done and said;
For there is nothing tastes as good as home made sourdough bread.
From The Stampede and Tales of the Far West: Told in Narrative Verse (Standardized Press, 1938)
This poem is in the public domain.
Have been in quarantine since St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th. Not sure what the future holds. We should all follow the social distancing guide as long as it is saving lives. So far in the United States we have over 1 million who have been infected with the coronavirus and 61,700 deaths. This is so hard to fathom and yet the pandemic is here and we have to deal with it. As a painter I feel lucky to at least have my work to get through the day. Hope everyone stays safe and keep your spirits up.
sending good vibes……………..Jeanean