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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Operation Sourdough Failure

Well, my sourdough bread experiment was a failure. I don't know what went wrong, but I suspect in was a) not the right flour to water ratio, b) not using the starter at it's peak (or right before it's peak), c) it was raining the whole day.

Everyone tells you not to use baker's yeast when making sourdough, but heresy of all heresies, I believe that if I had I would've had a nice loaf. Instead, I got this doorstop.

Needs Viagra.

The silver lining: it'll make nice breadcrumbs.

I still have a great starter and yesterday I made sourdough pancakes that were very good, lots of flavor. In fact, I think all pancakes should be made using sourdough starter. All too often, pancakes are boring vehicles for lots of butter and maple syrup. Sourdough pancakes don't need butter or maple syrup, although it sure doesn't hurt!

Not everything was a failure last night. One thing that came out really good was my spaghetti alla carbonara. No, this is not Tom Cruise's carbonara. Mine has black pepper in it, which many believe the carbon in carbonara comes from.

Spaghetti Alla Kevinara

Not low Carb-onara.

1 package (or pound) of thick spaghetti
6-7 strips of bacon (what we call bacon, others call streaky bacon)
1 cup of grated parmigiano regiano (or other hard grating cheese)
2 big-ass cloves garlic, minced
half an onion (yellow), diced
1 tablespoon (or more) freshly grated black pepper
1/4 cup italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
Fleur de Sel, or other course finishing salt
3 eggs, beaten

1. Boil your water in a big ol' pot. Add some regular salt to the water. When it comes to a boil, turn off the burner. Basically, this is how we cut down our pasta cooking time so that everything comes together at the same time.
2. Meanwhile, put your bacon in a cold pan and turn the heat up to medium.
3. While the bacon is cooking, chop the parsley, the onions, the garlic, grate the pepper and cheese. Beat the eggs.
4. When the bacon is crisp, remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. When cool, chop roughly.
5. Add onions to the bacon fat and brown on medium high. Shortly after adding the onions, add the garlic.
6. Mix the cheese and pepper into the beaten eggs.
7. Bring pasta water to a boil, then add the spaghetti. Cook til al dente. When ready, pour some of the hot water into a serving bowl (this is just to heat it up). Drain the pasta.
8. Dump the water out of the serving bowl, then dump the pasta in. Add the onions/bacon grease and mix into the pasta, then add the egg mixture and stir until it makes a nice sauce. Add the bacon, then the parsley.
9. Plate it and sprinkle conservatively with the course salt.
10. Fret over sourdough failure. Scold your starter and promise to remove from will.

Everything goes better with bacon grease.



Blogger jOoLz said...

carbonara... in the style of the coal miner.

i made some last week. use pancetta sometime... you wouldn't believe the difference!

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so did your starter suck or what?? i have a starter that's been marinating in my fridge for I think 3 friggin months...what the hell do I do with it now???


8:52 PM  
Blogger Bacon Press said...


You should start feeding it again. It's possible that if it's been in there that long that most, but not all, of your yeast has died. But, you can take it out, feed it flour and water, and feed it every 12 hours for a week to get it healthy again. Make sure to stir it vigorously. If it has a pinkish tint or a smell that's not quite right, toss it and start over. Don't drain off the liquidy top, but mix it back in.

As for my sourdough failure, the bread tasted fine but there was no rise. I did make it on a rainy day, and I've always heard that you shouldn't make bread then because it won't rise. I don't know how much of that is true, but that's what happened with me.

I'll try it again when it's not raining and see if it works.


9:03 AM  

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