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Second attempt at sourdough bread: C+


My second baking of sourdough bread today was considerably improved. I’m starting — starting — to get a feel for sourdough. But I think that it’s going to take some time to become confident and skillful with sourdough. Still, today’s bread had a better balance of flour and water. The crust was good. The starter is becoming more sour.


I’ve got to stop all this breadmaking, lest I start gaining weight. But still, I never buy bread. There’s no bread in the house unless I bake it myself. I have found that when I start getting bored with my own cooking, one sure way to perk up my interest is to make hot biscuits. Whole-wheat biscuits are completely decent, but proper Southern biscuits can only be made with white (that is, unbleached) flour. Olive oil works, but truly proper biscuits require shortening. The biscuits above were an experiment with palm oil, which I had never used before. The palm oil and unbleached King Arthur flour made fantastic, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits.

I have a lot of doubts about whether palm oil is a good thing. I bought it primarily for pie crusts. Used in moderation, I suppose it’s not so bad. And it’s certainly better than a hydrogenated shortening such as Crisco, which I would never use, ever, under any circumstances. The liver and veins simply don’t know what to do with hydrogenated fats. Palm oil, at least, is in a natural form that chemists haven’t tampered with. It has been used in the tropics for thousands of years.

Here’s a link to my previous post on sourdough.

Spectrum sells its refined palm oil as vegetable shortening. It’s white. Unrefined palm oil is red and contains a lot of carotene, and therefore vitamin A.

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