Old Sourdough Recipe
Recently, my grandfather stumbled across an old, OLD cookbook that belonged to HIS grandmother. He knows that I've been dabbling with breads/baking, so he offered me the cookbook (he also knows I'm an archivist, so he knew I'd preserve it!). :) Anyway... I've been browsing through the recipes (trying to translate MANY of them, as this particular gr. gr. grandmother was Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish and spoke a hybrid German). I took four years of German in high school and this is taxing. LOL!
BUT- I'm learning some wonderful recipes and techniques for breads and sweets. Essentially, because of the technology available to her, my gr. gr. grandmother's cookbook is a lesson in patience.
This evening, I'm trying her "before night's sleep sourdough bread". She writes that this loaf is best when the starter is proofed the afternoon before and the dough is left to rise "from supper to mid-night". At midnight, you shape the loaf and place it in "a cool place" to rise. Her notes say "the milk house." After consulting with my grandfather, he believes she's referring to the small milk closet that he remembers his mother (and grandmother) having...basically, a cool room in the cellar where they stored their milk and cheese. So...I figured the refridgerator might work. We'll see. The dough seems pretty heavy and hearty...but also very maleable and stretchy.
I've never left a sourdough loaf to rise in cooler temperatures. I'm a little worried that our "cooler" might be cooler than the recipe calls for. But, we shall see. The recipe says to "bake before cowing" (again, Grandpa and I are interpreting this to mean "milking", which we figure would've been very early morning). The bread should be "done by breakfast".
Gotta' love those precise instructions. LOL!! :)