Fermenting Grains and Beans

Lessons learned in my dosa-making adventures led to a recipe for beginners living in cold climates. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
When it’s midwinter and the fermentation bug hits you, where do you turn? The logical choice to expand beyond sourdough and cheese, and the perfect pairing with this month’s Indian-Inspired Sweet-and-Sour Potatoes and Indian-Inspired Shrimp in Yogurt, seemed to be dosas. But these thin, crisp rice-and-bean pancakes offered as many challenges as advantages in my Northern Rocky Mountain kitchen.

So what I offer this week are the lessons I learned as I began my dosa-making adventures, with big nods to fermentation expert Sandor Katz and writer and cook Chandra Padmanabhan. These lessons led to an Indian-inspired dosa recipe ideal for beginners living in cold climates, with plenty of ways to creep closer to the traditional texture and flavor as you become more confident in your dosa-making skills.
Learn to ferment grains and beans and make Red Lentil and Basmati Dosas

Pantry Power

Savor flavors from around the world right from your cupboards. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
February is always the test of my pantry’s power. How well did I plan for winter? Did I can enough jams, salsas, and sauces? Did I properly cure my potatoes, onions, and garlic so that they’re still edible? Did I freeze enough pesto, berries, and corn? Did I dry enough basil, oregano, and rosemary?

With some effort and some luck, all of the answers are yes and we’re eating well all month long and far into spring. When the stored and preserved harvest doesn’t taste quite as good as fresh off the vine, I make up the difference and then some from other shelves in my pantry: the ones with spices and condiments. With a bit of this and a dab of that, it’s possible to savor flavors from around the world right from your cupboards.
Read more about finding your pantry’s power

Sticking with Sourdough

Sourdough baking should fit into your lifestyle and let you build a habit of using it. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
Another Twice as Tasty sourdough giveaway is winding down; there are just a few days left to get your starter. This month, I delivered jars of bubbly starter to local bakers and shipped dehydrated starter as far away as Slovenia. People have been sharing their creations of longtime and new Twice as Tasty recipes, including this month’s cracker, cookie, and ciabatta recipes and variations. I’m excited to see what everyone makes in the coming months.

For some of you, just remembering your starter may be the biggest challenge as the year takes off. Sourdough baking should fit into your lifestyle and let you build a habit of using your starter often enough to keep it lively. It may take a few attempts, and I’m always happy to resend starter if you need a fresh try. But a sourdough culture is more resilient than you think. So as life distracts you from baking, you have several options to bring your starter back to life.
Read more about sticking with sourdough

Sourdough Ciabatta & Bread Variations

With a handful of easily mastered recipes, including Sourdough Ciabatta, you can make every batch of sourdough look and taste unique. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
Long before I got hooked on sourdough, I made yeast-based Italian slipper bread using Patricia Wells’s Trattoria. I used the recipe from the 1993 edition of her book without changes because it is so good.

Once I started into sourdough, I fell for the flavor and texture of long-ferment loaves, and Sourdough Cabin Bread, aka Auntie Julie’s Special Bread, became my go-to recipe. But one day I flipped passed the slipper bread recipe and was inspired to create a version that could use sourdough starter.

Wells describes Italian slipper bread, or ciabatta, as “ideal for those who want great flavor in a hurry.” This sourdough version takes a little more time to build than a yeast loaf but far less than long-ferment doughs that spend hours to days in the fridge. It’s definitely a high-hydration dough: expect it to be wet, sticky, and hard to shape. Your final loaf will look different every time, with lots of holes inside, and will cool and be ready to eat more quickly than denser loaves.
Learn to make Sourdough Ciabatta and bread variations