Monday, February 24, 2014

Sourdough, sweet DOH!

This wasn't the post I'd initially planned to put up today but a couple of things were said yesterday that got me thinking.

One of the things I have been working on is sourdough recipes. When I say working on I don't just mean go on the internet and find a couple, I've actually been doing enough that I am now combining and modifying recipes to get the specific result I want.

One of the specific things I'm working on is sourdough pancakes. I started with a recipe that I found, but they turned out more like crepes than the thick fluffy ones I used to have a recipe for and I wanted fluffy ones (and so did Lisa). So, I dug through a book and found another one that worked better and Lisa liked better but still wasn't what I wanted.

One of the biggest problems was they didn't brown fast enough on the one side so they were almost completely set on the second side before the first side was browned enough to flip... and they still weren't fluffy and thick enough.  So I start thinking. Could I boost the leavening? Probably, but I also realized I was loosing leavening power because they took so long to brown on the one side I was failing to capture gas bubbles that were cooking out. That pointed to the slow browning problem.

Ok, I know a couple of things about of the main forms of browning is a thing called the Maillard reaction which creates good flavors and comes from heat effects on surface sugars. Hmm no sugar in the recipe except the natural occurring ones in flour and milk. Solution add two tablespoons of brown sugar. Why two tablespoons? because that is how much was in a couple of biscuit recipes I liked. Why brown sugar? I know (from watching way too much Food TV) that brown sugar contains molasses which is slightly acidic. Slightly acidic is also good for the Maillard reaction and gives any baking soda I decide to add later a little more acid to work with. While we are on biscuits, those recipes have a temperature range of 400-450 that's hotter than I've been working with the pancakes. So I crank the  griddle to it's max (400).

Between the two it worked! The first side browns faster and I can flip and trap more of the gas generated by the mix. Lisa and I both agree this is the best of the recipes so far. But I'm still not done because they aren't there yet, fluffy wise, so I'll be pulling out more tricks. And I want to experiment with additives like apples, berries, nuts and so on. But, this one is the best so far. I'm including the recipe at the end of the post but we have other things to talk about first.

What does this all have to do with comments on Sunday? Well, I realized that some of my experience with pancakes also applies to people. We all have things within us that can enlarge us, make us grow and be better. This is important. All of us have the capability to be more than we are!

Any person who considers him or her self to be a Christian would agree that Jesus Christ was (and is!) the best of us. I know Jews and Muslims that consider him to have been a prophet so again he is in the best of us class. I know a couple of Buddhists that could be reading this and I know stories from that religion of people transcending what they are to become something better.  Ok, so no arguments that we can be more than we are.

We know from scripture that Jesus Christ grew:
Luke 2:52
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

By my understanding and belief, the best of us got better. A true part of his message is that the rest of us can be better too.

Proverbs 9:9
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

But, someone has to do something for us to get better. Who? Us!

Isaiah 54:1-3
1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.
2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;
3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

We have to do something for ourselves to be better than we are. And sometimes we have to do things for others too.

2nd Corinthians 6:11
O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.

When we take hold of the good that we have, when we use it, act on it, share it with others. We are enlarged. When we seek after good we can obtain it, and again we are enlarged.

In saying these things I am in no way denying the atonement of my Savior Jesus Christ. I have sought for truth and understanding about this with my heart, mind, and science and have obtained some true knowledge of what our Savior did for us.

So, the Savior, the best of us, made an atonement for us with which we can be saved and without which we could not. So, why can't he just fix us??? I can make my pancakes brown faster and be flipped sooner to make them fluffier, I can add other things to them. So why can't Jesus Christ just fix us?

Simple (sort of!) answer... pancakes can't choose anything, we can.

Moses 7:32
The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency

2nd Nephi 2: 16,27
Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.
27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

What this means is that while I can make the pancakes more fluffy, by adding things and changing conditions, that doesn't always work with us. The pancake can't reject the apples, or baking soda, or changes in temperature, but we can choose to act according to that which we know or believe is right and good, or we can choose to do otherwise.

Deity can change conditions, or place things in our lives; and the consequences that must come from our actions will come. But we get to choose what we will do and how we react to the results. If you decide to jump off a bridge you fall; period end of sentence. That is not God, or anyone else, smiting you, that's a consequence of what you decided to do. On the other hand if you decide to donate part of your hard earned income to help someone, there are consequences of that too (positive ones) which you may accept or reject as you will. (Actually as I was writing this I realized I was 45 minutes late pulling my sourdough starter out of the fridge so it can warm up for tonight's biscuits so either I wait 45 minutes more to cook them or they might not raise as well See: actions, choices, consequences!)

It is our job as people, human beings, sons and daughters of God, beings who can be more than we are, (insert your own term here) to think about who and what we are; decide what we want to be and act accordingly. We have the ability to choose to be better, more loving, more capable, greater, richer, (again insert your own term here), or anything else we want to be. We can also choose not to be those things and waste our efforts on things that aren't real or don't last.

No, I am not preaching to be LDS, like me, or anything else. My point is that we can be more than we are and that we get to choose what we want to become and move that way. Think, choose, think, act, and become that's it!

Here's another scripture on that one straight from the old testament:

Joshua 24:15
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

So sorry if this seems like a bit of a rant, but I just needed some time and space to celebrate the fact that we can choose and become more than we are (and some good pancakes!).

Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life (2nd Nephi 10:23), and to have breakfast (me).

And as far as breakfast goes here's that recipe:

Slightly More Fluffier Sourdough Pancakes by Patrick

The night before cooking mix up
2 Cups flour
2 Cups milk
1 Cup sour dough starter

Use a fairly large bowl 1) you'll be adding more to the bowl and 2) if its warm enough, your starter is strong enough, and the bowl small enough it will try to take over you kitchen! Let it stand over night at room temperature (I like to cover it with a towel to help control it's environment and prevent ideas of world (or kitchen) domination (I hate competition especially from single celled organisms!))

When you're about ready to cook heat up your pan or griddle to 400F.

When the cook surface is just about ready mix into your batter 2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder (actually the original called for baking soda but I misread it, I'm trying baking soda next time (see the note below))
1 teaspoon salt

Butter your griddle/pan
I use 1/3 cup portions and it makes 12 pancakes that way, but use your own initiative on size of cake and when to flip

Note: this is a race against time to get them on and cooked you want to cook them before the leavening mojo runs out. If your cooking space is limited you might want to mix up a half batch at a time (just split the original batter add half the additional ingredients to one half and then do the other half when you've finished cooking the first. This will be particularly true if you are using baking soda...baking soda does it's gas thing when it contacts acid (like the acid in the sourdough and the brown sugar's molasses...) where as baking powder reacts more slowly unless you add heat.

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