I have been baking Salish Sea Sourdough at Passionate for Pies for two weeks now. Passionate for Pies is owned by two of the nicest people in Eastsound, Wa. Shasha Jean and Marie Bigbee opened Passionate for Pies three years ago. Their pies, tarts, and pot pies are reknown in the San Juan Islands and beyond for being the tastiest, most wholsome pastry treats available.
I have seen it with my own eyes, how carefully the ingredients are chosen for their culinary delights. Whatever goes into the pies, tarts and other delicious pastries, is organic, wholesome, fresh and the best quality ingredients that can be obtained. I have never even seen a can of shortening around, they use all real butter. I am impressed by their dedication and passion for baking great food… hence the word “Passionate” in their business name.
I am the lucky one to have been invited to bake my bread in their bakery. I love working there and providing fresh sourdough to the friendly people of Eastsound is the fulfillment of a dream for me. It was a challenge at first. They have a double deck pizza oven with a great mass of bottom heat and no steam.
My first test did not turn out great but was consumed anyway. More heat and steam were necessary.
First Test Bread:
I tried to steam the oven by pouring water over clay briquettes heated in the oven in a large pan, but it was just not enough steam for the size of the oven. So….. I tried making a foil “hat” or cover and I also experimented using an upside down stainless steel bowl. That test turned out well and the bread that turned out the best was the one covered with the foil hat. So I made up a bunch of the foil covers and decided to bake twelve loaves.
The pies were done baking for the day so we cranked up for an hour to get it as hot as we could. Then using my peel, I placed a foil hat over the dough (after a slight water spray) and flipped in the loaves, hat and all into the oven:
The nice thing about the foil was that I could reach in after the initial part of the bake and using a pair of tongs, remove the foil hats easily. Sure they got bent out of shape a bit, but it was easy to reshape them for the next set of loaves. I would not have been able to easily remove a lot of stainless steel bowls from a loaded oven.
The picture is fuzzy because I took it too fast without allowing it to focus, as I was worried about steam on my camera and letting the oven heat escape.
So my first real bake was successful and not only that, we had a great time trying to figure out how to bake a load of bread in a pizza oven without steam injection. The timing was a test, the steaming and heat were tests, it was all a test and it worked out great! Passionate for Pies offered the “Salish Sea Sourdough” from their front counter in a large basket:
Some of the first loaves:
I realized that the oven was still not hot enough so for the next bake we allowed the oven to heat longer and turned it up as high as it would go. It helped the bloom on the crust and the oven spring was even nicer. The second bake:
The ingredients for the Salish Sea Sourdough are water, flour and salt. It says on the bread bag that it takes five days to ferment the dough for this bread, but in reality it takes much longer. It is a motherdough bread and I have a revolving motherdough that I add to each week. I continue to use the older motherdough and some of the newer motherdough. So it has a complexity of flavor that is very appealing. I got this idea from the “sour seed” experiments I was doing. Sorry I don’t have crumb shots, I will try and get some with the next bake.
My boss (Marie) thought that a starfish slashed into the top of the bread would be in keeping with the theme of the Salish Sea Sourdough. So on the last bake I slashed starfish:
So, here I am having the time of my life, living in one of the most beautiful places in the world and playing (could not say working!) at doing what I love to do best. Life is good.
You can bake sourdough like this in your own home see my book, Discovering Sourdough