Doughvember and Tales of a Bone Break

posted in: Cooking, Experience, Savory, Seattle-ing, Sweet | 50
sourdough crumb

*Update: If you’re up for participating in doughvember and you’re on twitter, tweet me and I’ll add you to the twitter list @saltyseattle/doughvember. You can follow along with other participants there as well as via hashtag #doughvember.

No blog is ever truly a food blog, is it? Sometimes life gets in the way and you have to share a little of your current situation- even if it’s really embarrassing- along with your recipe for Beef Wellington.

I have a big month planned. I’m headed to Santa Monica to speak at IFBC (you should come!) and to visit family and friends in the LA area. I’m also putting the finishing touches on a book proposal. I’ve upped my freelance writing work and have deadlines looming. Then there’s Thanksgiving and the promise I made to singlehandedly cook for 20+ people. Despite a jam-packed month, I also wanted to include a fun little project my beautiful co-host Nicole from Pinch My Salt and I are calling “Doughvember”. It’s a whole month dedicated to raising awareness about sourdough with the end goal being that those of us who participate will become better sourdough bakers. If you live in the US, imagine how good your rolls will be come Thanksgiving?

sourdough pretzels

All that sounds busy but doable, right? I feel like every time I put just the right amount of stuff on my plate that I’ll be able to manage it with speedy efficiency, something new comes hurtling at me that I didn’t anticipate. That “something” in this case was a dance floor. One that my wrist came abruptly in contact with Saturday night, otherwise known as “Adult Halloween”.

Every year I try to grow up by putting my own Halloween desires aside and becoming one of those cupcake-baking, PTA-presiding uber-moms. So far I’ve failed. Adult Halloween falls on the nearest Saturday to real Halloween, which is October 31st. It’s a day to hire a babysitter, swath yourself in garbage bags laced together with sheep casings, and dance the night away.

It’s also a day to remember to eat more than one meal, which was my second mistake. My first mistake was commencing to drink prior to noon, and not stopping until I wound up in a pile of skeevy DNA on the dance floor of The Cuff. The Cuff is by far the best place to spend Adult Halloween in Seattle as all the gay-listers, bears, young-and-hungs, gaysians, and queens are out in full regalia. Since I’m a flame dame of the highest order, there is no place I’d rather be.

So there I was, teetering on my shearling Louboutins with nary a care in the world, when a pirouette went awry and my limbs went akimbo straight down to the dirty dregs of the unyielding floor. It was suggested that I was “break-dancing” in more ways than one. I promise I’m a better dancer than Elaine from Seinfeld, damn it!

Several x-rays confirmed a distal-radial fracture, and now I’m kitted out with a temporary cast until next week, at which time they’ll take more x-rays to determine whether I need surgery or if casting will do the trick. I’m trying to make the best of it, by adorning my cast with colorful sleeves made from cut up socks. I’ll post my cast creations on twitter and instagram (@saltyseattle) if you want to follow along.

Thus far the biggest obstacles have been cooking and writing. Do you have two hands and want to come learn how to be an adolescent boy trapped in the body of a 30-something year-old woman for the month? If so, I’ll teach you how to drink wine like water, cook food that would make a priest drop his pants, and write and speak with a filter so transparent most people say it isn’t there.

these crazy kids made my cast

But I’m not giving up on sourdough. Nicole and I want to see all of you beautiful people in the kitchen hanging out with the good kind of wild yeast. Nicole has a tutorial on how to start your own yeast culture- it’s fun and easy, so get going on it now if you want to win fabulous prizes to-be-announced soon. In addition, I’ve decided to try and send my own sourdough starter to two lucky commentors on this post. If you want it and you live in the US where it has a chance of surviving the mail journey, just leave a note below saying so. I’m not sure how well it will travel as I’m not going to dehydrate it but send it as-is, however I’ll send it priority so it should arrive before it’s completely starving. I’ll choose (randomly) who to send it to by this Thursday the 3rd of November, and I’ll mail it out Friday, along with instructions on how to feed it. If you live in Seattle and want some sourdough starter, no need to enter the contest, just let me know and I’ll give you as much as you like.

sourdough baguettes

There will be an interactive part of Doughvember as well- that’s where the prizes come in. If you have a blog, post sourdough successes and failures. Then send Nicole and I links to those posts for a chance to win some fun stuff. If you don’t have a blog but want to participate, you can send photos and descriptions and I’ll share them with the world via my blog.

sourdough noodles

As the month progresses we’ll provide more specifics on prizes and challenges, but for the time being, either start or rouse your wild yeast and get back to baking. We’d love to hear about baguettes, rolls, pancakes, waffles, and anything your sourdoughey heart desires. If you’re on twitter please use the hashtag #doughvember to chronicle your adventures in sourdough and to follow along with others.

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50 Responses

  1. Penny Fink

    It’s tough trying to knead dough with one hand in a cast… I know – sprained my wrist kneading dough one Thanksgiving! It never regained it’s strength so I had to train my left hand to do the dough pushing. Sympathies. Sounds like you were having lots of fun, though.

  2. I absolutely positively NEED some sourdough starter!!!
    Bodacious Baking

  3. Teresa Alison

    I would love to try your Seattle starter. I live outside of San Francisco, and have made it a few times..but I think I need to try a different recipe next time.

  4. […] the weekend I decided to apply my doughvember mojo to the challenge of feeding and entertaining a house guest. I may have been a little lax on […]

  5. I love this idea and I will definitely join! But, I have to admit that my sourdough never turns out as rustic and airy as yours. Do you think its the humidity in Texas? Anyways, I am excited.

    Linda Reply:

    @Natalie, Is it air bubbles in the crumb that you specifically have a problem achieving? There are ways to make up for humidity, but the first thing I would check is your oven temp. It needs to be high enough that the bread has a chance to expand quickly when it hits the heat in order to make nice expansion pockets. If that doesn’t help, I’d be happy to troubleshoot with you. Also, are you baking on a stone? That will help too.

  6. Doughvember! Love it! Wish I was stateside so I would have a small chance of winning instead of nil!
    Sorry about your wrist! At least you were having a great time while you did it. I miss adult Halloween. Some day…

  7. Heal up quick and glad to hear your dancing hasn’t interfered with your love all that’s yeasty (well maybe not all)! Cheers.

  8. so glad this idea came up!! About once every year, I take out my sourdough starter from the fridge, hopeful that it’ll be put to use for more than a week. However, it always returns to the fridge after a brief (and lonely) time on the counter.
    I can’t wait to see all the great recipes and ideas this time around!

  9. Hehehe, a gay bar is usually an excellent spot to celebrate Halloween. It’s almost guaranteed the ladies will go all out. I love to swing by, if only for a moment, to see what everyone is wearing.

    So sad to hear you took a tumble. Feel better!

    I will get my starter started this weekend and join you for #doughvember!

  10. Andrea Waight

    Am I too late?

  11. Count me in! I’m ready to get my carb on!

  12. I need some sourdough!

  13. Sorry about your wrist – that sounds miserable. Love thefashionable cast covers though!
    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win! My dog ate my last starter (true story!)
    But I have since learned to keep him away from fermented, smelly
    kitchen experiments.
    I live CLOSE to Seattle, out in Graham, practically to Mt Rainier.
    You’d think it would be part of the redneck code to have sourdough
    bubbling away along with the moonshine out here….
    Anyway, I’d love to have some or win some or do whatever is needed
    to GET some!

  14. I want a sourdough adventure! Please pick me!

  15. I hope your wrist feels better soon! And it would be a treat to win! I hope I’m not too late! :)

  16. Sorry to hear about your wrist – ouch. Sounds like it made your Halloween extra memorable, though! I’m here from Pinch My Salt to see if I might be the lucky reader to score sourdough starter straight from your fridge. Fingers crossed :) Your stunning photography (and Nicole’s too) inspire me to whip out amazing breads, pretzels and even pasta (wow!!), too. I’m looking forward to Doughvember!

  17. Oh my. Feel better! Hope you heal fast!

  18. […] to see a tweet this morning about a challenge that a couple bloggers are doing, right up my alley. Doughvember! The general gist is to be in the practice of using your sourdough starter, and thereby improve […]

  19. So sorry to hear of your bad break, hope that you only need a soft cast when you get the x-ray.
    Love, Love, Love the sourdough idea. I have sourdough recipes dancing in my head all the time.
    Mine just starts from this starter though, to keep it gluten-free.
    Happy to share dried starter to folks, just need to follow the instructions in the post.

  20. I keep saying I’m going to get into bread baking. ANd then I keep pussying out. Doughvember and some Salty bread starter will help me change that!

  21. Charlette Finley

    First off the breads all look so yummy.I would love to win the sourdough starter. I can already invision some homemade chile running out of the bread bowls I will be making! I will be following the adventures. TFS and for the chance to win.

  22. mememememememmeMEMEMEMEMEME!!!! PICK ME!!! i sooooo want to participate but as you know, life was complicated last month and i didn’t get my starter even started. but even if i don’t get picked, i’m still planning to participate albeit probably a bit behind but watching you and Nicole and all the fabulous sourdough recipes inspires me to give this a try . . . plus i love sourdough!

    and seriously, dang girl, better watch your twirling in the future!

  23. Detroit couple

    We were just talking about making a starter bread dough last night. I would rather win it then ma it ; )

  24. I would love to win some starter. I tried making some but it looked awesome at first…then tragically died before I could use it even once.

  25. Lisa Boyles

    Hello, I’m a Central California foodie. If I am so lucky as to win your sourdough started, I promise not to abuse it as I once did a batch of Amish friendship bread starter!

  26. I would love sourdough starter, I’m trying to teach all of my friends how to bake… Totally excited for the challenge.

  27. I have 2 hands, very little baking experience let alone experience with wild yeast cultures, but again I have two hands. Also, I am always looking to expand my knowledge base so as ‘to drink wine like water, cook food that would make a priest drop his pants, and write and speak with a filter so transparent most people say it isn’t there’.
    So let me know if you want an assistant during course of this; can’t give you a whole month but handful of day, yes. ;-)


  28. Oh please, please, please! I would love some sourdough starter. My dad used to make the BEST sourdough pancakes when I was a little girl. I would love to be able to make those pancakes for him for our Thanksgiving breakfast. Lol! What can I say? I should just make my own starter!

  29. john v phipps

    I would love a great starter.

    Are you going to need some assistance with prep for Thanksgiving dinner? Not sure I can work on Thousday, but will have time earlier in the week to pitch in and do mise en place.

  30. there is nothing that tastes as good as a fresh loaf of sourdough bread

  31. As part of another crew at another hospital in the past, I have never seen such a clever or even colorful cuff for a cast before. If your creativity in the cast department is any indication of your creativity in the dough deoartment, we are in for a treat in Doughvember. Bon Chance! with your ambitious schedule this month.

  32. Okay, I don’t want to do Doughvember, but I wanted to say… OMG THE CUFF? How funny… haven’t been there since just after I was 21. Wait, which was like 3 years ago, I swear.

    What hospital did you end up at? Cuz there are only like 15 in the area of there…

    Hope you don’t have to have surgery – bah.

  33. What fun! I would love to be part of Doughvember!

  34. Ooooo, pick me please! I would love to try making the sourdough pretzels you made earlier. They look delicious.

  35. I would love to win some sourdough starter. I had some once, but didn’t take care of it. I promise to do better the second time around.

  36. kriswithmany

    I would love to have some starter! I had one a few years back, and forgot to set aside some for next time while making pancakes (dangit!). If I don’t win, it’ll be time to make my own. I’ve been hankering for some real sourdough lately!

  37. me me me me! I just found your blog through Pinch My Salt and that sourdough pretzel… mmmmmmmmmmmm…

  38. Angelique Gertig

    Pick me! please! I am only as far as the Phoenix Arizona area! and this weekend it is going to get down to a daytime high of only 68!! our first cold snap, and perfect for mailing, since it won’t be sooo darned hot! would love your starter! I am taking mine out tonight to resurrect it from following Pinch My Salt, and bake some more for Doughvember! Love that name!

  39. I would like to try your starter, so I hope I get picked. I have tried sourdough in the past whem my son was allergic to milk. It was something special he could eat as I was learning to cook without dairy products.

  40. Elle Hyson

    I’ve never used sourdough starter but restarted baking bread at age 89 and would just love to add this to my repetoire.

  41. Pick me! Pick me! Even though I do live in Illinois, which might be to far away. But, I’ll try my best to represent doughvember on my twitter and blog!!! Plus, you should take pity on me, because I really do dance like Elayne from Seinfeld!

  42. Happy Doughvember! Sign me up for your starter giveaway please. Every self-respecting native San Franciscan baking enthusiast should try their hand at sourdough, no? Thanks to you and Pinch My Salt for the inspiration. Can’t wait to experiment.

  43. I have 3 year old starter. I am in the game.

  44. @Kerry @ Yum and Yummer

    Also I didn’t even realize there was a comment-based contest since I stopped to comment halfway through reading, but right on. I’m down for sourdough starter like Steven Tyler’s mouth is down for dental reconstruction.

  45. he Cuff is by far the best place to spend Adult Halloween in Seattle as all the gay-listers, bears, young-and-hungs, gaysians, and queens are out in full regalia. Since I’m a flame dame of the highest order, there is no place I’d rather be.

    Holy shit, pretty sure I’m in love with you.

  46. I recently was asked to either bake it or toss it in regards to my starter since it had probably evolved into sentience and my house mates were tired of it asking them to turn on the Young and the Restless. The resulting loaf was less than light and airy but will make a good door stop.

  47. Oh, I would love to try baking sourdough! I’ve only baked “regular” bread, but we are huge fans of sourdough so I think it’s a wonderful project. I would gladly welcome SaltySeattle-borne starter.

  48. Well, I’ve got my sour on..I use a different recipe..but I will try the way of the pineapple. Sorry you got hurt, wish I could come cook/write with you. I too am under the deadline gun but luckily so far, am in one piece.Feel better & enjoy whatever meds you can get

  49. Oh my god, pick me! I just started my sour today (coincidence? I think not!) Excited for all these sourdough adventures :)

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