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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Good starts: How to grow your own sourdough

Photo Erica Simmons/Special To The Town CrierSourdough bread and bagels harness the Bay Areas unique varietals of wild yeast.

Few Bay Area foods are as iconic as San Francisco sourdough. So popular was this style of bread during the California Gold Rush that veteran miners were dubbed “sourdoughs,” embodied by the San Francisco 49ers’ mascot, “Sourdough Sam.”

Although sourdough continues to hold a privileged place in the Bay Area, the advent of pure domesticated yeasts has mostly displaced wild yeast in home and commercial baking. However, with simple ingredients and a dash of patience, any home baker can start cultivating this distinctive local flavor.

All yeast breads harness the leavening power of the tiny fermenting fungus. The character of sourdough is due not to special ingredients, but to a greater variety of microbial baking partners.

The sour, fruity and complex flavors of wild yeast bread are the byproducts of a symbiotic relationship between the yeast and several strains of (human-friendly) bacteria. Naturally occurring yeast starters are never pure like their supermarket kin – each culture contains multiple strains of yeast as well as other microorganisms that contribute to the wild yeast bread’s complex flavor.

Geographic regions often have unique strains of bacteria that are incorporated in local breads – one especially tangy variety betrays its Bay Area roots: Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis.

To cultivate your own menagerie of microorganisms, you need little more than plain flour, water and a warm location – and a couple days of lead time. In a glass bowl, combine 1/2 cup water (preferably distilled) with 3/4 cup all-purpose white flour and stir well. Cover the bowl loosely with a towel and leave undisturbed in a warm (approximately 80 F) location for 24 hours. When you return, you may see a few bubbles and a slight rise to your mixture. If not, leave your culture in a warm spot for another 12 hours.

After your culture shows signs of life, you are ready for the first feeding. Remove 2/3 of your culture and discard. To the remaining 1/3, add 1/3 cup water and 1/2 cup flour. Stir, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spoon, and cover loosely before returning the starter to the warm spot for another 12 hours. Continue pouring off, feeding and resting the starter until it is able to double itself during the 12 hour intervals (approximately three to five days). Continue feeding the starter at room temperature each day or store a small container in the refrigerator to be fed once a week. Simply bring the starter to room temperature for one feeding cycle to reawaken the culture before use.

Once the starter is ready, the time is ripe to experiment. Sourdough starters are good for more than a mere clam chowder bread bowl. Sourdough starter can be incorporated in many baked goods, from basic soured breads to yeasty pancakes, waffles, doughnuts and bagels.

Some adventurous home bakers find inspiration among niche online baking communities and personal baking blogs. Baking enthusiast Susan Tenney of Sunnyvale started a food blog on wild yeast breads after taking a bread-baking course at the San Francisco Baking Institute.

Her Web site (wildyeastblog.com) lists favorite recipes, techniques for maintaining a starter and links to several baking Web sites. For nonbloggers looking for baking feedback, Tenney recommended the resource The Fresh Loaf (thefreshloaf.com), where novice bakers can get encouragement and where seasoned bakers trade tips and recipes.

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