Sunday, May 26

Love Loaves

My Sourdough Adventure continues! I decided it might be nice to have loaf shapes rather than the boules I have been making. For these loaves I used the King Arthur Rustic Sourdough recipe with a few home modifications. Instead of free-form (i.e. rustic) loaves I used loaf pans, and I also changed the recipe from all-white to multi-grain. These loaves include whole wheat flour, oat bran and ground flaxseed meal. I meant to dust the pans with cornmeal too, but forgot. I also added a 1/2 teaspoon of sour salt (aka citric acid, or vitamin C crystals) to boost the "tang" factor. It all worked out beautifully, this time at least! I've made several clunker batches too as I forge ahead on my sourdough adventure. Those loaves don't get blogged about, but they do get eaten, all the same. Homemade bread, even if far from perfect, still tastes good.

Now for some bread art shots...I just think the whole structure of bread is so gorgeous! It's like an art project you can eat!

Macro shot of the crumb form. Click to enlarge.

My peanut butter jar full of starter continues to do just fine, living in my fridge with only sporadic feeding. I can be a bit scatter-brained so I thought for sure I'd kill her dead in no time but so far she seems perfectly content and healthy!

Somebody asked, so thought I would mention that yeah, I'm using NO fancy or specialized bread-baking equipment. No french bannetons, no danish dough whisk, no scoring knife, no kitchenaid dough hook, no proofing container, no dough-raising bucket, no silpat kneading mat, no baking stone etc etc.  All that stuff does sound great but at the moment I am just having fun, enjoying a free-form free-for-all using only common kitchen utensils. I don't even weigh my ingredients the way real bakers do, although I may come to that in future. :-) Who knows?

Tuesday, May 21

A Henry & Katja Reunion

"Is that you?"

Katja is visiting us from Heidelberg! It's been three or four years since she was last here. K and I drove out to Beaver Farm to see Henry. K wondered if H would remember her. I really think he did. As usual with Henry there were no glad words of remembrance but some intense stares and happy grins. Like, "Oh THERE you are!"

"It IS you! Yay!"

"Now can I have some ice-cream?"

Tuesday, May 7

A Sourdough Baker's Dozen

This is my second attempt at sourdough baking, using starter passed along by a local foodie acquaintance. My first attempt was disappointing, but this loaf: wow! It looks a complete little world. I used Jim Lahey's no-knead recipe for this try, substituting 1/2 cup of starter for the dry yeast.

And it tastes just the way you think it does....!

Saturday, May 4

The Day After the Night Before

Out for the count!
Sunny Cat has now managed to Houdini himself outside at night two nights running. Unlike other times of day, he won't return when called if he gets out in the late evening...and has thus managed to attend the local all-night cat raves w/o parental supervision. He's been on the porch in the morning wondering where his breakfast is, though. He then eats like a (little furry) horse and hits the hay.... sleeping so deeply he doesn't even flinch a whisker if you drop something on the floor near him. Typical teenager!

I have heard that in other places people deliberately put the cat out at night, but here where I live we have such a panoply of raccoons, foxes, owls and even the occasional (it is rumored) coyote, that it makes me too nervous to let him roam free among the night-hunting predators. Typical mom!