Monthly Archives: March 2010

Sourdoughs update

Our sourdough starter is getting there! I made a delicious loaf this weekend, and it is truly starting to get that awesome sour taste.

N’s dad loooves sourdough, so I split my starter and am feeding it double-time this week so that I can have two loaves to bring next weekend. Again, I’ve been mainly using this site as my source, including his FAQ, which is really helpful.

I’ve been on the road for 3 weeks now. This week, though, I’m only 45 miles away, which means that I get to come home in the middle of the week! Hurrah! :) In fact, I think I’m only staying out one night. What a luxury! Plus a four-day weekend full of family, food, and drink… AND I get to bring Sierra … that’s a life I could get used to.

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2nd bedroom inspiration board

As much as I want to make this picture full-sized to share the glory of all the details, I realize that not everyone loves waiting for huge pictures to load. :)

This is what I currently want in our 2nd bedroom. Yes, there are pictures of baby things because eventually it will be used for baby — but not in the foreseeable future. I am not pregnant, nor planning to become pregnant.

That being said, it really is adorable, isn’t it?! I love the dreamy yellow, and with white it is so bright and light and cheery. Gray has always been one of my favorite colors, and even though it’s been popular recently, I still really like the yellow-n-gray combo. Too cliche? Not for me.

Note: I will probably change my mind and do a handful of these boards. I love coming up with a design picture in my head and trying to find the right pictures to make it come to life on a design board. I’m no designer, but this is actually fun and relaxing to me.

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Amish bread experiment

Ah ha. The cursed Amish friendship bread made an entrance in the office this week. Everyone has done this at one point- you get the bag of bubbly mush, shake it up and add some stuff, and after 10 days you put some of it in bags and pawn it off on your friends. Then you eat an entire bunt pan of coffee cake bread in 2 days, and wonder why your jeans are tight.

Not that I’ve ever done that.

I resisted the urge to bring a bag of starter home yesterday, but then got to thinking– isn’t that pretty much the same idea as sourdough bread? N & I had talked about doing a sourdough starter, but were discouraged by all of the waiting. It can take up to 2 years to get a decent starter with a pleasant level of “sourness”!

I did a bit of googling and decided that I would try taking part of this starter and turning it in a sourdough starter. What the heck, right?!

First I measured out the goop I was given for AFB- 2 1/2 cups. I decided to use 1/2 c. of that for my starter. Inspired by this, I put the goop in a quart jar, added 1/2 c. warm water and 1/2 c. flour, mixed well with a wooden spoon, and covered. The jar is sitting on top of my fridge waiting for its next feeding.

My game plan is to add 1/2 each warm water and flour for the next three days. On the fourth day, I’m going to stir it down (to release most gas), and throw out about half of it. Then I’ll feed it for another 2-3 days, throw some out, and feed for another 4-6 days before trying our first sourdough recipe. It’s a shot in the dark, but I’m willing to try it!

K. Back to the yummy coffee-cake bread.

I was left with 2 cups of day-10 goop and trying to figure out how to make this work… I wanted a batch of bread tonight and an extra starter, and that’s it. I decided that since the original recipe calls for an extra 4 bags plus the current batch, I would work on the assumption of the starter being tailored for a batch of 5. (See this post for the recipe and instructions I got, as I know there variations out there.) 2 1/2 cups of original mush divided by 5 is 1/2 cup each… so I kept 1 cup of the goop. I added 1/2 c. each sugar, flour, and milk, and re-measured: 2 cups. So I put one cup in a clean tupperware and stashed in the fridge for later use, and kept the remaining cup for the batter.

Following still?

THEN, I decided that I did not want two large loaves of Amish bread. Plus, I wanted it sorta healthy but still tasty.  Hmm. I decided to throw all caution to the wind. I added to the cup of starter:

1 egg
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. milk, and mix well. Then add:

1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. wheat flour
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
dash of salt

Mix well again. Fold in one small, very finely diced apple.

The resulting batter was a lot like banana bread, without bananas. The cinnamon and whole wheat flour combo always makes my knees weak- I love the nuttiness, the slight bite.

I baked this in a greased loaf pan at 325 for… oh, I dunno, maybe 35 to 45 minutes? It smells great, but is yet to be tasted.

One thing is for sure- you can’t say I’ve got a boring kitchen. :)

ETA: My experiment produced a moist bread, but it certainly is not coffee-cake like. I would guess that most people would prefer more sugar- 1/2 cup instead of 1/3 should do the trick. I would consider adding more cinnamon and some agave nectar, but all-in-all, it’s a pretty good loaf of breakfast bread.

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the shrillest highs and lowest lows

I am in the middle of so many projects, and it feels really great. I hated Dallas because I worked all day and had nothing to do all night. Coming home at first felt very much the same- work, TV, sleep, rinse and repeat.

But now that N has a job and is working like a CRAZY man… seriously, 12 or 13 hour days, anyone?!… I have a lot of time outside of the 8 or 9 hours at work daily.

So I got my basket spray painted and am letting it dry overnight before tackling the lining. I chose a grayish-taupe:

… which mostly looks white in this picture. I’ll be sure to get a good one of the finished project.

I also got some seeds started today. Yes, it’s early, but I figure that with global warming and the like, hopefully the ground will thaw and I can have these in the ground in 8 weeks?! :)

Not much to see yet! But I decided that the tomatoes can spend a little extra time inside without harm, and if need be, I will transplant into larger containers before they go out. Plus, I plan to keep the herbs- rosemary, basil, oregano, and lavender- as well as the lettuce in containers.

I also made a sourdough starter AND experimented with a version of Amish friendship bread, which will be in the next update. Add the cable neck-warmer I knit that’s being blocked and the feather-and-fan scarf I’m knitting, plus Sierra, and I am far from bored!

Gazing off into the distance. She’s a very deep thinker.

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