How fast does yeast adapt to its environment? Is it possible that in a few short months my sourdough starter has evolved into something that doesn't care so much for the warmer end of the temperature range? My starters are perking along happily without additional heating, great oven spring etc. At a (by most people's standard) rather cool room temperature my final build easily doubles and bubbles in under 12 hours. The two starters bubble away on their own with only a modest input of food from time to time.
No complaints from me, mind you. I think they've grown into something that gives a nice tang to the bread without being overwhelming. And the notion of making two big loaves of bread from an ounce of starter (not dry yeast - but starter!) is amazing to me, even now that I am doing it often.
OK - bulk fermentation is underway, the dough is coalescing and growing. In an hour or so I'll fold it which will give it a great leap in strength and then into the frig for a real cool temperature rising so it can be baked tomorrow night.
Thanks yeastie boyz!
3/28/2005 08:45:00 PM
After making some red stuff tonight and starting a new bread build, I decided I really really really needed to make some progress on the latest project (the one with the looming deadline. Oh wait - one of two with a looming deadline....) so I headed up to the sewing room.
There I managed to use up all my wonder under and even managed to make a few boo boos but nothing that couldn't be re-done. My current plan is to work in layers. The dominant part of the design is the top most layer, so once that's pretty much in order I'll go in and add whatever shadowy things I need below and whatever highlights I need on top. Some coloration is possible with stitching too. But right now -- choose and cut.
Let's just say I have a lot more colors to choose from than I thought I did. That's a quite OK thing!
This** is from a poster to the QuiltArt mailing list, where people are in the midst of the semi-annual - what's wrong with you people, write something that entertains, delights (me), and is on-topic - discussion. This is also known as the - use your delete key idiot if you don't like it - discussion.
Kinda renews your faith in the power of the 'net, eh, to know that all lists are the same universally!
Just that time of year. Nothing to see - please move along.
** This is actually really funny (requires flash and moderately fast connection) - funny enough to make sitting through the semi-annual discussion while deleting almost worthwhile.
We're in what could best be called the swinging of the seasons. One day - in the forties, an imaginable spring seeping up from the ground and making a nice early mud season squish. That night - a few snow flakes, a big drop in temperature, a lot of snow flakes, a lot more snow flakes, six inches of snow flakes.
In the north east, we can't really bemoan this. This is really a normal part of our year. If the weather stays doing something for more than a few days, that fact alone becomes a topic of weather conversation. Whatever else is going on, the march towards spring continues, even as we are about to leave March and go boldly into April.
I had hoped to be in the sewing room, cutting and moving around fabric tonight but instead I opted for a quick trip to the market, an extremely nice dinner of chops and cauliflower and a big dish wash up. Not so exciting except that now the dishes are done. I also started the preferment for a new batch of bread so we can have fresh baked bread with dinner on Sunday. Wednesday night I stopped at Borders and looked at two other bread books that I often hear about from other bread bakers. They were both similar to the book I'm working from in that the recipes aren't really recipes, but formula - geared towards getting the baker/reader to think in terms of relative proportions. Both had some information on things like 'what IS autolyse" and why it's a very good thing. I couldn't really justify two more books when I've just begun to make a dent in what my book offers, but I did very much enjoy looking at the big difference between my book and the others: pictures! Ah HA! So that's what you would consider a (medium dough consistency)(shaggy dough)(strong dough). Ah HA! Oh - before autolyse and after. (just like mine!) Before and after folding! (just like mine!) Oh!
So someday perhaps I'll spring for these other books, but in the meantime, I am grateful that I was able to get some reassurance that I'm doing ok.
I have made a little progress on the new quilt, but I'm needing to work on how to get some lightness in the center and am thinking about how many colors I want to involve. Sometimes too many colors is just too many. Sometimes you need more to make it all happen. I may end up trying more and less and seeing which one makes it work.
The whole bread-making thing is a good sort of connection. Takes some commitment of time, although you could talk on the phone or watch TV inbetween times that you need to be attentive. Has positive results in the world, making the baker and the baker's co-workers quite happy and the baker's house quite good smelling. Apparently makes the yeastie boyz quite happy too as evidenced in this photo taken 12 hours after starting the pre-ferment (a la St. H). They are so happy they no longer seem to care about ambient temperature. I'm happy about that too!
As a society, we need to approach our personal technologies with a greater awareness of how the pursuit of personal convenience can contribute to collective ills. When it comes to abortion or Social Security, we avidly debate the claims of individual freedom against other goods. Why shouldn't we do the same with our private technologies? In the end, it does matter if we watch six more hours of television every week, and it does affect our broader quality of life if hollering into our cellphones makes our daily commute a living hell for our fellow citizens on the bus or a danger to other drivers on the road. Rather than turning on, tuning in and dropping out, we might perhaps do better, individually and socially, to occasionally simply turn our machines off.
Sometimes it just means deciding - what am I doing now -- shopping or talking on the phone? Just make up your mind and try to hold that thought for a few minutes.
I am a little past the halfway point for the first pass of sewing the squares together. Here's where the urge to see it finished is helpful. Like many things in life, the urge to create is often easily daunted by the realities of actually creating (I have to cut out how many squares? and sew them together? and then what? are you kidding?) or by the fears of creating (what if I can't do it? what if I screw it up? who am I kidding - I'm not good enough) or creatings aftermath (what if they hate it? what if they hate me? what if I fail?)
I find for projects that are developing, regardless of how much time elapsed from first glimmer of an idea to 'ok, starting now' I have a real interest in seeing how they turn out. Will it be similar to what's in my head? Will the colors work the way I hope? What will happen with this next bit? That and some good music or audio entertainment can really see you through the longer repetitive parts!
I recently read a book by Eric Maisel which talks about embracing the dualities -- understanding that you can't be all one thing and not the other. It's not possible to just love process or product - art requires both. Sometimes you need process. Sometimes it's the product. Why spend time struggling against what has to be. Right now, I'm sewing small squares together because that's what I need to do in order to achieve my idea - in order to create.
We probably already knew that, those of us who've been doing it for awhile, but it's nice to see it in black and white. Thanks George for proving the article's points and sending us to read about it!
In other blog news, I am glad to look down and see some comments on recent posts. Not only is it good for my ego, but it's good for all of us when people participate in each other's web sites. It's the whole active thing that the above article mentions.
And finally, my stats are showing that more and more traffic is coming from other web sites in the art quilters web ring. I found the stats which show where traffic comes from and how often people jump off my site onto another web ring member's blog. The majority of visitors (welcome!) still come here via google (thanks google for being so blog-friendly!) but more and more folks are coming here with a quilt interest. Well folks, that's what it's all about. Content and being found. Get found, have something reasonably interesting and be a part of it all. Web site 101.
And finally -- I've got the first few columns of the latest project sewn together. Seems like a no-big-deal thing doesn't it - sewing little squares together. Well folks, there is just so much that can go wrong... But it's looking good!
3/05/2005 11:36:00 PM
Bottle of DayQuil, $6.49. Being appreciated for showing up to work when sick, priceless.
I came in Friday after a very busy week at work, filling in for a vacationing co-worker, all the while down with a really bad cold/virus thing and was given a lovely little arrangement of yellow and white flowers. I love yellow and white flowers but I loved being appreciated!
3/05/2005 11:41:00 AM
Bet You Haven't Done These
There's a meme that apparently started on LiveJournal - List ten things that you have done that your friends and readers probably haven't. Took some head scratching, but here's my list:
Intubated a cat (don't ever think you can't find it on the 'net)
Moved most of a half ton of paper (in boxes) about 6 feet in about 20 minutes
Took care of a racoon for a weekend - and what a nightmare of a baby-sitting experience that was!
Went to the filming of the king kong remake - the scene after he falls off the WTC. (Years later told my mother that I took the subway to get there. At night.)
Signed up as a bone marrow donor. 10 years later get a call that I'm a match. They ask me a few questions and I'm disqualified because I take meds for mild asthma. (OK, they gotta be kidding me that I can't donate bone marrow because my asthma is controlled. So I hope you'll go sign up to be a donor too.)
Yes it's squares again. No, I'm not putting red strips on this one too. Yes, it's really green and browns. Some yellow. More color to come. Yes there are a lot of squares. 900 of them actually and I have about two thirds of them laid out. Sometimes a limited palette is a good thing and sometimes, even when it's a good thing, it's challenging to stay on task and lay stuff out. Sometimes it's good to take a break and use the camera and computer to see how it's going.