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Saturday, September 23, 2006  

Math is our Friend

And now for something completely different. My brain is a little fried due to a bunch of different reasons but I wanted to use up the last of my yeast so I could put the whole new package of yeast in its container. Ummm does that sound like a weird reason to make bread? Not really.

Anyway, for some reason I decided I'd make Pinewoods camp dark bread. Years ago I'd begged the recipe from the camp cook, but it made 25-30 loaves. I tinkered with it, noted that it was way sticky, but as I recall it made decent bread. As I see now, strangely the recipe is in cups and measures rather than weight. Hmmmmm, well I should be able to fix that if I weigh things as I make it this time. And, I thought, I could also deal with sticky dough now as I couldn't back then.

So it began. I took my cut-down version and put it together, measuring out the volume and weighing it. That went along ok. The dough is white, rye and whole wheat flours so it's pretty heavy compared to the weekly ciabatta. I let "pearl" the kitchenaid do her thing and the dough came together. It wasn't as sticky as I recalled, but predictably it was pretty dense.

I tucked it into the microwave with the door ajar to let the light warm it. It rose amply in 90 minutes, so I shaped it and put it back to rise again. Not bad in another hour so I fired up the oven, hotter than I had noted in the past. The original recipe didn't come with much baking instructions so I know I was winging that part.

While it was baking (this time with a properly steamed oven and with one loaf being slashed pre-bake) I sat down with St. H to figure out how the baker's percentages worked out. Fascinating. First off, in typing up the cut back version I had left out one ingredient all-together. I made up for it today by adding just a splash more water for hydration! But other than that, the percentages were just about spot on. By this I mean that the cut back version was very close to what I estimated the total recipe to be using the numbers I had. Cool.

Now I have to wait for it to cool a bit so I can see what the inside looks like. Understandably, the slashed loaf is more relaxed and folky looking. The un-slashed loaf is round and tidy.

St. H comments that when you do the numbers you can see at a glance if the proportions of the recipe are reasonable. Totally, and with the molasses that I deleted accidentally, the total hydration was great for a nice dough. So until next time...

Update: No big stretch to imagine that without the molasses the bread was, um...., not the best tasting! Not horrific and not as bad as I thought it would be but certainly not the yummy bread of my memory. Try try again.

Written at: 3:07:00 PM

Monday, September 18, 2006  

OK, I didn't really pray to the photo-gods, but I was very excited to pick up the two rolls of slides today and see - yes! images of quilt! First one too light. Second one, quite nice. Detail, very nice. Next roll, darker - fabulous! Details, even better. All good.

Packaged them all up, went back to work, finished the paperwork and put it all in the shipping envelope. Called to double make sure that pickup was arranged - ooops, no pickup on record but now it's all set! And voila - picked up and out of my hands. I can do no more.

So I'm finishing my last few postcards. Just sewing is actually fun!

All this stressing and pushing to get this quilt done and entry done and out - certainly not part of the fun. But lately I've missed a lot of show opportunities and I just decided I wasn't going to miss this one, pipe-dream as it might be. The best part of it all is - I really like this quilt a lot. It's different from my past work but an easy off shoot of what went before. It taught me a few things about lines and what non-precision gets you. And now....

On to the next!

Written at: 10:30:00 PM

Sunday, September 17, 2006  

The Joy of Living in the Country

hens they come a visiting

You just never know who'll be coming up your walk when you look out in the morning... These are my neighbor's new acquisition some japanese variety, but aka food for neighborhood foxes. It was nice to see them sunning themselves on my marble walkway.

Written at: 12:42:00 PM

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