Monday, October 18, 2010

Making Bread Pt. 2 & 3

Here is the bread after 12 hours in a warm place, and my two greased loaf pans.

After some satisfying pounding down of the dough, I separate it in half. I give each half and extra knead or two to get some of the bubbles out. These return to the microwave/warm spot for another 12 hours. (I hope you like the shot with my trashcan and Shark steamer mop.)

(Sorry there is no picture for Pt. 3.)
I pop the risen loaves into a 350 degree oven to bake for 30 minutes, or until they are a beautiful golden brown on top. They rest in the pans on a rack for 5-10 minutes, then I flip them out to sit on the rack until they are cooled completely. At this point, I am wanting to slice the loaf in half and eat it. I opt for a single slice with some butter. They need to cool completely before bagging them so they will not mold as fast. Good stuff!!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Making Bread Pt. 1

In college, a friend gave Matthew some potato/sourdough starter. He made the most amazing bread, and I did not understand the process at the time.
Fast forward 9 years....
A friend has given us more starter! Matthew made the bread the first few times, but then I had to make the bread (I can't remember why). Matthew claimed it was better than the bread he makes. I am not a baker, and I never have been. But here is my version of making sourdough bread.

I start with 5 cups of unsifted bread flour, 1/2 C. sugar, and 1 tbs. salt. We prefer Gold Medal Brand Unbleached Flour. On the left you can see my wet ingredients (1 1/4 C. warm water, 1 C. starter, 1/3 C. vegetable oil), and I am getting ready to put the starter back in the fridge. Even if you don't make bread, you must feed the starter at least once a week!

Here I am mixing the wet into the dry ingredients.

I stir it with the wooden spoon (NOT metal) until it begins to get sticky. Then I start to mix it with my hands, and I add more flour until I get a consistency that is still a little sticky but not dry either. I usually flip it onto the counter to finish kneading it, and I wash and dry the bowl.

I add oil to the bowl, then put the dough in and flip it over to coat all sides with the oil.

I cover it, and then it sits in the microwave (it can go on top of the fridge if you have space) to rise for 12 hours. See you at 10am tomorrow!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


When we built the house, we knew curtains were needed to help protect all the wood trim and floors from the sun. I wanted to make curtains, because I haven't seen any for sale that suit this house. This summer I found a fabric that was perfect, and then it sat all summer because I could not decided how to make the curtains. Should I make tabs, or just an opening?
Matthew and I went to the store and figured it out. We purchased some plain curtains for his office (temporary, I hope), and decided to buy rings that clip to a panel. A simple panel! Why didn't I think of that? I made one complete curtain that afternoon. I made 2 more (4 panels) yesterday. It took ALL day. I am lining them which is difficult. Each panel was re-pinned at least once, but I think they look nice. Matthew thinks they help accentuate the trim around the windows.

Pinning and ironing was part of the problem. I don't have a large, flat surface on which to iron my panel. Matthew just had a great idea to lower the ironing board to the level of the table so the panel will stay flat. Great. Now he tells me. Haha!
It did feel good to get out the sewing machine. :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kitten Update

My goodness it has been awhile, and the boys have been growing! They are almost tall enough to knock over the trash can. Miles and Dizzy have recently discovered they can run up and down the stairs, and Miles almost figured out how to go through the cat door. I locked it so he could not get into the basement. Here's a pic of the boys chasing each other up the stairs.

My friend, Beth, gave me this box for toys.

Moldy is doing about the same. She hisses and growls at them. Apparently, I have a nice little head cold that kept me up last night. At one point the kittens were outside the bedroom door, and Moldy, curled up in the bed with us, hissed and growled when she heard them. Oh well... I am going to make her have some forced family time in the same room with the kittens today.