Saturday, April 10, 2010
On a whim I weighed myself this morning and was shocked to see I've lost 5 more lbs. How can this be?
The last few weeks I've been prone to binging because of stress of various kinds, and have not had my own best interest at heart when preparing food to eat. Apparently I haven't eaten to the extent I felt like I'd done, or else I've been more active because of the warmer weather lately. Who can say.
Maybe I wasn't joking when I said that sourdough bread is a good appetite suppressant. I told a friend that I felt like my homemade sourdough bread kept on rising after I'd eaten any, making me feel quite full after having just a piece of it. Perhaps there's some truth to that!
This week will start my adventures in other kinds of bread baking. I've accomplished my own starter, and I've baked some awesome sourdough bread from it; now I am ready to explore other methods of creating bread by the work of my own two hands.
Friday, April 09, 2010
Another page turned, another chapter started. By weekend's end, I think I'll have my home to myself again. It's interesting to note how much I enjoyed having another person living here, and that I'll miss her greatly, but ... always the 'but... '.
But the truth is that I greatly enjoy having guests, even long-term guests, and in the end they go to wherever they live and I haven't made any big changes to my life along the way. I love to cook for others, fuss over others, talk and walk and cry with others, and laugh over silly stories with others. I need that fellowship. We all do.
There's a difference, however, between fellowship and being a welcome mat, and I am not a strong enough person to accept the latter as "who I am".
In bread news, I purchased a book that had positive reviews on the Fresh Loaf website, and am reading it. It seems to be a good tutorial on what makes ciabatta, ciabatta; the difference between a boule and a batard; folding vs kneading, etc.
Because of the elevation, I have been told that I need to make my sourdough drier, and I think I need to set my oven hotter to get a good crust on it. And there's the method of flash steam production to create a chewy, crisp crust. Onward I go, armed and armored.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
So I have a huge bowl of sourdough that needs to come to room temp. before I punch it down and shape it into loaves. I want to get 4 loaves out of this batch.
It is interesting to note that I live in a rather remote region of California, where people have historically made do or done without. I wanted to brag and glow about my adventures in sourdough, but guess what? Everyone and her neighbor has his/her own starter in the fridge at home! Well, of course that's not an accurate count, but a lot more people out here make their own breads than I ever knew.
An old friend stopped in on her way home from Tahoe to Tacoma, and brought me the mixer I'd bought years ago and had delivered to her house because at the time I was planning a permanent move to WA. I was fixin' to make cookies this evening... then discovered that the power cord is not in the box! Not sure if she knows where it is, so the cookie making party will have to wait.
Otherwise, we had a wonderful visit. She had to leave this morning, but hopefully her "business" in Tahoe will bring here to these parts again.
It is so nice to be with old friends. Everyone I know has helped to shape my life in some manner, some more than others, but all have their marker at the forks in my road where I diverged.
And, to do some soul cleaning, I am taking back my home. Since I am, for the most part, by myself, I want the spare room cleared out so I can start storing the stuff that was there before the room was needed. It has served its purpose, and is no longer needed, but sometimes we get fixed into a pattern and it's necessary to feel that gentle nudge to get going again. So this I have done. It feels good. I feel good.
All because of sourdough.
Monday, April 05, 2010
I made my first sourdough loaves this weekend, using my handcrafted starter. The rye flour I started using makes to me a milder sour smell, and so the breads came out great, but not as sour as I would prefer. Once this rye flour is used up, I'll switch back to whole-wheat flour for a few days and bake again and see if I prefer that. Or maybe I should wait another couple of weeks to see if aging helps the starter sour up some.
It was a weekend of binging, though. Bread bread and more bread. I know that after a week of nonstop exerimentation with sourdough, I'll settle into a more realistic baking routine of about once per week. Being so new to this project, I just can't get enough of this stuff!
Today I put on my scrubs to go to work and I felt bloated.
Win some, lose some.
The stormy weather prevented me from going to the farmer's market, so this Thursday is the afternoon one that's more like a street fair every week, and I hope to also stock up on eggs from a local humane egg farmer.
I read the Spark essay on motivation, and I need to glue that piece to my forehead. By the time I get home in the afternoons, I'm so drained that it's all I have to get the dogs fed, and then I'm ready to just fall into bed and stay there. This is not good. Part of it is that I don't have an exercise routine yet, and once I get that going, I'll feel a lot better. Part of it is that I am beginning to absolutely dislike where I work. The options are not attractive, and there's certainly no guarantee that changing jobs will make things better.
It's hard to have faith that life is occuring at the proper speed and with the proper timing of events.
If I can nurture a sourdough starter, surely I can nurture my soul a little bit better.
Saturday, April 03, 2010
I know there are people who extoll the virtues of their bread machines or their mixers with dough hook action and so on and so forth, but there is something therapeutic and healing about the simple act of making bread by the work of one's hands.
I love baking bread. I wish I was a lot better at it. My breads keep coming out kind of dry and crumbly, not suitable for slicing for toast or sandwiches, only for grabbing hunks and chomping down with some cheese. I don't know what is wrong, but practice will make, if not perfect, then a lot better.
Sometimes, it doesn't really matter how the dough is worked. Sometimes, the scent of baking bread is enough to cure what ails one.
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