Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bread Update and Ink

Two posts in two days, what is going on? No reno work thats for sure.
Here is an update on the bread as promised. Up until now I have had to add yeast to my sourdough bread to get any rise out of it what so ever, so although I was getting the sourdough flavour, it just wasn't true sourdough. I have been using the kitchen aid to do the initial kneading of the dough, enough to bring it all together, then doing the hard yards myself but still with little success, plus the fact, when kneading the dough the bowl of the kitchen aid gets well and truly stuck in the base, has anyone else had this problem?
I use my bread maker constantly but only to make dough and always have lovely textured wholemeal bread, so thought I would just substitute the sourdough ingredients and do the same thing. The feel of the dough was a vast improvement on any of my earlier attempts and it rose up beautifully while sitting in the kitchen during most of yesterday, my timing was all out to leave it overnight in the fridge, so did it as I normally would with a yeast dough but over a much longer period.
The moment of truth came for me to flip it out onto a hot tray, use the trusty lame to give it a quick slashing and then hope for that "oven spring"

Well it sprung all right, but only at one end? So I ended up with this weird looking loaf and yes the end is missing because I just couldn't resist tasting it piping hot straight from the oven. So if anyone reading this has any idea why this may of happened, please leave me a comment, it's a mystery to me. I thought maybe my oven is a lot hotter one side than the other, very possible as it is an absolute heap of junk and I can't wait to get another but we won't go down that path right now.
It could have been cooked longer and the crumb isn't perfect, but it is slightly chewy with a beautiful crust and tastes just great.

I made my starter and bread using this cookbook

The Italian Cookery Course: Over 300 Authentic Regional Recipes and 40 Masterclasses on Technique

It is one of the best cook books I have come across for a while. The bread making section is brilliant and not too complicated. The starter is simple and straight forward and as long as you use organic flour and filtered water, amazingly quick. I have the happiest, bubbliest starter sitting in my fridge ready for my next attempt.

I used the recipe for the Rustic White Bread with Madre, substituting the white flour for wholemeal and increasing the water content by 50ml.
I put the ingredients into the bread maker in the order I would if making a yeast wholemeal dough and used the dough setting.  This is the closest I have come to that perfect sourdough loaf, and by using the bread maker, the one that took the least amount of effort. It has been over two years now since I went out and bought a loaf of bread, so hoping I can get this method to work with consistent results.

On to the Inks and stamps, they arrived yesterday afternoon, too late to do anything with, so this morning I went out the back to play around with them. They are so versatile and I know I am only scratching the surface of what they are capable of but here are a few pages I have started and some "handmade" tags.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Bevy of Bits

The reno's are steaming ahead, when the weather allows us and now becoming inside jobs that make living here just that little bit more challenging. However I have still managed to start some stuff and do some stuff so here is a quick rundown of some of the things that have been happening.

I have a table of body parts awaiting stuffing and some wooden disks that were posted today.

I have started this purple and green creation using the Flip La K technique, but now sure where I am going with this now.

Bought some zentangle books, still waiting for one to arrive, as fancy getting back into a bit of tangling.

Here's my practice page.

Re-discovered these, bought them a while back and forgot all about them, have now ordered 12 more colours as have become addicted to them all over again.

Had a play with my limited colours and a few other bits and pieces to make a couple of journal pages and tags.

Finished these

Started these

And nearly finished this.

Planted some seeds.

Managed to keep the herbs alive despite being covered in sawdust at least once a week.

Bought some wicker breadbaskets and a lame. 

I bought the baskets from Breadtopia, they were wonderful and quick with the delivery and have great tips and recipes for breadmaking. I'm still trying to make a crusty sourdough. I have another starter going and today tried making the dough in the breadmaker. As you can see, it is now sitting in one of the baskets, and fingers crossed, it's looking and feeling much better than my other attempts.
If it works out I'll let you know. By the way those bread lames are wonderful for giving yourself a quick hair cut! My hairdresser left to have a baby, and has decided not to come back to work, who can blame her really, but I have lost the only person that understands my bizarre hair, so in desperation took too it with the bread lame and gave myself the perfect hair cut. Just don't think too hard about the fact you could possibly scalp yourself in the process and you'll be fine, and yes I do change the blade before it goes back to the kitchen for it's intended purpose.

Lastly the three new girls have settled in beautifully, they are so well behaved and friendly. I emptied the compost bin a few weeks ago, and after lifting off the bin, left them to go through it and break it all down before it went on the garden. Was like the biggest chicken birthday cake for them and kept them busy for days.

And one final thing, I have fallen head over hills for the Blackcat Cougar and am desperately trying to convince Santa that I must absolutely have one for Christmas.