Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas List

Just a little note to beloved relatives who might be reading this, I have purchased the kids these books for Christmas, just in case anyone else was as excited as I was about them. I think Conor already knows.

Doe Bay Thanksgiving....

We had to get away for a couple of days to recharge. Tyree and I spent Thursday and Friday soaking in the tubs at Doe Bay on Orcas Island. I had injured my neck the previous weekend in a fall. I’m happy to say that after a couple days of sauna and soaking (torturous bed, notwithstanding) I have regained full mobility.

Here are a couple of pics from the Doe Bay website. I forgot my camera but we had a beautiful full moon. The resort is pretty, but not luxurious. Our cabin was pretty sparse and the furniture and bedding left something to be desired, but the tubs and sauna were worth it all. They have a clean facility.

I think that was our cabin on the right...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pain de Campagne

So, for the record, the flavor of that last loaf was good, but the texture, lightness and crust were NOT.

In my quest for a decent loaf of home baked bread, I bring you Trial II.

I determined problem #1 with the last batch was the ambient temperature of the starter and solution? A heating pad. I placed the bowl of starter on a heating pad set at medium and the next morning it was really happy. I did the same thing with last night's dough with good results. We keep our house col at night because we both sleep better that way. The dough didn't like it.

My first dough was also too moist. We fixed that as well. So first I bring you a stock photo of what pain de campagne should look like:

The traditional photo from France

And then, of course, our French Country Bread:

I think if I had dusted it with flour before baking, it wouldn't be too bad. We'll slice into after we get home from the theater tonight.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

First Sourdough....

I've been experimenting with the new Kitchenaid mixer. I started my own sourdough starter last Saturday and fed in diligently throughout the week. My perception of how much a naturally fermented loaf should rise might have been a little off.

I followed The Village Baker's recipe for Pain de Campagne, from the first step. The last rise was not as successful as I'd hoped for, I think, three reasons: the dough was too moist, the temperature of the house was too low, and I'd added a little too much salt. Also, I managed to get the whole loaf stuck to the surface I was rising it on. I got frustrated and ripped it off and baked it, torn side up. The starter that I'd set aside from this batch doubled in size immediately, a good sign, so I'm going to try again for another loaf tomorrow.

I'm patiently waiting for it to cool.

Thrift store treasure

I picked up this little bench for $6.99 at the Value Village here in town. Bella helped me clean it up and put new upholstery on the seat. If I had to guess, I'd say it went with a vanity. It's the perfect height for spinning yarn at my wheel.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

They say it's your birthday......

it's my birthday too, yeah.....

Thank you, my love.

(Yes, I made homemade dog biscuits for Theta with my new toy.)