Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category


A little discipline

In Baking,Cooking,Gardening,Knitting on March 16, 2010 by Queue

I’ve said it before, and I’ll likely say it again.

I’m going to make an attempt to post more regularly.  My goal is weekly.

So let’s see, what’s been going on around here . . .

Well, I’ve told you about the puppy.

I’ve got one finished sweater and one that’s nearly done.  I’ve finished a couple pairs of socks.  I’ve got a couple hats I made back when my head was cold.  I’m working on a really pretty lace piece and I have a shrug to finish for Curly. When I’ve got some good light, I’ll get Seth to help me get some pictures!

Also, I’ve decided not to garden too seriously this year.  I just don’t want to play with tomatoes in big pots and the hazards of dry weather, or cool weather, or a lack of sunshine.  One of the nearby farmer’s markets has a CSA, and I’m going to try to get us subscribed.  Between that, my garden crazy MIL, and the other farmer’s markets around we should be just fine.

I’ve been using my copy of Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day more lately.  It’s fantastic to have dough on hold in the fridge for when you want some warm bread with dinner.  Or burger buns, which I never remember to buy or make until we’ve already dug the ground beef out of the freezer to make patties.  I found some great instructions for making sliders here.  And we had a great time making and eating them.

We’ve been having some good fun here.



Thoughts on the Granola

In Baking on October 3, 2007 by Queue

It was good! I made another batch this week. This might be my new favorite snack!


Of Bread and Family

In Baking,Life on March 27, 2007 by Queue

I did a bit of baking a couple weeks back. I was having a little fun with my knife – see?

Unfortunately, that’s the extent of the fun/photographed stuff I have to post about this week. And it may be a little while before I get around to anymore of that stuff. My MIL and SIL have come to visit this week, which is great. There was a mixup with their rental car, which isn’t so great, but totally workable. And I’ll be coming home over my dinner breaks to hang out with them, so not much knitting (I have mixed feelings about this, is that sad?)

If we have madcap adventures, I’ll try to take pictures.


I love day’s like today . . .

In Baking,Cooking,Knitting on February 14, 2007 by Queue

Have you had a day lately, where you finally realize that you haven’t eaten anything since you got up, and that the cup of coffee you drank a couple hours ago might need some company? That’s today. Now, I didn’t get up until a bit after noon, but once I got up, I hit the ground running. I did about half the laundry, a little knitting, had a mini photo shoot (the fruit of which you’ll be seeing for a few days), fired up the dueling crock pots and started down the long road to four loaves of sourdough bread. So, I ate my breakfast, which consisted of a bowl of yogurt with honey and cinnamon and a bit of ceral, at 4:55.

Speaking of sourdough – I don’t think I’ve introduced you to the new starter. Meet Fredda:

Isn’t she cute? I’ve decided to try a liquid starter this time, because as much as I liked the solidity of the stiff starter, I’ve decided that I prefer being able to stir the flour and water I’m feeding the starter into it, instead of having to knead it in.

I love the earthiness of sourdough. It amazes me that all I put into this loaf is some flour, water and salt. The starter was made from flour and water, and to that I just add more flour and water and a bit of salt. Then all I have to do is wait, and by some miracle, it rises into a loaf of bread that once baked is light, lofty, chewy, tangy and wonderful.

But it takes forever to get from start to finish. And with my schedule (remember, I got up at noon) it usually means finally baking the bread around midnight. I’m working on how to time this out so it fits life a little better, because I love the bread, but I don’t get too many chance to make it. 12-16 hours of starter development, 2 hours of initial rising, 4-5 hours for the first real rise, 4-5 hours for the second rise, and close to an hour to bake. 23-29 hours, yipe!

I have a new project in the works, and despite my trepidations, it’s flying off my needles.

This is the hood of the baby sweater, and the beginnings of the shoulder shaping. That’s a day’s worth of progress. I haven’t done much to it today, besides take it’s picture, because I’ve been doing all that stuff I listed at the beginning of the post. I think I can finish the shoulder shaping tonight and move on to the body of the sweater.

I have a question to pose with this sweater. The pattern I’m loosely following has two sets of ties near the neck of the sweater, and I don’t like them. So, if anyone wishes to answer me: What is the best closure for a toddler’s cardigan sweater? Buttons? Snaps? A zipper?

Now, about those dueling crockpots:

This is a crockpot recipe for steel cut oats, that makes either delicious creamy oameal, or if you let it cool, a polenta like semi-congealed oaty loveliness that can be cut into bars. I’m hoping it will make it easier for me to remember to eat breakfast on these “hit the floor running days.” It might pack well to take for dinner at work too. This particular rendition contains steel cut oats, milk, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and some partly cooked cranberries.

This is a hybrid recipe. I combined parts of two chili recipes. This is a sweet potato chili with ground pork and some of our home made chipotle chilis. It smells good, I’ll report back on how it tastes.


More Adventures in Baking

In Baking on September 21, 2006 by Queue

To continue on the baking theme . . . I did bake a few loaves of sourdough the other day, I just didn’t get a chance to post pics because I ran out of time.
After adding flour and water to the starter, I had a dough ball

This I kneaded, and let rise for one hour. Then I folded it like a letter twice, and let it rise for another hour. Another set of letter folds and it was left to rise for a couple hours. I then formed it into a round loaf and placed it upside down in a colander lined with a towel. After another three hours or so, I carefully turned this out onto a baking sheet and put it in the oven. This made a loaf of bread.

I’m not entirely satisfied with the process, neither it’s length or how the bread turned out – I don’t like my crust that dark – but the bread tastes just fine.
Next time I think I’m going to forego the round loaf and make the loaves in my bread pans, for easier sandwich construction. Also, I’m going to turn down the heat in the oven a bit, and bake a little longer, which will make a less burnt looking crust.
I ended up with four loaves of bread from that baking day and we already had one in the freezer from some I’d made earlier – so I won’t need to bake again for a little while. Now I’m trying to decide what to make next.
Whatever I do, the next baking day needs to include some more ciabatta – or chewbacca bread (the boy “re-named” it) – for sandwich buns. It makes a great panini, and we’re betting it would be good as texas toast and hamburger buns.


Baking Day

In Baking on September 10, 2006 by Queue

Not too much going on in the gardening arena, and nothing to photograph of the knitting projects right now . . . but I did bake today. I also cleaned the bathroom, but that’s not half as exciting, even to me.

So I decided a couple days ago to make a Ciabatta (Italian for slipper, bakenese for crusty italian bread with lots of holes in it)

This process starts with a biga

Meet Biga:

After a day or so, that’s what happens to a small amount of flour, water and yeast, left in an oiled bowl.

So I mixed that with some more flour, water, and a little more yeast. Then I put it back in the oiled bowl to rise. This is when I went and cleaned the bathroom, made the bed, put away the laundry, and finally got out of my pj’s. After a couple hours, I poured the blob out on the bread board, and poked it and stretched it so it finally looked like this, when I put it on the cookie sheet:

After another hour and a half or so, it looked like this:

Then it went in to a very hot oven, and came out like this:

Meanwhile, I had to bring a fan into the kitchen, because it was getting quite warm. I let the loaf cool a bit, and then sliced into it:

After that I decided it was time for lunch:

Nevermind the fact that it was around four o’clock. I had breakfast around noonish, so it worked out nicely. So, I noshed on fresh bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, olives stuffed with garlic cloves, hardboiled eggs, and carrots while I put these pictures on the laptop. It was a good day.


Sourdough Saga

In Baking on September 5, 2006 by Queue

I’m making a new sourdough starter – so this time I thought I’d document its growth.

Day 1: 9/2

Added – 120g organic whole wheat flour, 120g water
Removed – nothing
Aroma – wet wheat
Consistency – a moistened and stiff dough

Day 2: 9/3

Directions – there will be no visible change in the color or texture of the starter. Do nothing.

This was the day we spent up on the Northern Neck helping my grandparents, I have no pictures, though I assume it looked much like it did day 1, maybe a little bigger.

Day 3: 9/4

Removed – 120g starter (approx half the original amount) before feeding
Aroma – slightly wheaty, with an unknown note
Consistencey – a moist dough
Added – 60g flour, 60g water

Day 4: 9/5

(no before picture, my apologies)

Removed – 120g starter (approx half the original amount) before feeding
Aroma – cheese, more specifically, white cheddar cheese puffs
Consistency – thick pancake batter
Added – 60g flour, 60g water

Day 5: 9/6

Removed – 120g starter (approx half the original amount) before feeding
Aroma – Cheese with a trace of fresh paint
Consistency – thick pancake batter
Added – 60g flour, 60g water

“You will now have about 1 cup of active starter. (You may feel the impulse to give it a name. Give in to it . . .)”

If anyone would like to suggest a good name for my starter, I’d appreciate it. I want to give it an interesting name. Now I must keep feeding it daily for two weeks.

For the record – I have been working from “The Bread Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum.