Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Another Brilliant Bread Recipe by My Husband - This Time Sourdough


Well, he did it again! If I wasn't already struggling with the COVID19 -- 15lbs, I sure am now with all this delicious sourdough bread! My husband, an avid and accomplished bread baker already, he has been working tirelessly to create his own sourdough bread recipe for our new environment here in the hills. 

Moving from California left us wanting a few things that we took for granted. One of those things was a good crusty sourdough bread! We loved heading into Tartine for a good loaf to bring home and devour. They have several really fantastic books, like this one, this one and this one, too.

My sweetheart, (Bu or Brett for those of you who don't know him, yet), was at a hardware store here in the country and found, of all things,  "Homemade Country Sourdough Bread," which had been made locally but was $10.00 for a small loaf. 

I went home to California in September and was so missing sourdough that I bought three loaves from Acme in San Francisco, because I couldn't reach Tartine without an expensive Uber ride. I shipped them all home where Bu sliced them and froze them.

At the time he was perfecting his recipe and his starter had already been used on two loaves. But, he was struggling with rise and consistency but the flavor was top notch!

I think he was sort of miffed by having to slice the ones I sent home and also was determined to create his own so we wouldn't have to miss the crunch of a freshly toasted and buttered piece of Sourdough bread. 

He's done it! And, he has written it out for me to share with you! If you try the recipe, please let me know how it went! I'll also post the pics on Instagram.

Above and the three following photos are the first successful loaf using his fine tuned recipe. It is his own recipe! 

This one (above and below) is his second successful loaf using the recipe down below. It is no fail recipe although it will take patience. Good Luck!

Oh, it's delicious. A toasty, buttery warm hug in your tummy!

Brett's Sourdough Bread Recipe 

90 grams sourdough starter
552 grams flour (He uses a combination of a  1/2 cup of whole wheat flour plus bread flour).
346 grams of water
2 tsp. salt

Based on all of his trial and error, he has found that measuring by weight is better for the end result than just measuring by cup.

*Mix starter and water together
*add flour
*add salt
*mix all in a mixer with a dough hook for 10 minutes
*cover and let rest for 15 minutes
*use the stretch and fold method for 2 sets of folding and turn it seam side down (autolyzing)
*Cover it and let it rest another 15 minutes
*Stretch it again for another two sets and turn it seam side down again (autolyzing)
*Cover and let rise for 12 hours ( an overnight rise is ideal)
*Stretch and fold two times, again (autolyzing)
*cover to rest for 15 minutes
*Stretch and fold for another 2 sets (final autolyze)
*place the dough on parchment in a bowl and cover it to rise for 2 1/2 hours
*Sprinkle flour over dough after 2.5 hour rise
*heat oven to 500F with the dutch oven in it (this will be your baking vessel)
*Place the parchment/dough in the dutch oven
*Score the dough to your liking (Brett has used several designs - see the photos above for examples)
*Bake in the dutch oven in the 500F degree oven for 25 minutes with the lid on the dutch oven
*remove lid from dutch oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes (Internal temp should be 208 F)
*Remove dutch oven, remove bread from dutch oven and place on cooling rack
*Once cool, slice and eat!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Comforting Homemade Rye Bread Amidst Virus Mayhem

Hi from our house, in what used to be a bustling city. The devastation that SARS-CoV2 has wreaked is unimaginable, worldwide and disturbing. With such insurmountable unknowns and all the whispers around us, we are all looking for a little comfort. 

I find comfort with the calm spirit of my husband, the gratitude that I feel and then record in a little jar, video chatting with friends and developing new skills like bread baking. 

I feel very reluctant though to put this on Facebook or Insta because with the unprecedented unemployment rate, people are struggling with feeding themselves and their families. I guess I feel sort of guilty and that it may be in bad taste? But I have donated both time and money to food banks.  Maybe you could donate to help people who may be going to bed hungry here or here, too?

I am thankful everyday for my job (I love it!) and the means to run around all over Sacramento trying to find the barterable commodity that is yeast. It took 3 weeks and every search possible to finally find yeast so I could learn to make bread. Phew! In my wildest imagination, I never thought yeast would be in shortage.

The bread baking adventure was spearheaded by Bu who is a very accomplished baker and pizza dough maker. But I wanted to give it a whirl too.

Bulent uses a recipe a friend shared with him (The 21 Hour Bread), but I found one at Jenny Can Cook, that was faster (I struggle with impatience). You can see Jenny baking this bread here. I built on her recipe and my bread turned out pretty good with the tweaks which included Caraway Seeds (usually Rye Bread has Rye flour but I don't have any on hand and didn't really give a hoot anyway). I have also made a walnut loaf with toasted walnut pieces using this same recipe.

Keep reading for the recipe of this delicious, fast bread loaf. You can do it! If you try it, will you comment on the Facebook post that this is attached to? I would love to hear about it!

Fresh from the oven.

The crust was perfection.

It was in the oven for 30 minutes and then another 15 but the subsequent times I have made it, I skip the second bake.

Toasted, with butter - the best way to see if I was successful!

Quick No Knead Rye Bread (4 hours total!)

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. yeast (any kind will do!)
  • 1 tsp. salt (for flavor)
  • 2 tsp. Caraway seeds
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  1. Add all dry ingredients to mixing bowl
  2. Add water that has been heated to between 120 and 130 degrees fahrenheit. (You'll talk to yourself here and say it's too dry, but trust me, it's not. In Jenny's recipe (link above) she says 1 1/2 cups water but my dough was WAY too wet and stick which made forming it a real mess and then the bread loaf looked more like a puffy pancake than a loaf of bread.)
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise on the counter for 3 hours.
  4. After the initial rise, flour your work surface - it's time to shape your dough. Put your dough on a freshly floured surface and shape it into a bread round - this will go into the hot dutch oven.
  5. Line a clean bowl with parchment paper and put your shaped dough in the bowl. Cover with a towel.
  6. Heat the oven to 450 fahrenheit. Use an oven safe temperature gauge so you can get it just right. Put a dutch oven in the oven to heat as well. 
  7. Once the oven has reached the baking temperature, put your shaped dough (on the parchment) into the dutch oven. If you're feeling fancy, score the bread dough - there are some really cute designs you can attempt and it dissuades a weird rupture.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes. Jenny's recipe calls for a second baking uncovered for another 15 minutes, but since I have removed some moisture, this recipe doesn't need the second uncovered baking. 
  9. Enjoy!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Crazy Doll Lady

As many of you know I have been in love with dolls for a better part of my life. At 10 years old, I fell in love with a French Corolle Doll Catherine Refabert in 1981 and saved and saved and saved all the money from my allowance and babysitting so I could possess this uncanny creature. When I look at her now, (yes, I still have her), I am not sure what captivated me so much; I love her still nevertheless.

This is Sad Sunny. She is the first Takara Tomy Blythe that I customized on a Scotty Mum base. She wears a dress set by Chu Things and a Boater Hat by El Gato. I really love her; if you look closely, you can see a tear on her cheek.

As I grew, my love for dolls simmered beneath my "I must be cool" exterior and so I sort of forgot about them. I did not indulge in that obsession until I saw "her" on Pinterest. I wish she was in my collection. I simply squirreled away this enchanting little "person" for a rainy day. Never did I think this would be the rabbit hole it has become and now I wonder what in the world I did without dolls.

You'll want to see more of Floriana's work at Almond Doll.

Now, I am entirely shameless and couldn't give a fig about what anyone thinks about this obsession of mine becasue I really can't think of anything that "sparks joy" more than my hobby for these uncanny little creatures. Call me a crazy doll lady if you want, but everytime I capture a photo just right or make a new doll hobby friend or add a treasure to the collection or recieve dolly mail, it is a little gratitude ritual for me. And one of the greatest things about this love of mine is that I am not alone out there! I have doll friends all over the world and two of my best are right here in Elk Grove and Napa! Lucky me!

My sweet "Marion" customized by Kata at Unnie Dolls. She IS part of my collection and she is one of the sweetest little creatures I have ever seen.
But it isn't just the dolls that are a draw for me. It's everything! The fashions for instance are AWESOME!! I almost love the fashion more than the dollies themselves. (Almost). And some of the fashion artists in our community have so much talent it's unreal!

Above are from Moshi Moshi Studio by my truly beautiful friend Hilary. She creates these little confections in a little craft cottage far away in Cornwall,  England with the help of her little crew of Moshling's. I have a few of her creations (see above on Marion) but you can never have too many! If you want one of her designs you'll have to be quick and hope that paypal is up to date and that your cache is cleared and that your first born is ready to be traded. I'm very thankful that she is a personal friend. I love her and she has helped me on my own journey of sewing doll clothes.

Below are all fashions by Maria at Chu Things. She is also one of my favorites. It's impossible to pick just one favorite because each doll has her own personality and therefore style.

I customize dolls (see Sunny up there), but it takes me a very long time. And while I am not the best doll artist out there, I love the feeling of accomplishment I get after finishing a doll. I don't command the prices of Erin Deir or Casey of Cupcake Curio but I still feel like a part of an artists community. Below are a few of mine.

This is "Julia." I just completed her last week. She has gone to a new home.

This is Valentina. She is on an Icy Doll base. The Icy Doll is a sister mold to Blythe. Learn more from Casey at Bebe Blythe. She is wearing a Pomme Pomme under skirt and stockings and a felt hat made by me.
And last but not least is Genevievre better known as Gigi my little "Dear One."  She is wearing a skirt by Moshi Moshi and shirt and ears by Pomme Pomme.