Friday, November 5, 2021

It's Fall Y'all

Up here on the hill we are into fall, full swing. As we head closer to winter it is getting colder by the second. But the fall color up here never disappoints even as the days get shorter. I have been so inspired by this season that I think my photos have gotten better, my cooking seems to have better aromas, my creativity has been sparked and my physical fitness has been charged. I am, by body, a summer girl. But, by soul, an Autumn girl, no question. I am an October baby, born on the last day of Libra. It is said, that as a "cusper," I have a touch of Scorpio in me which makes me a full fledged Fall Baby!

These mood boards are the best visual way I can show you how I feel. Most of them below are from my Pinterest board called Mood Boards

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!