The 1st anniversary of my bread-making adventure :)

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Today is the 1st anniversary of my bread-making adventure!

And what an adventure it has been 🙂

I first got enticed by commercial yeast by chance, and tried my first loaf without knowing what I was doing 🙂 It was a very tasty, very hearty bread though – I enjoyed it 🙂 

With the confidence coming out of that experience, the week after that I tried baguettes and this time I was very badly defeated 🙂 I have had very serious concerns about whether I would ever be able to bake a decent loaf. This lasted some time, while I read, read, and read about how to best bake a bread. 

It was my mom who encouraged me to get hopeful and try again. And again I tried. It was not an easy period I would say; I often failed and only every once a while I could get a decent loaf. I experimented a lot with autolysing, kneading, stretching and folding, over-night dough risen at room temperature or in the fridge, using a roaster as a substitute for a dutch oven, using milk or water in dough, using pre-heated and non-preheated oven, misting the oven versus not doing it while baking, adding rolled oats or seeds like flax seed to dough, and different types of flour (all purpose flour and bread flour).

I got intrigued by wild yeast and sourdough, hence I also experimented with it 🙂 I attempted four times to get a decent starter and eventually got one with a whole wheat flour. It is my Monster starter that has been working just great since last August-September. I almost every single weekend bake a loaf or two using this starter, and I must say every week I notice a subtle progress and development in it. It is a living organism alright 🙂

So I found that while I am still far away from the “perfect loaf”, stretching and folding really works and develops the dough, over night dough is the best, there is no need for pre-heating or misting the oven, or using a dutch oven/roaster to bake a good loaf. All you need is love, patience, and paying attention to dough. If you do this, you will get a great loaf each time after a while. Guaranteed.

Today, on this very special anniversary, I tried sourdough with rolled oat with a recipe similar to this (and without the flax seed). What a beauty 🙂

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my sourdough loaf is “crowned” with rolled oat today to celebrate this important anniversary 🙂

Here are select loaves I have baked within the last year, starting with the first ever loaf I baked. Looking at them literally makes me happy.

If you are intrigued or interested at all, I would say go for it and try a loaf or two. Baking your own bread is very healthy, satisfying, and most importantly, an exciting hobby 🙂

Happy baking!  🙂

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The first loaf  🙂

it is not that bad

While I have bragged about how boring my life is, this morning I came to the realization that in the last one years or so, I have changed my life in a much better way.

First of; I started baking my own bread – they may not be the best, but they are getting better each time. More importantly, baking gives excitement to my daily life. Every Sunday I am eager to see how my dough and the loaf will turn out like! It is also healthy (I believe – it must be way better than the store-made bread). What a wonderful, healthy, and easy way to have a recurrent type of excitement 🙂

Second of; I eat better – that is for sure. I eat more raw veggies, which agree with my body. I have also lost some weight (even though I gained some of it back lately I am positive that I can do it again).

Third of; I walk more. I walked in the morning not only during summer, but also in winter (for the first time this winter) from home to office! For someone like me who was chronically tired, stressed, and impatient, this is quite an achievement.

Fourth; I have more energy – thanks to my iron and vitamin D supplements. This makes me feel better about myself and it is incredibly satisfying.

Fifth of; I am saving more than the last few years, so I am in much better shape financially.

Funny thing is that I have come up with these out of blue while walking  this morning 🙂

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These being said, it is only normal to fix some issues and then move on with identifying and aiming to fix new issues. In this logic, it is almost impossible to be without any issue.

Fine.

So I must be okay with having  a number of things that bother me now; 

I need a more social life; I do not know what that is gonna be but whether I join a hobby class or start hosting more frequently at home, I have got to come up with something.

I need variety – doing the same things and seeing the same faces/places are dead boring. I have every single right to be bored, considering the circumstances. I believe a new social hobby would enrich my daily life a little bit. Also, traveling is an opportunity to break it, but how frequently one can go away?

I need to stop believing that I am old. I am not old – older, yes, but not old. I still have a life!

🙂

sewing may be my newest hobby :)

Since I used my little portable sewing machine to sew myself cloths to use during baking last weekend, I cannot keep thinking about how enjoyable that activity, the feeling of being capable of and self-sustaining were.

I want to buy a sewing machine!

I can sew table cloths, napkins, bread bags, curtains, pillow cases, and make quilts, embroidery and much more! I can repair my clothes. I can re-purpose whatever I have. I can make gifts for family and friends. After many trials and errors of course 🙂

I really am excited about this idea.

I want to be an informed consumer; one thing I would hate would be to buy a machine that would not be comfortable to use, or suitable for my projects. I was looking at the internet and there are so many different brands and models – which one is it that I would like to get? I know I am looking for a beginners/intermediate level model that allows me to sew, quilt, and make embroidery. I know I need a machine that have many stitch options and allows me to adjust the stitch length and width. I will need a machine that fits many different foots suitable for my needs, hopefully coming with the purchase as accessories but not needing extra purchases and thus inflating the cost. I know I can get a mechanical or electrical one, and hopefully with a lot of room on the right side of the needle to help comfortably handle the fabric. I also would love a light machine that does not produce a lot of noise while operating. Something that can handle thin and thick fabric would be nice, too. I will keep reading to find out what else I need to be aware of while selecting my sewing machine.

Information, however, is overwhelming and somehow putting me off; so if you, the dear reader, have any recommendations, please feel free to share in the comment area.

I am thinking I can catch up the holiday sales if I can make my mind till then. I really would love to spend as little as possible. I considered the second hand ones and actually found a nice Singer sewing machine at $60, but I decided it was not worth it. A new one is probably the best bet with all the accessories available with the purchase (if possible). Plus, I can trust that the machine is at good condition.

So, with this decision, my next hurdle is to identify how to save for money to purchase this lovely addition to my life. I am perfectly capable of buying it right now, but honestly there is something nice about saving for it first by cutting expenses in other areas.

I have 6 weeks till the holiday season to save around $200-300. Wish me luck my friends 🙂

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