benefits of the day

Today is a good day, surprisingly. I do not know whether it helped to sleep till 10 am. A first in a very long time, and a very welcome change.

I tried a new thing and baked my sourdough directly without proofing after an over night rise. Surprisingly, it turned out to be just awesome. I usually would not try such risky stuff if I have an established system, but today I did not care much and gave it a try. This experience tells me that sometimes not caring much help find new and easier ways. I like this.

I have glanced at a book or two today. It seems I am not in the mood to hear what others are saying (that should be okay). But one thing I like reading was the dominance of mind over our lives, which makes us disconnected to our heart’s desires.

I cannot fully interpret this right now, but I know that my mind is quite analytical and likes structure and logic, yet not everything in life works this way and a little bit thinking out of the mind’s box would help. This is where my heart, or this deep down, no matter what loving, nurturing, and supportive part of me, comes into play. As a matter of fact just the adjectives that I use to define it tell all. Heart is here all the time, and when not shut down by the always thinking mind, may provide me with the wisdom, emotions, and support I need most. I do not know how to do this right now. But at least knowing that I in fact have this natural resource with me gives me hope and excitement.

Another thing was reading something about finding a “balance” in life. One of my colleagues, whenever she sees me tired and stressed, recommends me about “having a balance”. I hate to hear about it as I cannot have a balance between work and my daily life. Yet, today I felt better about it. For some reason, I realized that I do not want to react to having no life-work balance, but when I need a break, then I can let myself have that “balance”. This would mean that I would not be feeling bad about resting or taking a break, or enjoying the moment or the day, even in the midst of the hard-work and pressuring deadlines. Giving myself this right feels pretty empowering today. It is not about “finding” it anymore.

One more positive thing: I cooked for myself and had a decent meal as dinner. Don’t you love it when you take time for your own enjoyment and self-care?

Have a great Sunday night everyone.

 

 

 

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holidays diary – Day 9

It has been going well so far – another relaxing day ๐Ÿ™‚

I cleaned my home today and baked two sourdough loafs. I gave one big loaf to one of my friends, who had invited me over this noon. It smelled and looked great, so my friend was excited and I was happy ๐Ÿ™‚ I got to see some of my friends, some after a couple of years, at this social. It felt absolutely great to be catching up. One of them gave me a ride back home, for which I am grateful as well.

There is a lot of snow outside, but the temperature is mild. I nevertheless spread some salt to my entrance. Looks like the night will get chilly. I plan to get out only for a short grocery store visit tomorrow, and the rest, I plan to spend at home with baking some pastries and wishing everyone good year wishes. One person I particularly email every year is one of my boss from 20 years ago. She was the most fantastic boss one can ever asked for and each year I email her (except one year when I had forgotten – she had emailed me at that time ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

Let’s remember that the new year will be the year of Ease, Comfort, and Appreciation.

Happy Sunday everyone!

positive vibes

The thought crosses the mind and the heart feels.

That is what they say. I kind of believe in this.

Today, I am turning my regular thought pattern of working of problems, and rather, note the random beauty and safety around me.

Like the light coming into my bedroom window right now – what a majestic thing! It is free, available to everyone, and has found my way. I am lucky :). Ligth finds me.

The song I am listening to right now is peaceful, melodic, and intense at the same time. The guitar is both speaking and dancing. All the peaceful and lively melodies find me feed my soul, get my attention and lift my mood up.

I created two lovely sourdough loaves today and shared one with my good neighbours. To be able to share without feeling the need or enforcement is such a bliss. I like this about myself – I like to share the things I cherish. I am kind to my neighbours and I treat them time to time with nice food, little gifts. I am abundant and kind.

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I find things to do when I need to. Like today I painted a number of small terra cota pots for my yet-to-come succulents and cacti (planted seeds last week – wish me luck). I have hobbies that let me create and get excited about what I can do.

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I feel less anxious than Friday and this is wonderful. Once again, my fears triggered by external resources/people and made me remember what I should be careful about in my future steps (about work). I welcome this fear to make my future less problematic and I let it go now – it served its purpose.

I planted a number of seeds in a windy day. Some may have gone around to my neighbours’ yards. May they find their niche, germinate, and make someone happy and joyful. Nature and I have so much to share.

Rain and wind knocked some of my daffodils and tulips. One tulip is standing tall and is about to bloom. Like this tulip, I too stand up no matter what.

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Everything is available in life and I claim my part of life right here, right now.

How about this as a turn of the way I often think?

๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

my bread babies

It has been two years that I started to bake bread. I have not bought store-sold breads since then.

First many trials were not so good (except the first oe below, which was amazing to me!), but it eventually came around.

Then I got into sourdough and boy, what a magnificent experience it has been: every weekend with great excitement I baked a loaf or two, shared it with my neighbors, and friends, and I even shared my starter with someone interested in. It sure makes me happy and joyful.

Happy baking! ๐Ÿ™‚

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My first ever bread! (with commercial yeast and whole wheat flour – two years ago today:)))))

all the good things – check

  • sleeping well and long, and seeing my dad in one of my dreams – may he rest in peace – check
  • having my favorite breakfast with tomato, sourdough bread, and coffee – check
  • walking in the yard and seeing a number of bulbs I planted in the Fall sprouting – check ๐Ÿ™‚
  • working on a new report and almost finishing it – check
  • pulling a muscle or somehow aggravating my sciatica – not check! But it has been a much manageable episode so far, and my pain and muscle relaxants were around and effective – so let’s check this one too ๐Ÿ™‚
  • baking a meat pie and enjoying it – check
  • drinking fresh, frothy, and tasty kefir – check
  • watching a series that makes me laugh – check
  • having the day off – check
  • realizing that my sciatica is turning into a chronic problem, unless I take better care of my back and strengthen my core with the exercises given to me. I should also be careful in my movements. This one came without any warning, like the previous ones. It starts usually when I try to pick something from the floor. This must be something I must particularly be careful about. Also, no matter what I must keep having medications available so that I can manage this better. Being aware – check!
  • having almost no work-related stress – check ๐Ÿ™‚
  • having a good weather and feeling the Spring – check
  • being excited about the lives in my yard and planing to plant more flowers and bulbs next year – check

Spring 2009 GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/spring-2009-1Zxx18lm3dqlW

 

 

 

 

 

 

all the good things – check

  • sleeping well and dreaming…. a lot – check ๐Ÿ™‚

Only sometimes I remember my dreams and remembering three dreams in the morning was absolutely interesting!

  • waiting at home for the bus so that I could continue my frugal, simple, and responsible life style I missed so much – check
  • feeling happy when the bus comes – check!

Our buses runs every 30 min – give me some credit for taking them, please :)))

  • working nice and easy during the day without much of a stress – check
  • giving a small loaf of sourdough to one of my friends and seeing her joy and excitement – check, check, check ๐Ÿ™‚

I am grateful for this feeling of happiness coming from sharing my bread, marmalade, or pickles – looks like my friends really like and appreciate them, and this just makes me hugely grateful! How did I come up with the idea of baking bread? making marmalade or pickle? Boredom, which motivated me to try these endeavors, has been good to me indeed ๐Ÿ™‚

  • coming home early and taking a new yoga/stretching class – check

I dedicated this session to appreciating myself more (wow – I am really getting healed here ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and I spent the entire one hour by focusing on all the good things and appreciating my ability to do so. One of the best 12 bucks spent ever ๐Ÿ™‚

  • eating home-made food and a large salad – check
  • having a no-spending day – check!

I am excited about this. I think I am slowly coming back to my frugal self. Today is the second day of being frugal in a very long time and it feels fantastic. If only they did not expect a snow storm soon – that may mean that I may need to take a cab to or from work. We will see how weather will develop.

I plan to do some sort of pantry challenge next week so that I can consume what I already have. This will help me with saving some money and also enable myself to consume what I already have and replace them with fresh ones. I really need this so that I can get my chequing account back to a healthy level, which always feels good. Time to do this!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Being calm and relaxing this evening – check

I am not working tonite and it feels good to me. I know time to time it gets really heavy but nowadays I feel like I deserve a break and I aim to cherish it while it lasts

  • interacting with only lovely friends and colleagues today – check
  • eating yogurt – check
  • being excited about all the good things and people in my life -multi-check!

๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

Spiderman sourdough :)

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Spiderman is here!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Does it not look like the face of Spiderman – one of my favorite characters? ๐Ÿ™‚

This loaf was the last and the best one I baked with multigrain bread flour.

FYI – I cannot recommend the multigrain bread flour – it does not rise much. If you are looking for better crumb, either have a warmer place to proof the dough (my kitchen is around 17C during winter and I am not patient enough to wait too long), or use the old, good plain bread flour.

This loaf contains:

  • 1 1/3 cup whole wheat starter/levain
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 4 cups of multi-grain bread flour and 2 cups of all purpose flour (i had run out of bread and multi-grain flour)
  • 2.5 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs salt

Everything is mixed and I stretched and folded it 4-5 times before I left it to rise overnight at room temperature; these happened yesterday evening

This morning I shaped it and placed in a mixing bowl upside down and left for proofing in the oven for 5.5 hours

Baked at 350F oven (non-prehetaed) for an hour

Delicious!

Sunday sourdough

I was trying to find the ways to reduce the proofing time lately: one thing I have tried in the last two weeks is proofing the dough in an oven (not turned or warmed up; no lights , either) to see whether this relatively temperature-wise stable environment would help reduce it.ย 

This dough was only proved for 3 hours (in contrast to my usual 4-6 hours proofing). It was almost flat when I placed it on the parchment paper and scored. But there was a great oven spring (just like last week), so it turned out to be just lovely.

I think the in-oven proofing helped. I also think that maybe in the past I was over-proofing my dough..

Of course, the hydration levels of the dough makes a difference in terms of the yeast activity – this was a slightly sticky dough. This may be another reason for the short proof time working with this loaf.

In any way, I am just happy to have this loaf ๐Ÿ™‚

 

happy sourdough – III

 

IMG_3460Isn’t it beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚

This was the first time that I tried 3 hours of proofing. When I took it out of the shaping bowl and scored, the dough was almost flat. But in the oven it showed a great oven spring and one of the largest air pockets I have ever seen. It even cracked itself on top even though I had slashed it, which tells me that yeast really worked hard this time.

Will continue like this – it has been a great experiment.

butternut squash dessert and weekly sourdough bread

Butternut squash dessert

I found a nice butternut squash the week before. My original aim was to make a hearty soup, but I decided in the last moment to make a dessert with it.

here is the recipe:

  • peel the coating and cut in pieces (mine were around 1-5 cm width and 7 cm length)
  • add 2 cups of sugar, mix
  • add 1.5 tsp salt and 6 cups of water
  • bring to a rolling boil and simmer at medium heat for 40 min
  • add 1.5 tbs lemon juice and boil for another 5 min
  • take the squash bits on an oven pot, add 2 cups of the liquid*, sprinkle with chopped nuts (I have used hazelnut) (optional)
  • bake at 350F pre-heated oven for 20 min**
  • enjoy! (top with a scoop of ice cream if you wish and tell me this was not a good idea ๐Ÿ™‚ )

*I have had around 1 liters of the liquid, which is yummy. Drink it as it is, or use less waterย 

**You can bake longer to thicken the liquid

Sourdough

My sourdough today was kind of sticky dough and as a result did not keep it shape well. But there was oven spring and it looks great ๐Ÿ™‚

sourdough loaf with oats and black olives

Here is a fantastic sourdough with a hint of trolled oats and black olives ๐Ÿ™‚

This loaf was my first trial of a rectangular shape ๐Ÿ™‚ I learnt a while ago that sticky dough do not keep its shape well if does not have enough support. So I used one of my oven pots to prove and bake this loaf.

I would do this loaf again; the crust was thin and soft (the way I love it) and it tasted amazing!

The recipe is similar to others:

  • 1 1/3 cup 100% whole wheat starter (fed Friday night and then on Saturday morning prior to saving half in the fridge; used to make the dough in the afternoon)
  • 2 cups water; mixed the starter and water well with the help of a fork until it became kind of frothy
  • 2.5 tbs sugar; mixed well into the starter/water mix
  • 4.5 cups of bread flour, 1.5 tbs salt, and 200 grms of pitted black olive-halved: (approximately 1.5 cups). Formed a shaggy dough, closed the lid, kneaded every 30 min or so three times until dough looked like forming. At the end of folding stage dough was too sticky (must be the olives’ juice), so I added 1/3 cup of rolled oats to help with the moisture
  • let rest at room temperature over might
  • since it was a kind of sticky dough, I decided to place it in a large rectangular oven pot lined with parchment paper
  • sprinkled top with more oats, placed in a nylon bag, tied the ends, and proved for 4.5 hours at room temperature
  • baked in non-pre-heated oven at 350 F for one hour

my love affair with self-sufficiency

Life is interesting.

I have never been interested in cooking or being self-sufficient.

In the last two years, however, this has change. I still do not like cooking but baking, pickling, and jamming have been awesome. I could not be more excited ๐Ÿ™‚

Fermented food

Sourdough: I first became interested in baking bread and I now even have a sourdough starter that makes wonders every week ๐Ÿ™‚ I have not purchased any store-made bread since May 2016. I also shared my sourdough and commercial yeast loaves with my fiends. What a joy ๐Ÿ™‚

Kefir: I then was gifted by kefir grains within 2017 and i not only fell in love with kefir itself, but I made cheese/spread from it and even used it in baking bread ๐Ÿ™‚ Drinking kefir makes me feel good and I know that it gives me the calcium that I need at my age in addition to many nutrients. I am very happy with it ๐Ÿ™‚

Pickles: I did pickles before thanks to my mother, but I have never been this interested in it until recently – I love the beet and cabbage pickles I make! I think it is the benefit of living in a cold climate that the pickle lasts long without going bad and this way I always have a jar or two in my kitchen. I made three batches of beet pickles this fall enjoyed by myself and my friends ๐Ÿ™‚

Sauerkraut: And tomorrow I will try my first ever sauerkraut!ย 

How about this?ย 

I think I am moving in the right direction ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Jam/marmalade:

And just within the last 5-6 weeks, I started experimenting with making jam; dried fig jam first, then orange and tangerine, and today the raspberry jam/marmalade ๐Ÿ™‚

I feel like I am doing such a great job refraining from additives and chemicals in store-bought jams/bread/pickles. I must be rightfully proud of myself and I am!

 

Sewing

Okay.. I have not been as productive as I wished, but since I purchased my lovely sewing machine last year, I have done small stuff, including lots of covers for jars and discloth/cloth for the counter and window sills. I am yet to undertake a serious project, like a blouse or a quilt, but I know when the time comes, that will happen too ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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These are newfound interests for me and they have been enriching my life, providing me healthy and affordable food/items, and I feel increasingly “able”.

I really am excited about this change in me.

 

Squirrel GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/XSKhFtfGr1HYA

 

 

Happy sourdough bread!

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Here is today’s sourdough bread with a happy, happy, happy face! ๐Ÿ™‚

It will be gifted to a colleague of mine, who gave me a ride this weekend – hope they will like it ๐Ÿ™‚

today’s sourdough loaves

Because of my trips lately I had depleted my frozen bread stock. I feel a lot better when I have extra loaves at the freezer. Thus, I baked two sourdough today using the same recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

They both turned out to be lovely! Thin crust and soft crumb, with a kick of salt and feeling very homey ๐Ÿ™‚ The oven spring was way more powerful that I would imagine, as both loaves had sides cracked despite the fact that I had scored their surface ๐Ÿ™‚ Something worked really well ๐Ÿ™‚

The catch is that I had run out of bread flour, so I had to prepare the dough with all purpose flour.ย Now, Iย  never have had a good rise with all purpose flour, even though I am in Canada (people says that Canadian all purpose flour is as good as the bread flour with high protein content…). That is why I thought I would add some oat or rye flakes to dough – my previous experience with these additions is that they make the yeast somehow happier and dough better and airy.

Recipe:

  • I used 1 cup of rolled rye flakes soaked for 2 hours in 1 cup of water, which was then topped with 5 cups of all purpose flour, 2tbs of sugar, 1.5 tbs of salt, 1 1/3 cups of starter, and I believe 2.5 cups of water.
  • I used the stretch and fold technique to form the dough and left it at room temperature over night to rise.
  • In the morning, I was looking at a puffy and healthy dough ๐Ÿ™‚ I cut it into two, one smaller than the other, shaped, rested for 10 min, and then placed them in proving containers. The small one was proven in an oven pot and the other one was formed into a long loaf and placed on a cookie sheet surrounded with items to keep it in shape.ย I left them at room temperature for 4.5 hours to prove.
  • I scored them and then baked at non-pre-heated oven at 350F for 55 min.

Voila ๐Ÿ™‚

baked two sourdough loaves today :)

I baked two loaves today – my freezer stock has been depleted. One always need a decent home-made sourdough bread ๐Ÿ™‚

Both loaves have been sightly sticky, risen at room temp for about 18 hours (at round 17 C). For the baton loaf, I used a pot to rise, whereas the other one was risen in a mixing bowl. The latter was slightly more sticky in the next morning and required quite a bit of flour to handle. I also needed to use a lot of flour to keep it from sticking to baking clothe while proving. This inevitably resulted in a pale looking loaf. I have risen the baton loaf on parchment paper between a couple of stuff to help keep its shape.ย 

The prove time was 4 hours for the round loaf and around 5 hours for the other. I baked them at 350F for around 55-65 minutes.

The end results are good with lots of air pockets. The big pockets in the round loaf are worrisome, telling me that I did not do a good job deflating the dough in the morning. The baton loaf had a much better crumb, which was very pleasing.

Bon appetite! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

sometimes trying something hopeless pays off

Yesterday I have prepared two sourdough; one can be found here; it was prepared by a starter that was rigorous and with a long rise (around 16 hours at room temp) with 4 hours of proving, following my regular recipe. It turned out to be a lovely loaf with a great oven spring.

That loaf will be given to my friends that I have seen yesterday night. So upon returning home at around 11 pm, I decided I needed a loaf for myself so I prepared a small dough using the left overs from my starter that I resurrected this past week. These left overs are those that needed to be removed and replaced with fresh flour and water while feeding the starter. I did not want to put it in garbage, so I thought I could find a use for them (like tortilla), so had kept around 3/4 cups of them in my fridge. They were not necessarily the best starter, but I took my chances with my second loaf.

The second loaf had 9 hours of first rise with limited stretch and fold (1 only) at room temperature and 5 hours of proofing. Honestly it did not look good when I put it on parchment paper (it did not keep its shape). Anyways, in the oven there was some kind of spring. So I was still not very hopeful. But when I cut it, I was very surprised; it has the largest air pockets I have seen in my sourdough! It is soft and the sesame seeds give it an incredibly nutty flavor ๐Ÿ™‚ Although its rise was short, I think dough being slightly sticky helped it to turn into this beautiful loaf.

I think sometimes keeping the faith and trying something that does not look much hopeful pays off ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

today’s sourdough was a failure

I thought I could make it, but I was wrong.

Using all purpose flour in this sourdough loaf was a disaster. They say the Canadian all purpose and bread flours have similar protein content and many bakers are successful in getting decent loaves with all purpose flour, but today I proved myself that was not the case for me. Bread flour it is!

Dough was fantastic, but as soon as I took it from the proofing basket, it spread and leveled. I was hoping maybe once it is in the oven things would get better. But the loaf did not rise, usual oven spring was not existing, and it took longer (1 hour 15 min at 350F) to get a browned crust (I suspect because it was such a shallow loaf that its crust was further away from the top of the oven, which made it longer to brown), and as a result is as dry and hard as brick.

I will eat it, but honestly use the bread flour if it works better for your loaves.

 

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Added after the post: On a second thought, this loaf may as well be just over-proved. The first rise was quite long (around 18 hours) and I wonder if this has something to do with this leveled loaf (aka less gluten structure)… if you have any opinion, please do comment.

Truth about sourdough

I see a number of blogs/recipes using commercial yeast in the dough and calling it sourdough.

Sorry to break the news to some of us, but if you use commercial yeast, it is not sourdough. I guess someone started this and it kind of stuck with some other people.

Sourdough is made from levain/starter that is a totally natural culture of yeast (and bacteria). If you do not believe me, please check internet and see for yourself.

It somehow hurts me to hear that sourdough culture and commercial baking yeast are equalized. They both are fantastic, yet different. So let’s give them the place they deserve.

IMG_1952
this is my sourdough culture that I created a year ago from water and whole wheat flour; it is love.

 

 

frugal, waste-free, and simple-life style activities this week

I want to remember the activities that fulfill my interest in frugal, waste-free, and simple-life style this week; I am positive that they will help me see the brighter side in everything and motivate me to do more ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Here is the list:

Frugal activities:

1. I messed up with my budget and frugal life-style big time lately. Nevertheless, I managed to walk to work one day (rather than using transportation) saving myself 10 bucks.

2. I did not over-spend on grocery. As a matter of fact, I have purchased much less than regular in order to eat what I already have in my fridge.

3. I used a coupon. Now, considering I am wasting more than 200 bucks a week nowadays I wonder why I have even cared finding or using this coupon. Every penny counts I guess…

Waste-free life:

1. I continued to bring my tote to stores in order to reduce the amount of plastic shopping bags in my home. There has been a considerable improvement in this and I am happy to say that I reduced the amount at least by 2/3 ๐Ÿ™‚

2. I ate the food in my fridge before they went bad. Some of them still did, though, which I resent…. Next time I will be better.

Simple/self-sustaining life:

1. I baked my own bread.

2. I made my own strained curds/cheese from kefir ๐Ÿ™‚ I am straining another batch today. I want to try one from yogurt for a change of taste.

3. I did not unnecessarily made my day complicated by filling it in many different activities (only work).

4. I made sure to do other things than just work after 7pm everyday to give my mind a break and enjoy my life.

5. I did not socialize with anyone, which helped me keep my time and energy to myself (yes, this is one of the benefits of living alone ๐Ÿ™‚ )

6. I cared for my yard and removed weeds to make sure they will not take over the yard (a preventive measure for a long-term simple life)

Decluttering and minimalist activities:

1. Nothing particular than regular, except that the unnecessary paper that were on my study table are now dumped.ย 

2. I bought no item (other than personal hygiene products and grocery) for home or myself this week.

Sunday is the day of sourdough

Here is my sourdough loaf for today ๐Ÿ™‚

resurrected sourdough starter

I managed to revive my sourdough starter from dried flakes! ๐Ÿ™‚

The new one is very similar to previous one (that I accidentally used all in a loaf) and has had a great oven spring. Since it will be served to my guests tomorrow, I did not cut it up to see the crumb, but I am sure it is good.

I could not ask for a better one ๐Ÿ™‚

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Day of the sourdough

I have baked two sourdough loaves today: one plain, and one with tomato, bell pepper, and garlic shoots.

Next time I can leave the garlic out, but this sourdough was interesting to bake and eat. I would recommend for those who like a taste of sunny and healthy Mediterranean food ๐Ÿ™‚

Mediterranean loaf:

 

Plain loaf:

 

 

sourdough loaf with black olive, parsley, and kefir

I wanted to bake a sourdough that was not tried before and I think I managed to do so.

I present you the sourdough loaf with kefir, parsley, and black olive ๐Ÿ™‚

Smells like sea! Enjoy!

 

 

looking forward to the long weekend

It is Canada day tomorrow and we have the long weekend with Monday off.

I may be working on Monday but I am so excited for this long weekend! I just feel tired and too strained lately, and I am looking forward to winding down a little bit. This weekend will give me this opportunity ๐Ÿ™‚

What are my plans?

Other than the regular stuff (i.e. cleaning the house, doing the laundry, cutting the grass – which I have done this afternoon), I plan to bake an unconventional type of sourdough this week. What could that be? Something that has not been done before…. I do not know really – I will have to really get creative here, or bake a regular sourdough – in any way it will be awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

I would like to visit the thrift stores tomorrow and see whether i can find something interesting. I may buy some sewing material.

Sewing… Yes… Why do I not try sewing a blouse again? I have tons of fabric that I hauled last year from thrift stores ๐Ÿ™‚ What a great idea – I hope I will not chicken again and do it!

Dance GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I may also visit a nearby international food store and get some dry beans and bulghur – these could be excellent choices to prepare office lunch for me. Good idea! ๐Ÿ™‚

I also would like to start drying some lilacs from my yard. ย I have incredible lilacs that I have been thinking about drying up for some time. I think it is the time…. Once they dry up, I want to hang them on my wall in a frame. The beauty of the flowers and plants in my yard…. How nice is the nature? I have daisies blooming up. They are all so exciting ๐Ÿ™‚

Flowers GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

And other than this, I will look ahead my life, and plan and hope for the best. It is time that things change for the better. Now that I appreciate my life, how simple and easy going it is, and how well it works for me, including my budget, increased savings, and investments. There is a lot to be grateful for in my life. This weekend will give me an opportunity to re-think about them and re-feel my appreciation.

Music GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gifs by:https://giphy.com/gifs/flowers-TFA5yuQIIoVUc;https://giphy.com/gifs/life-good-reasons-IUZSvaO2SA6mk;https://giphy.com/gifs/dance-fashion-vintage-Vsxv2SHYkcLSg

 

 

 

The Queen of all bread; sourdough with kefir

IMG_1382
but…but… but… can you see what I see? Is that not GORGEOUS!? ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

I am hooked to this combination and I suspect that I will always bake sourdough with kefir from now on.

I have not tasted anything quite like this, nor eaten a softer sourdough that I have baked. The slight salty taste, the crumb (the best so far), and the smell of this sourdough will fill my dreams – I can tell you that with confidence.

The recipe is quite basic like any other sourdough I have baked;

1. I added to 1 cup of whole wheat starter fed twice (Friday night and Saturday morning), 2tbs of sugar and 1 cup of kefir – mixed well with a spoon until it become somehow frothy (it does become frothy quite easily). Then added 2 cups of bread flour and 1.5 tbs of salt. Mixed and formed a shaggy dough.

This dough formed quite fast without needing to mix too much – I give it to kefir. ย  ย  ย  Somehow it helped bond the dough and voila! I had that healthy looking and soft ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  dough. As it was my practice the last few weeks, I made sure the dough was slightly ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  sticky while adding the flour.

2. I then left it at room temperature covered with a clean towel and stretched and folded 4-5 times time to time. The next day, I shaped it, and left for proving in a bowl covered with a clean cloth and sprinkled with generous amount of sesame and poppy seeds. It proved for 6.5 hours at room temperature in a plastic bag.

3. I baked it in non-preheated oven; 375 F for 15 min first, then 25 min at 350 F (the seeds burn pretty quick if the temperature is high), and then left in a turned off oven for an additional 5 min.

Give it a try and let me know whether you also agree that this is the best sourdough ever! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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mother of sourdough – the happy and active starter
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kefir – I am hesitant to add it but I read that others tried baking bread with kefir, so here comes a fresh batch of kefir
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the initial shaggy dough – do not worry – it will form just fine
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at the end of stretch and folds; ready to rest overnight
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and the next morning it has risen all nice and fluffy ๐Ÿ™‚
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shaped and left for proving
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6.5 hours later, it seems to have proven quite a bit – exciting ๐Ÿ™‚
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the seeds look great! sadly I also deflated it a little bit while taking it from the bowl onto the parchment paper.. feeling nervous….
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i deflated the dough a little bit more while scoring…. not my best day – next time I will have to handle this dough with a little bit more care
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but…but… but… can you see what I see? Is that not GORGEOUS!? ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
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and the crumb is my finest so far – kefir and sourdough have formed a great collaboration. This bread will be a classic at my house from now on

Sunday morning musings

This Sunday morning too I am plain lazy on purpose and focused on lovely activities.

For example, my usual and long (3-4 cups long) rendezvous with coffee is going well and very enjoyable.

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I have already walked around my small yard with my coffee mug in my hand to see how the seeds and flowers were coming out after the long rain yesterday (and they are all good).

I have had a light breakfast with the beet sourdough loaf I had baked last week and strained yogurt, which makes me feel quite light (not bloated).

Weather is great outside, warm and inviting and there is sunlight everywhere which opens my spirit and joy box.

And I am listening to some songs that I have not for years, which makes me nostalgic and wanting to do more of enjoyable things today and the days to come.

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I have little plans shaped for today. I think I will talk to my family first thing first and then go out for a walk and to buy some sewing stuff. I am really excited about this opportunity – hopefully what I need are all available in the stores that are open today (not too many choices, but we will see). As usual, I will bake my weekly sourdough loaf (with kefir – the first ever trial of mine – we all will see how that will turn out tonite). I will also cook a nice dish with minced beef and eggplant. It is great that summer is here and reminded me about this dish. I am guilty of not cooking great recipes that take time and require care, but yield the best taste ever. This one I am really looking forward to.

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Now let’s go find something to do that comes spontaneously and makes me feel like on top of the world! ๐Ÿ™‚

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random thoughts

After 6 months or so, I did some back and ab exercises yesterday and today I feel like my big belly has shrunk! ๐Ÿ™‚

I am serious ๐Ÿ™‚

I know I did not lose whatever fat I have but I must admit that the ab muscles do an awesome job keeping things in place and firm once they are active.ย 

My belly is all tucked up very nicely and my posture is a lot better. I even feel taller.

You know when the abs are strong and supportive, these are all expected to occur.

I used to be physically very active and quite muscular in the past, prior to starting my current job. I know that muscles have their own memory and they are quite forgiving. So if you want to remind your muscles how great they can be, go ahead, take a walk, lift a weight, or just find a way to use them. You will know the difference.

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I have had a good day today. I got up at around 9 am, did the laundry, talked to family, and prepared an interesting dough (sourdough with kefir – cannot wait to see how it will turn out tomorrow).

I wanted to get out and buy some sewing notions but boy, do we have a rainy day? It is raining cat and dog, and I hope tomorrow we will have a better day. On the other hand, I am grateful that it rains – my yard and seeds/plants needed it. Had I mentioned that I have potato plants? Yes, I do and this is such a fantastic feeling!ย 

Anyways; back to sewing. Sewing relaxes me, even thought I am not sewing frequently or with confidence. Nevertheless this afternoon I felt like I needed to sew (that is a strange feeling; it is like the need to eat… the need to sew… strange but true…), so I have sewn two simple pieces of clothes to be placed over my washer and dryer. They are cute but can be cuter if I can find nice ribbons (which I hope to find tomorrow). They will keep the dust away from my machines and also make that area look a little bit homey. My washer and dryer are in small room with boiler, ventilator, and garbage bin, so this area does not traditionally look or feel nice at all. But after these cloths it feels a little bit better. I also am interested in sewing a nice cover for the garbage bin – maybe with a flowery fabric so that it may look and feel better too! Many can find this idea weird, but I have been meaning to do this for some time and I believe that it is gonna look cute, so I am all for it ๐Ÿ™‚

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sourdough bread with beet

Here we go – the most interesting sourdough loaf I have ever baked!

What do you think?

I had seen a recipe here at wordpress once upon a time using beet (thanks whoever had posted it at that time). It always intrigued me and finally this weekend it was the time to give it a try.

My verdict; this is a very easy loaf to work with because wild yeast loves the beet (or anything else like carrots that provide some kind of nutrients and moisture to the dough/bread) and the colour is just amazing! It was a fluffy dough that rose pretty well. The proving step was also short (~5 hours at room temperature in my cool Canadian kitchen) – partly because of the hydration by the beet and partly because I tried to make it kind of sticky with less flour than usual. The crumb is open (one of the best, if not the best crumb I have seen lately) and it is soft and palatable. The only thing was that the smell of raw/baked beet somehow threw me away at the beginning. But the remedy is easy and available – butter, as usual, makes it perfect! ๐Ÿ™‚

This being said, I think next time I will try it with raspberry and some more sugar!

 

Recipe

Friday night: took the starter off the fridge and fed with whole wheat flour and water, wrapped in a towel and left at room temperature overnight

Saturday morning:ย fed the starter again and one hour later divided it into two portion: one portion went to fridge (starter) and the second portion left at room temp for 3 hours to flourish (to be used in the dough)

Saturday afternoon: added to 1 cup of starter, 2 tbs of sugar, and 1 cup of water. Grated 1 medium sized beet and added to the mixture. Then, added 2.5 cups of bread flour and 1.5 tbs of salt and mixed with a spoon. It formed a shaggy dough. After that I left for shopping, so only 5 hours later or so, I stretched and folded it once or twice before leaving it to rise at room temperature overnight (closed lid and covered with a towel)

Sunday morning: shaped on a generously floured work surface, let rest for 10 min and shaped again. I decided it was better if I proved it in an oven dish and directly baked it after proving. Hence, I placed the dough in the dish covered with parchment paper and put it in a nylon bag – that, I found a while ago, creates a green house effect and help dough prove faster

Sunday afternoon: After 5 hours of proving, turned the oven on (375F) and placed the dough in it. Baked for 45 min with oven on and then an additional 15 min with oven turned off.

Do not forget to cool down, admire, and enjoy it with butter and loved ones! ย 

Bon appetiteย ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

Sunday afternoon musings

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It has been a good day; I have planted a number of seeds and I hope that at least one or two of them will germinate and grow! Please! ๐Ÿ™‚

Since my arm is still acting, I take it really easy with the yard. I still have some digging to do, but I guess it will be spread over the summer. I think the main problem is resolved, or almost resolved (which was an uneven surface at the back). I bought some flower seeds today and together with my mom’s seeds I have planted them in the yard. I also planted mint, basil, and parsley seeds today. It was fun to give them water this afternoon, thinking that water will help these little seeds start their lives.

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Did I mention that my potatoes indeed potated!!? Ahem – yes! I think I have 3-4 potato plants growing in the yard ๐Ÿ™‚ Also two onions and 6-7 garlic sprung. These are so exciting for me ๐Ÿ™‚ ย I read somewhere that the best time to plant the garlic is fall. I will do that this year. I also would like to plant tulips and other bulb flowers. Next year I hope to have a much decent looking and pretty yard. What an excitement ๐Ÿ™‚

Other exciting activities of the day included baking sourdough bread, walking around 1 hour to a shopping mall, and shopping some canned food and other needs. I had not done this kind of shopping in the last 8 weeks or so, so it was the right time. And I was lucky and could catch the bus right on time on the way back, which is always pleasing (who wants to wait 30-40 min for the bus? No one ๐Ÿ™‚

I have been eating better lately, which always pleases me. I can see that it has an effect on my scale so I would love to keep eating better (e.g. no peanut or peanut butter, or refined carbs like pasta). i do not know why I feel the need to share this info here – I guess it is just a mental note – so bear with me!

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Have a great Sunday evening and night everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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sourdough with rolled rye

Here is another Sunday sourdough with a touch of rolled rye – a slice of it and butter ย – yummy!

The recipe is very similar to an earlier loaf with slight changes: I did not wait 30 min after adding water to rolled rye (rather mixed it with the rest of the ingredients right away – I have got lazy here ๐Ÿ™‚ ), used one cup starter, 1 cup water, 2 tbs of sugar, 1.5 tbs of salt and 3.5 cup of bread flour. Since the bread flour is a little bit less than the previous recipe, this was a slightly sticky dough, which I prefer the last few weeks. I also did not pre-heat the oven; just put it inside and let it oven spring ๐Ÿ™‚

In my experience rolled oat, rolled rye, or semolina flour in small amounts (like 1 cup in addition to 3-4 cups bread flour) help with proofing and oven rise – these kind of loaves never disappointed me in terms crumb.

Here is a pictorial recipe for this hearty and tasty loaf:

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday morning musings

It is a quiet morning.

I am sipping my coffee with gratitude and listening to a great song by Sia:

 

As usual, morning routine consisted of shaping my sourdough loaf, brewing myself coffee, checking the news, and planning the day ahead. Needless to say, newsย are depressing. Almost everyday something insensible or violent happens – the humanity better shakes itself up. Why can’t we just love all? I know love is complicated, one can prefer love for one over the other, and it is not always shaped by our feelings but by our thoughts, but I keep wonder anyhow. Choices, my friends, are interesting. All these choices we have made in our lives.ย 

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I have had another dream that I remember. I interpret this dream as being adaptableย to the unforeseen changes in life and distinguishing between the fears in our lives and the fears in our minds: we just had a conversation about this topic a couple of days ago. Or, it can be interpreted like this: sometimes it is okay to take time and not rush at the face of an adversity to resolve it that can create more problems; this pretty much sounds like what was going in my mind lately about my work situation; it is not the best time to aggressively look for jobs right now. Things will change for the better – so stay put for some more time.

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My plans for today is to bake my Sunday sourdough loaf, plant seeds in the yard, bring forward the summer clothes and hang into the wardrobe, speak with family, cook a cauliflower dish, and walk. Not overly exciting, but so far looks really good.

Have a great Sunday everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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wet sourdough loaf

This sourdoughย was wet; way stickier than my previous ones.

As expected, it turned out to be just great in terms of the air packets. Itย is not the best looking loaf, but it is expected from such a wet dough (which is hard to shape).ย 

I could not help and enjoy a big slice with butter when it was still warm ย ๐Ÿ™‚

I am very happy with this starter; it does not yield big air packets, but it is consistent and crumb is always well structured. See the little air packets all around? ๐Ÿ™‚

a brief snap shot of the day

  • got up at around 8 am
  • felt kind of tired andย un-enthusiastic
  • had an untasty breakfast and my coffee was cold. Can you imagine? My COFFEE WAS COLD!!! WHAT IS UP WITH TODAY?!!!!
  • cleaned the house – it lasted longer than regular. Only because of my lack of enthusiasm
  • spoke with sister and mom
  • did the laundry
  • fed my sourdough starter
  • digged up a portion of the yard; it started to look ย lot better. I need two more days of work and then it will be fine. I will also plant seeds now that I have a piece of the yard without the grass ๐Ÿ™‚
  • ate beans and it was lovely
  • walked to a store and picked milk, egg, soft drinks, and chocolate – ate the chocolate on the way home :)))
  • got bored at home so decided to walkย 
  • ended up at the shopping mall
  • purchased freezer bags and parchment paper
  • walked back – it was raining lightly
  • enjoyed walking and getting the fresh air
  • now resting finally ๐Ÿ™‚

I have a busy day tomorrow too. I want to shape and prove my sourdough loaf; work on the yard; speak with family; purchase a couple items for the dinner tomorrow; cook for the dinner; bake the sourdough; host my friends and enjoy the rest of the evening ๐Ÿ™‚

Kind of feeling like a super girl nowadays ๐Ÿ™‚

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today’s sourdough and the creamy wild rice soup

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Here is my baby today ๐Ÿ™‚

This loaf is similar to others in making, only with an additional 2 tbs water to make it slightly sticky. During stretching and folding, the dough formed well and the stickiness hasย almost disappeared.ย Iย also did not add sugar to dough for the first time.

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proofing ๐Ÿ™‚
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after the proofing step
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this scoring worked well ๐Ÿ™‚
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and the end product ๐Ÿ™‚ what a beauty! I am very pleased with the oven spring.

 

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And, finally I am consuming the wild rice that I have had for some years!!!

I totally improvised this soup:

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  • Add in a pot 1 cup wild rice, 1 cup red lentil, 1 small potato, 100 grms of butter, and 3 cups water
  • Boil and then simmer for 1 hour, or until rice softens

This is a very creamy and hearty soup because of the lentil and potato, and has a mixture of both soft and somewhat crunchy texture (the wild rice has a tough outer membrane)

Bon appetite! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Iย first got enticed by commercial yeast by chance, and tried my first loaf without knowing what I was doing ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a very tasty, very hearty bread though – I enjoyed it ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

With the confidence coming out of that experience, the week after that I tried baguettes and this time I was very badly defeated ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.ย 

It was my mom who encouraged me to get hopeful and try again.ย 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, andย different types of flour (all purpose flour and bread flour).

I got intrigued by wild yeast and sourdough, hence I also experimented with itย ๐Ÿ™‚ I attempted fourย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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my sourdough loaf is “crowned” with rolled oat today to celebrate this important anniversary ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy baking! ย ๐Ÿ™‚

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The first loaf ย ๐Ÿ™‚

on being self-sustaining

Since I started baking my own bread last year, I have been feeling more “able“.ย 

Bread has always been my favorite food. Strange enough after I started baking my own loaves, the amount of bread I consumed has reduced. How strange…ย Iย wonder whether it being a natural product with no additives or chemicals has anything to do with this? Anyways, I am proud of the fact that within the last one year I did not buy any store-made bread; I only consumed my own, mostly the precious sourdough loaves. Talking about the joy of baking and the happiness coming out of it ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyways, when I bought my sewing machine last November, I thought it was an additional step towards being resourceful and a self-sustaining life-style. I was planning to sew my own blouses, which I have failed so far, but one day Iย will do this. This and others, like sewing quilt, doing repairs (which I have), and sewing cloths/placemats to be used around the house (which I have, too) will keep me feel independent and able. It feels good indeed.

We may not realize but there are so many ways that even someone like me, who does not like ย house chores, demonstrates the ability to self-sustain. Consider cooking at home and feeding ourselves, cleaning our own houses, taking care of the yard (boy, thinking about cutting the grass… argh… one thing that I really dislike, but keep doing anyhow), dyeing our own hair to name a few. I feel so again when I walk to or from the office, or to the shopping malls, instead of taking the bus or the cab. ย By walking I freely transport myself and relax at the same time.ย Do you not think that we in fact all are, to some degree, independent of others/stores/services and ratherย are self-sustaining?

I have spent sometime reading posts about homesteading this evening. I have no practical interest in homesteading myself as a single and middle aged city girl, but I sure enjoy reading about the daily livesย of the homesteaders, theirย farmingย adventures, issues, and relationships with nature. My current life and level of sustainability is no-where near the homesteaders’ life, but Iย am doing way better than many people living in a mid-size city. I guess even though I do not realize it well, Iย happen to have a kind of simple, affordable, and sustainable life that I must be excited about ๐Ÿ™‚

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today’s sourdough

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the end products! look at these beauties! The scoring on boule makes an impression of a face, do you not think? ๐Ÿ™‚

I baked two sourdough today; one boule and the other baton-shaped.

The recipe is quite similar to previous ones with:

  • 4/3 cup of whole wheat flour starter fed Friday evening and Saturday morning, ย  ย  ย  ย 1 1/4 cup water, 3-4 cups bread flour, 2 tbs of sugar, and 2 tbs of salt. It should be slightly sticky
  • mix, rest at room temperature, and stretch and fold 4-5 times with 20-60 min in between (it is quite forgiving; you do not need to time everything. what is important is to fold and strech so that the dough and gluten form)
  • rise at room temperature over night in a mixing bowl with lid and wrapย with a towel
  • the next morning (aka today), shape and rest for 10 min. Re-shape if required, cover the loaf with a towel, and place in a plastic bagย for a green house effect (I think that works really well) for 4 hours or longer (this week at the end of 4 hours, the loaves had almost doubled)
  • bake at 375 min for 50-55 min (until it becomes golden crisp. I no longer pre-heat the oven or use a roaster/dutch oven to bake. Eventually if the dough is good, the bread comes out wonderful)
  • cool down and make sure to take your time to enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Today’s loaves

Sourdough loaves are for myself (of course!ย – since I started baking sourdough in August-September last year, there has not been a weekย that I have not eatenย it ๐Ÿ™‚ ) while the bread loaves with commercial yeast will be given to my colleague who gave me a ride last week.

Sourdough loaves were done very similar to previous ones with flax seed and rolled oat.

The loaves with the commercial yeast were prepared similar to this one, only without the milk. I am aware that the shapes are not the best, but we will hope at least ย the taste, crumb, and crust are superb ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

sourdough with a touch of rolled rye

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What is a Sunday without a home-baked loaf of sourdough?

You got it right – it is almost impossible!!!!! :))))

Since I started sourdoughing last August, except oneย weekend and when I was away for vacation/business trip, I baked a loaf or two every…single…Sunday! ๐Ÿ™‚

I keep experimenting with the rolled cereals/grains in my sourdough loaves. My recent aย couple trials including the soaked rolled oat and flax seed in sourdough (for example,ย here and here) have been quite successful. I think they help with ย the moistureย even though they lack the gluten so they take up only a small part of the total doughย (other wise the loaf does not riseย – I know by experience – unless you want a flat and stiff loaf, do not try to have a loaf with only rolled oat).

Anyways, I saw and purchased the rolled rye a couple of weeks ago. Honestly I have no idea what it could be used for, but I thought it would be a nice addition to my baking adventures and a nice ornament for the crust. I was not wrong.

This is the biggest loaf I have ever baked so far; thus rather than a boule I opted out for a baton loaf (I thought it would bake more evenly). Also, I proved the dough in a large plastic bag that kept it somewhat warm (something like a greenhouse effect). I am glad I remembered to do this as I think it reduced the proving time.

Recipe:

  • tend to the starter and prepare the levain as explained here
  • mix 1 cup of rolled rye with 1 cup of water, soak for 30 min
  • add the rye mixture, ย 1 1/4 cups of starter, 1 cup water, andย 2 tbs sugar together and mix well
  • add 4 cups of bread flour and 2 tbs of salt. Mix and form a shaggy dough. It will be a little bit sticky dough
  • stretch and fold 4-5 times at 30-60 min intervals
  • cover, wrap with a thick towel, and rise at room temp over night. My kitchen is around 17 C
  • the next morning, take the dough on a floured surface, expand and form a rectangular dough, and then fold over itself to form a baton shape
  • cover and rest for 10-15 min at room temp
  • re-shape if required and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet
  • cover with a thick towel and place in a large plastic bag; tie the ends of the bag and rest for 5 hours at room temp
  • pre-heat the oven at 375 F
  • wet the surface of the loafย with your hands and sprinkle with rolled rye. Gently press to make sure the flakes will stick. Score the loaf as you please
  • bake for 55 min
  • cool down and enjoy!

Happy baking!

The day of sourdough – Sunday

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You know I bake sourdoughย bread every Sunday.ย Since each dough, each loaf is different, Sundays are usually very exciting times for me ๐Ÿ™‚

This baby is part semolina sourdough – my second take on semolina.

My experience with semolina flour has been consistentlyย good really, but it is true that it does not rise, so I used only a cup in this loaf. There is something nice about it that helps yield a great dough, even though I cannot put my finger on it. Let me know if you have any idea ๐Ÿ™‚

Recipe:

Like other times, I fed the starter on Friday, and then again on Saturday morning.

On Saturday afternoon, I added 3/2 cup starter, 1 cup water, and 2 tbs sugar and mixed it well with a fork. Then I added 1 cup semolinaย flour, 3/2 cup bread flour, and 1.5 tbs salt and mixed everything well using my hand.ย 

The rest is very similar to other times (check this) except that I proved the loaf at room temperature for 8 hours today – only because I stepped out for a quick shopping trip, bumped into friends, and spent (lovely) time with them,ย so when I returned back home it was already 8 hours of proofing ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

I was scared that it would be over-proved, but it was not – the loaf turned out to be great; I think if it was sticky, it would not shape this well and would possibly end up being over-proven. So I feelย lucky this time ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Happy baking! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

oat and flax seed sourdough

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I surprised myself with this loaf; if you are looking for a change in the taste of your sourdough loaf, I would highly recommend you to give this one a try. This loaf tastes very realistically “nutty” because of the oat. I plan to bake a loaf only with oat and levain next time – let’s see how that will turn out.

I think it is true when they say that salt brings in the flavor. Salt level in the recipe may be too much for many, so feel free to use less, but for me it was great.ย 

 

Recipe:

Friday: feed the starter with 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup water, wrap in a towel, and rest at room temp overnight.

Saturday: The next morning, feed ย the starter again and divide into two; one part to go to fridge and the other one to rest at room temp, wrapped in a towel for a few hours, which will be used in bread.

Once the levain seems bubbly;

  • Add 1 cup rolled oat and 1/2 cup of flax seed to 1 cup of water, mix and let stand for 30 min or so
  • Add to the oat/flax seed mix, 1 cup levain, 1 cup water, 2 tbs sugar and mix well
  • Add to this mixture 1.5 tbs of salt and 3 cups+2 tbs of bread flour. Mix and form a shaggy and sticky dough, cover with a towel, and rest for 20 min. At this step the dough does not have to be perfect and there is no need to knead.
  • Stretch and fold ever 20-30 min 4 or 5 times. Honestly I put my hands on the dough whenever I had time ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Cover with a towel and rest at room temp over-night

Sunday:ย In the morning:

  • Take the dough on a counter sprinkled with flour, stretch and form a rectangular dough, and then fold over to form aย round dough. Cover and rest for 10 min
  • Check the shape, re-shape if needed, and try to form surface tension by pulling the dough towards yourself on the counter, repeat 10-15 times till it feels alright. I also “swirled” it around with the hope that it would keep its round shape
  • Wet your hands and touch on the surface to make it a little bit wet. Apply rolled oats and gently press on them to make sure they stick, turn the dough upside down, and place itย in a proofing basket (in my case a mixing bowl) covered withย a baking towel. Cover and proof at room temp for 3.5 hoursย 
  • Turn on the oven at 375 F, take the dough on a baking sheet/parchment paper seam side at the bottom, score, and place in the oven. I no longer pre-heat my oven.
  • Bake 50 min uncovered, then 10 min covered, and then another 10 min without cover.
  • Take out of the oven and cool down.

Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

A day

I keep getting up early.

I was up at around 8 am this morning. When I wake up that early, the day is so long that I can do everything in it. Like today; I got breakfast, cleaned my home, did laundry, talked to my family, walked to my office, worked like 4 hours, walked back home, cooked meal, and preparedย my sourdough for tomorrow.