Thursday, November 7, 2013

Burying treasure


But will he find it again?

Actually, he inspired me. So comfortable, that bed of leaves. So I stayed in bed yesterday, all day. Possibly a first in a decade-plus. Head cold. I did venture upstairs briefly to be coached in the art of feeding a sourdough starter, for our neighbour who will be overseas for a while, collecting his olive harvest (!). I was careful to touch nothing and not breathe on him. Naturally, I may start baking sourdough. 

Enforced bed rest also gave me a chance to look through photos and think about calendars (...I am told they are still used. But is that really true?), so if you have any thoughts on a theme or themes, let me know - there's a poll in the sidebar, on the left. I have some other ideas, too. 

So does the cat.

15 comments:

  1. Good morning: Trust you're feeling better! Re: LED lights in the kitchen. Were they hard to install? I have only one under the counter outlet, and in an awkward spot at that....a corner camouflaged by a cook book stand with your book opened to the November menu! Thinking of making it the Saturday of Thanksgiving....GH

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    1. No, they were quite easy. But they have a bulky black box bit (maybe 7" x 4") and control switch with dimmer that is very obvious, so camouflaging it requires drilling into the cabinet above to feed the wire through, and the bulky thing (what is it, a transformer?) lives in the cabinet. Of course they do have to plug in, so the plug is visible, which in a perfect world, it would not be. I hate wires and plugs.

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  2. Hope you feel better soon. Hot toddies, lovely excuse for many!.
    Sour dough bread from wild yeast is so fantastic and easy you will wonder why you did not do it before. Going on four years now making our own bread and will never look back. Wild yeast rocks ;}

    Lisa, London

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    1. Looking forward to capturing the cultures of Harlem :-)

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  3. How about a calendar based on photos of the original 66squarefeet? We would all love the memories.

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    1. Really? Did you see the last one? I'll consider it - thanks :-)

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  4. Me too. Baking bread, I mean. I've been making a Belgian Desem bread for the past ten years or so. It is nothing but whole wheat flour, salt and water. It is so good that we rarely vary our breakfast of toasted (actually fried in olive oil) Desem and eggs. It comes closest to the hearty bread we had at boarding school in S.A., although that was a yeast bread.

    Hope your day in bed helped that cold, Marie.

    Nancy Mc

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    1. What makes it rise, Nancy?

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    2. I should have added starter to my ingredient list. Desem is Flemish for leaven.

      If you go to Wikipedia and enter Desem you will find a couple of links at the bottom for more information. One is a knead and the other is a no-knead method. I have always used Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book. Laurel was responsible for popularizing Desem for home bakers. Each of these recipes gives a slightly different way of doing the bread, which tells you how versatile it is once you get a mature starter.

      After years of working with this recipe (I do the kneading method), and having had some frustrating results from time to time, I found that the flour was always the problem. It requires western grown organic hard red winter wheat. Our food coop tries to buy locally as much as possible and they have often had flour from a farmer in Vermont that grows hard red winter wheat. But for reasons too complicated to explain in a short post it has never worked. Our wheat berries come from Utah and we grind our own. If you can find a natural foods store that grinds its own flour and can tell you the source of the wheat, that will obviously give you the freshest flour. We have tried Central Milling Organic Whole Wheat Flour (which says on the label that it is hard red winter) and that works, although it is not as good as the fresh ground. Arrowhead Mills, which is more commonly available, does not work and they can’t tell you where their wheat comes from. Because we live in a rural area we have limited options, so you would probably have more success in NYC.

      There is something very satisfying about having nothing but wheat berries, well water, sea salt and starter and then 24 hours later having two wonderfully healthy and delicious loaves of bread. A miracle really!

      Nancy Mc

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    3. Oh, got it. Thank you for the detailed explanation.

      When you said the SA one was yeast bread I though hmm, there's no yeast in yours, and wondered :-) Wild yeast versus tame yeast. I shall try it. But I'm afraid I shall leave the very serious flour business to you!

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    4. I'm glad Nancy mentioned Laurel's book! I have a copy, but haven't made desem bread in years!

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  5. I did ask Storbie if he would do a calendar.(He said only if he had enough keyboard time!And did the cat equivalent of eye-roll...)

    On bread...I think the requisite flour is called, in USA, bakers' flour. In UK it's strong, plain flour. In Australia, these days, everyone and his brother seems to have a bread machine and for those, the flour comes as a machine-specific ingredient. Lately, I've been buying sourdough bread and think I might start my own. Any advice on tropical troubles, like it going mouldy? (Our house is not air-conditioned so mould is always with us!)

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  6. "Flour Water Salt Yeast" by Ken Forkish might be a good resource. GH

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  7. Marie - loved the last calendar that you made!

    -Beth T.

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  8. Our friends bake the most wonderful sourdough breads, scones and focaccia. We helped them build their cob oven where the bread is baked. I will send you the link to their website as soon as my husband gets it up and running.

    Keli'i

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