Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Misty mornings and utter mortification
I'm loving the darkening of the season. Cold, damp, misty mornings. Low sun and early sunsets. Long indoor evenings.
Quilts are out.
Pigs are in.
A few seasonal blooms. I love the leaves on this little cyclamen. And the way the buds unfurl. And the way they flower in the darkest days of the year. Tough, but incredibly beautiful and delicate looking.
I found a book on bread at the library.
Turns out it is rather brilliant (and I'm not being paid to say that). I picked it up because of the chapter on sourdough, and I've really learned so much from it. I tried sourdough once before, but it was like a brick. Now, I do believe I've cracked it. It's all explained in quite a lot of detail, but James Morton also takes quite a relaxed attitude to making it.
I started with some easy (non-sourdough) rolls that everyone loved.
Then I moved on to Advanced White Bread. Fancy huh?
First I made a sourdough starter, which took a couple of days. In fact it seems to be getting livelier the older it is. Here's the flour and water stage.
Then I kneaded some dough and left it to rise. It really amazed me how bubbly it was.
I don't have a picture of the finished thing, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Yesterday I made a sourdough overnight in the bread machine, and it honestly is amazing how much it rises without any ordinary packet yeast in it at all.
There are lots of other ideas I'd like to try.
I love the idea of natural yeasts, which are left to prove for much longer than ordinary dried yeast. The book says that once you have a sourdough starter it can be used in pretty much any bread. In the meantime it's sat in the kitchen quietly bubbling away, and being fed once a day to keep it going.
Last night was parents' evening at school. We all went together. During the littlest's turn we were having a light-hearted chat about being good. Jokingly he said that Daddy is naughty. The eldest, to my horror, piped up and said, "Mummy's really naughty, she swears all the time!" I was literally left speechless. I really don't, I promise, although a bad word may have slipped out a couple of days before which was probably what he was referring to. I sat there in front of the teacher going pink, then red and wishing the floor would open up and swallow me. It was actually like being back at school. I'm sure I will be the talk of the staffroom now. "Of course, you know his mother swears all the time, it explains a lot." I'm actually a pretty quiet person, so they probably also have me down as some sort of psychopathic Jekyll and Hyde character as well. Careful not to set her off. Sigh. I spent the rest of the time in a bit of a trance. No idea what any of the children are doing at school at all. Mostly I was concentrating on not swearing.