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November 2012

November 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: It's Very Beautiful Out There


Once upon a time a small person who was having a rough time came to stay at our place — her self-designated Happy Place — to get a break from the hot mess difficult times at home. Early one morning, while the world was barely awake and nearly silent the girl gazed out over the small lake next to the house, sighed a sigh as big as her whole body, and solemnly said, "It's very beautiful out there."

We looked, seeing it through her eyes. We looked at the purple and rose fuschias leaning over the edge of the lake; the fractal-flock of birds swooping and dipping until it seemed their wingtips must be wet; the splashes of cloud poufs reflected in the still water.

Mostly, we looked at the wee one's quietly shining face and one of the first few smiles she had shown that visit.

She was right. It is very beautiful out there.

The house by the lake (sadly, a rental) is long gone and the small one is happily grown. My morning color is less dramatic here, being mostly hidden in mist that rises from the creeks that run amok on the valley floor but the sunsets...oh my, the sunsets.

They are very beautiful indeed.

Download a larger, slightly different, version of this picture scaled (1600x900) to use for your desktop image.

November 10, 2012

Adapting Bread Recipes for a Slow or Cold Rise

Those of you who have read a few posts here may know that I am a huge fan of slow, cold-fermentation. The long, slow rise allows the flavor of the grain to fully develop without the yeast eating all the tasty sugars and enzymes. The ability to bake bread on your schedule, rather than the dough's, is also extremely useful.

Most recipes can be made using this method, just start with cold ingredients, keep the dough cold while rising (use your refrigerator) and.reduce the yeast a bit — quite a bit it turns out. Therein lies the rub, or the knead. How much do you reduce the yeast? What is 'a bit' anyway?

While wandering the tubes of the internet, a comment at The Fresh Loaf caught my eye. It contained, in theory, an actual formula for calculating the amount of yeast when adapting a recipe to slow fermentation. Since cold fermentation is, by definition, very slow, this seemed like a great starting place.

Curious about the accuracy of the math, I tried it on a handful of recipes that I am familiar with and it worked. This is kind of exciting because it means most bread recipes can be made tastier and more easily. Seems like a win-win to me.

Continue reading "Adapting Bread Recipes for a Slow or Cold Rise" »

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