The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Floydm's blog

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Floydm

The kids are in bed, reading some stories before going to sleep so that they are ready for school tomorrow. For us summer is over.

We had a great summer. The kids are old enough now that I can do a lot with them, so I did. We went camping when the lupin were in bloom...

...rafting down the river while our Chinese exchange student was with us...

...hiking to hidden waterfallls...

...and just returned from the coast.

As you may have noticed, all of this activity greatly reduced my baking. Gone are the long quiet afternoons around the house while the babies nap, the perfect time for baking. Instead the time was filled with bike rides, hikes, trips to the playground, and dips in the lake. I'm not complaining, but obviously I've not been doing a great job contributing to the site.

Thank goodness other folks have. David and Eric, the two bakers I just featured on the front page, have been two of the most prodigious posters around here. Many others have extremely helpful as well. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who've continued to make this site a pleasure to read and participate in.

I hope now that the cool weather is returning and the kids are back in school I'll be able to get back on a better baking and posting schedule. I also hope to get back on top of the technical updates to the site. Thank you again for your patience and understanding when I fall behind here.

Time to go turn the kids' lights out and tuck them in.

Good night.

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Floydm

Hmmm... I think it is ready.

Pita time.

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Floydm

Hey there. I am still here.

It has been a very busy spring. Among other things and as dstroy mentioned, we went to San Francisco for a week. I attended the Web 2.0 Conference while D and the kids checked out the city. It was interesting to hear talks about social networking and community building and think about what we've done right here and what I should work to improve. Overall, we are doing more right than wrong.

Work has been extremely busy as well. As has been much discussed here, grain prices are up worldwide, which makes life tough for humanitarian aid workers on tight budgets, so we are working very hard on the fundraising side to try to prevent us from having to cut back any of our programs. The economic downturn in the US doesn't help our fundraising any either.

We've also added a blog where we are tracking the impact of rising grain prices worldwide. Some folks might find it interesting. Yes, it is annoying for us at TFL that our raw material costs are up, but that is nothing compared to the economic disruption many people in the world are dealing with.

Baking? I've done some. Mostly the standards: blueberry muffins, honey whole wheat bread, sourdough miches like this one from last night:

a sourdough miche

My kids are big enough now that they don't take naps reliably. That used to make scheduling baking really simple: whatever we might have scheduled for the day, we could count on being around the house in the mid-afternoon while they dozed. Now it is up in the air. And, as much as I enjoy baking, given the option between having the flexibility to spend the afternoon hiking to a waterfall or out for a bike ride with the kids or needing to be home by 2 so I can shape my loaves, the flexible option is winning out (with positive results: we are having a wonderful time together, and I know there are not going to be many years that they are going to want to spend their weekends with their parents). I need to figure out some other baking routines that both allow me to try new breads and still spend my afternoons out playing with the kids.

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Floydm

Floydm's picture
Floydm

30% Whole Wheat. We ate them with a very bland pot of corn chowder I made this evening.

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Floydm

Tonight's sourdough loaves.

sourdough

Quite good, though not as sour I as like. It was sunny today, so I had it rise quicker than usual on the table in the sunlight. I honestly think it made a difference in the flavor. I need to take advantage of the cool nights while the remain to do a few more loaves with long, slow overnight fermentation.

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Floydm

I was walking across the Portland State University campus last week and I noticed this:

brick oven

During the summer, the farmers market happens here. I gather someone must bake during the market. Neat.

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Floydm

I made my pain sur poolish today. I was eyeballing the salt and intentionally added a little more than usual, but I think it overdid it. It wasn't bad, but it just had that puckered look and listlessness it gets when you add too much salt. So it goes.

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Floydm

I rose my sourdough overnight last night, shaped it this morning, and baked it around noon. By the time I got my camera out, one loaf had been devoured and the second was reduced to this:

sourdough loaf

One thing to note: I forgot it and left it in the oven an extra 10 minutes or so. Every time I do this I am pleased with the result. Dark bread is well-baked bread!

I also tried the Lavash crackers from the BBA:

crackers

Eh... I didn't roll it thin enough, so it was more like a flat bread than a cracker. I also found the dough to be sweeter than what I'd expected. Perhaps this is the nature of lavash, I don't know. Next time I'll roll them out thinner and leave out the honey.

I also baked a buttermilk sandwich bread with some cake yeast I was given by a friend (Catlikethief). I'd never tried the stuff before. It smelled foul when I took it out of the fridge, but it definitely did the trick. I'll be interested to taste the bread in the morning to see if the flavor is at all different.

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Floydm

Sylvia Burgos has a podcast dedicated to artisan bread, cheese, and wine. In the latest episode she chats with Peter Reinhart and yours truly.

Listen here.

And, yes, I know I got the hydration backward. "100% flour, 65% water" it should be. I was tired.

Gotta go heat my oven for today's baking.

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