The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A Loaf for the Dear One and One for an Electrician

dabrownman's picture

A Loaf for the Dear One and One for an Electrician

It has been forever since Lucy made a bread of any kind or posted about it.  I don’t eat bread anymore because my diabetes is harder to control and I would rather drink a glass of wine, beer and bourbon after thinking about it - when sober. Hard to get snockered on one glass though.  It’s like being in a diet by limiting the plate size.


Lucy, off course, still has onset renal failure due to her ancient age but she is way, way better now a days.   We figured out that we were killing her with the two dog foods. One dry and one wet mixed together, she loved to eat.  Now she eats food for her condition that is 10 times more expensive but only has 4% protein instead of 30%.  Who knew you could kill your dog feeding her good food and save her by feeding her crap food?  Low percent protein is good sometimes…..


It’s summer but the monsoon has been sparse, only one day of rain so few great sunsets.  Not nearly as hot as usual either.  We’re becoming more of a desert with lower temperatures, only 106 - 110 F, and not much rain.  Since we got rid of the grass in the front yard, our water usage is way down and it is nice to see the desert in bloom all summer.

Lucy still has her 8’x20’ patch of the grass in the back that required a new electric mower to mow.  No more having the fuel go bad and clogging up the carb and fuel lines every year.  It only takes 90 seconds to cut it every week and she loves sunning herself and rolling around in the grass.  Lucy misses baking bread but she is too old to remember what it was like - just like me.  Still, it is better to make and eat great bread than eat crap bread……. if you don’t have renal failure or diabetes.

We had a lot of electrical things going wrong in the house after 33 years of not fixing anything when it broke.  The great thing was that we could get them all fixed in a day by a great electrician who happens to be from Gumbo Land – New Orleans.  So, we made him a SD bread that could have come from there.  Foodies love all kinds of good food. 

He thought it was weird that I made bread though.  I guess bread making doesn’t fit the normal lazy, retired, fat man profile…….. especially when almost no one makes bread now a days especially sourdough.  When I told hm I would make him a loaf he said  – really?  I told him it wasn’t a big deal and it would only cost a buck to make.  When he saw it he said …..Whoa – haven’t seen a bread like that before and I told him me neither since they all look a bit different.

I asked him what kind of bread he wanted - whole grain made from fresh ground flour, sprouted flour bread, fruit bread, nut bread, olive bread, cheese bread or whatever it didn’t make any difference.  He said he would leave it up to me.  I told him a New Orleans style SD with some whole grains, but still a white bread, would remind him of home and Gumbo.   No time for sprouting grains and get the bread done in 48 hours.

A few days before, my wife finally needed another loaf of her sandwich bread with school starting up again.   So, I baked 2 loaves in two weeks – a new recent record.  When I started my wife’s loaf and got the flour out it had been infected by evil weevils so I had to toss it all out and get some new but some of the tossed flour was sprouted Khorasan and spelt so these breads lack those goodies.My wife’s bread is 30% whole grain; red and white wheat and rye in equal amounts, 20% pre-fermented flour bran levain at 75% hydration and made in a wide tin.  The other one is 20% whole grain, 10% pre-fermented flour bran levain at 72% hydration.


Both levains took forever to double, over 24 hours each, since the NMNF rye starter was near the end of its usefulness and has been in the fridge for well over half a year with no maintenance.  There is only 5 g left to refresh for another half a year – but I’m retired so I haven’t gotten around to it yet – maybe tomorrow or next week!  It took me a week to get this written up as well.  It seems to take at least a week to do anything now a days


We did the slap and folds and stretch and folds over 2 hours and then let it sit for an hour before a final shaping and panning or basketing for the final proof.  The tin was retarded for 2 days and we just left the basketed boule out on the counter overnight in a plastic bag since time was short and Lucy gets me up a 5:15 every morning with the bad hunger pains that have no end.


The tin was baked in the aluminum Magnaware Turkey Roaster and the boule in the CI Lodge Combo Cooker.  Both turned out very nice with the tinned bread nicely sour to go along with its more sandwich bread style crumb.  The boule had the 3 B’s in spades bloom, bold and blistered even though I forgot to spritz it again.  The boule I’m sure was more open and less sour but we didn’t get to see it or taste it.

Meat  - Ribs and sausage, Country style ribs, chicken

The food has been the same around here – varied and plentiful with lots of salads.  Been swimming every day trying to lose weight and get back into some kind of shape with emphasis on some kind.  At least I git a tan out of it.  Lucy is doing great and sends her best.


Turkey Bolognese and Salmon

Pork Chop


Bacon Cheese Burger, home made hot pickles and baked wedge fries

Tacos and Grilled Tortilla Pizza


Breakfast Turkey Bubbles and Squeak, Omelet and Pancake



merlie's picture

So happy to read a post from you again - really missed you ( and Lucy ) your photographs are mouth watering !!


dabrownman's picture

The food was grand and that was just the half of it that would fit on a post.  Gain weight the past 3 months and now am swimming every day and cutting way back to the A1C under control again.  Will get there soon enough.

Happy baking Marlie!

DanAyo's picture

I really hate to hear you are off the bread. That must have been tough :-(

You definitely have not lost your touch. The loaf pictured at the top is gorgeous.

Wishing you, your wife, and Lucy the very best!


dabrownman's picture

Yeah,  I can make it but can't eat any bread -  Tortilla Pizza is not considered bread around here nor are tacos:-)  Glad you like the post Danny!  Happy baking and eating bread.

Danni3ll3's picture

I was getting worried about Lucy (and you) so I am glad she is doing well. I hear you about the dog food. There is a bit of a fad these days on feeding really high protein and grain free to dogs and I am sure that is going to cause some issues down the road if it hasn’t already. It’s really hard to find quality dog food that doesn’t have sky high protein. The one I feed my dogs still has protein higher than I’d like but it’s made in Canada and the food isn’t full of crap like some. And it’s a food that works for both dogs since for a while there, they each had their own. 🙄 Funny how one dog can do well one one kind and the other dog looks terrible on the same food. 

Your bread looks fabulous as usual. And I am sorry to hear about Lucy losing her stock of flours to bugs! If you miss baking, you could do what I do and bake for a soup kitchen. 😉 I know they would really appreciate it and you get to play with dough! 

dabrownman's picture

or bread at the local soup kitchen.  This week was bread,  Safeway had Oroweat my wife's old favorite sandwich bread before we won her over to SD, on sale for 47 cents a loaf.  When Turkeys are on sale, we always get an extra one at Thanksgiving and same for hams at Easter.  I used to unload the overloaded freezer of excess bread and drop it off too but there is no excess anymore. I will try to bake a loaf for them every week so I don't get rusty.

Lucy is really doing well and acts like she did a few years ago now...... which would normally be good if she was good back then....I'm too old to remember if she was ever good:-)

Glad you liked the bread Danni.  Happiness comes to those that wait on sourdough!

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Must be Old Home Week at Floyd’s LeavInn with dab and DavidS stopping by.  Always good to hear from you dab. 👍👍 for Danielle’s suggestion: charity baking. Cost is mostly your time and us retired farts supposedly have that in good supply, minus spousal demands of course. 😉

Look after yourself and Lucy. And the local tradesmen while you’re at it. I do that now and then too.  Interesting to hear the reactions.  We bakers see good bread everywhere. But to most people it’s unknown. 


dabrownman's picture

and tastes as good as it looks:-)  We are harsh critics on bread for sure and a bit jaded too....except for Lucy of course.  She is just stupid but it's not her fault - she was bred to be that way and it worked!  Will bake for the soup kitchen for sure.  There isn't much need here in the summer since it is too hot and the homeless are taking their summer vacation in Seattle.   But they will be back for 6 months before you know it and the soup kitchen will be full up and in need again.

I saw that David had posted his San Joaquin.  The boule recipe above is pretty close to it.  SJ is still my favorite white SD bread.

Glad you liked the post and happy baking Tom.

isand66's picture

So happy to hear Lucy is doing better.  Sorry you have to stay off the bread but it looks like your delicious selection of food is not going to make you go hungry.  The bread looks great and I'm sure the electrician was very happy with his gift.

In regards to the dog food issue, there has been a lot of issues with dogs getting cardio myapothothy from eating grain free diets.  By putting them back on a diet with grain it was able to reverse the issue if caught early enough but some dogs have not recovered.  There is some conflicting opinions on this issue but I would rather be safe than sorry and use Science diet dry food and a little canned food mixed in.

Best regards to you and the family from Max, Lexi and the rest of the east coast gang!

dabrownman's picture

Pasta, the bun on burgers, tortillas, saffron rice, pizza crust, rosemary fried potatoes - nearly every picture has carbs in never ends:-)  Oh well, things could be worse.  If the doc said giving up bourbon, beer and wine we would have a come to Brownman meeting.  He doesn't drink because he's a Mormon but enough is enough already!  I can see why so many diabetics smoke pot though:-)

Old doges get renal failure and cutting out protein really helps.  I had my doubts, but the vet was right.  She is a new dog and has no stomach, vomit or stool issues since went on the new food. She is just hungry all the time.  Lucy ate Science diet, or Pro Plan,  and canned food mixed for years till it started killing her.

Lucy sends her best to the East Coast Pack.  The Black ones are way to young to give up their protein!

Glad you liked the bread Ian and happy baking 

Anne-Marie B's picture
Anne-Marie B

You know what to do to make people hungry. It looks just gorgeous. Thank you and good karma to Lucy.

dabrownman's picture

food so .....1 of us must have self control on portion size, not drink beer or bourbon and actually exercise often:-)  Lucy is 5 years years younger on her new diet - she is doing great.  Maybe I should try it?  It just doesn't look good coming out of the can matter what you do to make it more appealing by gussying it up.  She doesn't seem to mind for some reason and just wolfs it down.

Glad you like the post and happy baking A-MB

Elsie_iu's picture

to lost grains and flour to weevils. This can transform into a total nightmare when you take into account how many cereals and pulses I have at home. Thirty something types... or more. I lose count. Nothing is worst than banning carbs though. Luckily tortillas and pancakes don't count :) Guess it's good news you're obsessed with booze after all.   

Eating less protein might be preferred not only for dogs, but for us human too. So many nutrition "experts" are advocating diets high in fats/protein. It doesn't sound very reasonable to me. Not very wise to cut down on carbs drastically unless you're a diabetic. I wonder what diabetic vegans eat... No offense. What is the meaning of life when you can't have carbs or cheese or barbecue meat? 

The salads, tacos, grilled & smoked meat all look delicious but my favourite? The T-bone steak! Wow that's saying a lot because when was the last time I crave steak? It pretty much never happened. And I'm even starting to dream about homemade sausages. Better stop thinking about it... 

I give loaves away to my family whenever there's something I want to bake but not eat. For instance, the photogenic airy white bread that hardly tastes as good as it looks. Shhh don't tell them. Just between you and me :) I'm sure the electrician likes the bread. Well it probably sounds too dramatic but his life (or taste buds at the very least) might have been forever changed.

Enjoy all those lovely summer fruits, they're one of the best gifts nature has to offer. All the best to you, Lucy and the rest of your family! Glad to hear Lucy is doing better. 

dabrownman's picture

Some nuts for snacks.  The rest not so much.  Lots of sugar in ripe fruits and berries so I probably should stay away from them but then it is like missing out on too much life, which is too short as it is....especially as one gets older:-)  If I ever get renal failure at least I know I can eat Lucy's food to get by on $3 day!

Few things can beat a good taco made with any meat ....especially a T-Bone.  Beef is getting very expensive here so it must really be sky a high price in HK.  We don't have it that often as a result so when we do it is a real treat.

I don't drink much beer and bourbon now a days but do like a glass of red wine every night with dinner.  It is one of life's many pleasures that is still affordable if your pallet isn't too snooty.  I couldn't afford to drink wine if my pallet was as good with wine as it is with bread and food:-)  The key to drinking good wine on a budget is to treat it like an investment and having patience.  I can afford a $10 bottle of 2017- J Lohr 7 Oaks Cabernet but I want to drink the 2010 version.  Problem is, the 2010 is hard to find and most folks couldn't afford it if they did!  Plus there are 3 levels of J Lohr above the 7 Oaks up to $76 depending on your budget - right now.  Just put it away till 2025 - no matter what you can afford now.  

Weird how mist folks like non SD white bread the best.  I personally think that all white bread should have at least 3 different grains and 20% whole grains but, as a libertarian, as long as they don't force me to eat their white bread then I could care less what kind of bread they eat.

I'm gad you like the post and I am going back to see which ones of yours I have missed.  Your posts are like a nice 2010 J Lohr Cabernet.  Hppy baking Elsie!  Your bread keep getting better and better just like wine s it ages.

dmsnyder's picture

Your salads are even more gorgeous than your sunsets!

I'm sorry your diabetes has gotten to the point you can't eat bread! Total bummer. I hope you can diet and exercise your way back to better control. It's a shame it takes more than the right dog food!

Your creative cooking has never been restricted to bread though. I'm enjoying it vicariously with my eyes.

Take care of yourself (and your apprentice)!


dabrownman's picture

recent winter.  Holidays aren't the easiest best for controlling carbs.  I swim in the summer for an hour a day so the A1C is always under 7 but the winter and spring were not the best for exercise if your joints are shot below the waist.  I will get it under 7 no worries for the next test for sure and then I can have a slice of bread a day!  It is hard to make half a sandwich for lunch without a slice of bread.  We love salads.  It isn't dinner without one.  Hardly any monsoons this year so no great sunsets.  The picture below is the only one so far.

I'm a closet chef for sure.  Tonight is lamb gyros.  Surprisingly easy to make at home if you know the hacks the hacks.  Lucy is doing great.

Glad you like the post David and happy baking SD Bread

dabrownman's picture

recent winter.  Holidays aren't the easiest best for controlling carbs.  I swim in the summer for an hour a day so the A1C is always under 7 but the winter and spring were not the best for exercise if your joints are shot below the waist.  I will get it under 7 no worries for the next test for sure and then I can have a slice of bread a day!  It is hard to make half a sandwich for lunch without a slice of bread.  We love salads.  It isn't dinner without one.  Hardly any monsoons this year so no great sunsets.  The picture below is the only one so far.

I'm a closet chef for sure.  Tonight is lamb gyros.  Surprisingly easy to make at home if you know the hacks the hacks.  Lucy is doing great.

Glad you like the post David and happy baking SD Bread