Thursday, October 2, 2014

If at first you don't succeed OR Pictures, Mr. Pollan, PICTURES!


Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I am distantly related to Old Hank Longfellow and when I chanced upon the quote this morning, I felt it worth repeating, since last night, at around 9 o'clock, I would have liked to have woken up Michael Pollan, he of the "oh breadmaking is so much fun" fame.

Michael Pollan
Mr. Pollan, you are brilliant and delightful,
but I could have used you around the house the last couple of days

I have faith in my sourdough starter, in all of its bubbling, bacterial, jollification.

However, the rest of the directions seemed to only confuse me.  The dough was like a soup, though it was said that it ought to be a lovely watery mass....  All that said, it did not turn out.  There are no pictures, because it was stuck to the dutch oven overnight, threatening to stay attached forever and frankly, I just wanted to crawl into bed with a good book.

However, I am undaunted.  I am just perhaps daunted by Mr. Pollan.  It seems that my style of learning requires either pictures or in-person demos.  If any of you know Mr. Pollan, send him my way,  In the absence of that, I am studying Epicurious.com.  Meanwhile, my starter bubbles away... waiting...

As God is my witness, I will make this kind of bread!


From Bread of the Damned we move to:

Sweater of the Damned...

There is some good news.  I tried many things, including ALL of your suggestions.  The final thing that seemed to bring the sweater back from its funkified state was putting it in a sealed bag with baking soda for 2 days and then running it through the handwash cycle with oxyclean detergent.  Desperate times....

Now I will wash once more with the Laundress, to make it fluffy again!  

Maybe tomorrow we will talk about clothes or something....

Stay safe out there, xoxo wendy

16 comments:

  1. Glad the sweater is on the mend. I'm hopeless with baking (too much measuring and timing for my jackrabbit brain) but look forward to your battle with the bread!

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    1. Jen, I - for good or bad - can be quite tenacious! Thanks!

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  2. So glad you saved the sweater and yes you will get that bread baked, sliced, and eaten. We saw Tyler last weekend and are off to see Em this weekend. Yay!

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    1. Have fun with Em! Can't wait to hear all about it!

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  3. Wonderful news about the sweater! Now we all know what to do if something like this ever happens again.

    Sorry to hear about your bread! I'm sure you will get it baked, and that it will be extra delicious due to all the time and effort you have put into it.

    As for clothes, the weather has cooled down this past week, so I have been able to wear cashmere, jackets, and even knee boots. If you get the chance stop by my Instagram page to see my 'outfit of the day selfies'. Is your weather still warm or are you cooling down there too?

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    1. I love your outfits! Okay, I am taking an Instagram tutorial this weekend!

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  4. Hi, I did a stint baking sourdough at home with a high-moisture recipe, and it can be tricky to get the feel for it, but there are plenty of internet resources. I just googled no-knead sourdough and saw this link http://www.breadtopia.com/sourdough-no-knead-method/, which I recall as being helpful, but you'll find many, many other sites as well. (I remember this blogger as being particularly interesting as well http://www.chewswise.com/)

    It's also good to see images of how much your starter is supposed to rise for it to be truly ready and active, because your yeast may still need some time to mature. I found that my yeast liked rye flour. And stretching and folding (rather than traditional kneading) helps develop gluten (and those big air holes). Wet hands makes it easier to handle the dough. A very long cool initial rise helps as well--I would start on Friday and bake on Sunday. Finally, I would always line the pan with parchment paper. I am a person who never measures exactly and won't follow instructions, so if I could make something edible I know you can as well. Good luck! I know you'll be enjoying tasty bread soon!

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    1. Anon, I am blowing you a kiss! I seem to recall a discussion of wet hands in the book, but don't think I saw it in the recipe. I am off to go look at those sites!

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    2. Mary - oddly, your comments came through via email! Thank you so much for the offer of the file! I am so taking advantage of that and when I get ready to make them I will have you on speed dial!

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  5. I fear your sweater may have drowned.

    Sourdough is rather tricky. I know a chef in town who let a restaurant to open his own and took his years old starter. Made the local paper.

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  6. Too funny about the bread Wendy! I too had a bread disaster two weekends ago. I can't claim to have made my own sourdough starter (just packet yeast - I hang my head in shame), but I had my mixer on knead function and decided to multitask. I took the bins out and came back to the house to hear an almighty thud - the mixer had wandered off the bench. Oops. It was on its side on the floor still working though, but very cracked. All fixed now by the nice service people, but still. I cried at my stupidity. I might hold off on bread making for a while….

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    1. Poor mixer, and so dedicated to the end! I'm amazed it didn't crack the floor - they are so heavy! I have had success with packet bread, but will keep going - slow and steady!

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  7. Wendy, I am not at all surprised that you are a distant cousin of Hank! I have been reading your blog constantly for the last few weeks. I even stole a moment from my work to write an awed commentary on your lovely writing following one of your recent posts.( Naturally , the comment was devoured by Blogger.) I had an A-ha moment the other day and realized- partly from your blog, partly from an inordinate amount of time spent watching Canadian TV while working, that I have become a Canada-phile. Your incredible travel pictures have only cemented that further. When I am not working I have been mulling travel locations, although they are rather removed from each other.(Canada is HUGE.) You have enticed me with so many many beguiling locales. The Jasper pictures were sublime, although your home town pictures beckon, too.
    So glad you had success with the sweater. And, as for the bread making- trust me when I tell you, no one comes running to me for home- cooked anything : )

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  8. Aw, that is so nice. I was thinking of you the other day, as our vogue knitting covergirl is still on my coffee table! Start with the east coast - you can fly return from JFK To Portland Maine for $175 or so, rent a car and we will help you plan an amazing itinerary of lovely and inexpensive hotels and breathtaking places! And a knitting lesson/crochet lesson for me along the way! Then you can spend all your money out west! :-)

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    1. Thank you for thinking of me- and for buying the magazine! That is lovely. I just might take you up on your offer, and would love to give a knitting lesson : ) although, it does seem like you make your way here more than I make my way up north. I am really dreaming/ planning a trip for the spring- I hear it gets a little cold in Canada in the winter!

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Kindness is a virtue...