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Five loaves make - [Aug. 19th, 2014|10:07 pm]

- not one LJ post, but two rolled into one.

For one thing, there are the last three loaves of my own baking. Of which the first was a particularly brick-like rye loaf. Lightness is not what I look for in a rye loaf, and the flavour was good, but oh, it was solid! Maybe this was my fault: my timing was off, and I may have fudged the process (leaving it to rise for just as long, but missing out one of the knocking back stages). Not certain, but I may have.

The next time I baked, I added some left-over basmati rice (I don't deliberately boil too much rice, but when I check my scales they seem accurate enough, and since I like the effect of mixing an ounce or so of cooked rice into the bread, I'm pretty relaxed about it). The resulting dough was on the wet side, though I thought I had held back on the water to balance the moistness of the rice, and a bit sticky, but a little oil made it easy enough to handle, and the outcome was a - by my standards - spectacularly light loaf.

It was at this point that I came across desperance and mrissa talking about rye dough: nasty sticky stuff, they said, hard work but yes, pretty much rises. This was a challenge, so my next loaf was another rye loaf (actually one part spelt / one rye / one white flour, plus the white flour of the sourdough starter: this may be less rye than last time round). From the start, it was rising cheerfully, and it was hideous to handle (desperance says that his favourite joke is "What's brown and sticky?" but "sourdough rye" is not the canonical answer). It swallowed as much oil as I was prepared to give it, and then a little more, so in the end I missed out a knocking back stage this time too, because I couln't bear the prospect of having to scrape it out of the bowl again, so I put it straight into the tin. And then left it to rise for longer than I meant to, because I had to be out of the kitchen at a crucial point. It doesn't seem to have suffered at all, and is light and crusty and delicious.

Next time I will follow mrissa's method: let the dough rest ten minutes after the flour goes in, then knead for forever and a year. And we'll see what happens.

Last night sunspiral and roozle came to dinner, and there were another two loaves in that meal, though both of those were bought. The pesto loaf which accompanied the tomato salad was at least artisan work, provided by the Bread Lady from the market. The oaten sliced loaf which I had bought in M & S because it was reduced and I thought it would freeze and be handy for sandwiches was - on second thoughts - ideal for making summer pudding, the dessert that I only decided on when we reached the greengrocer.

What stands out about the evening wasn't the food, though, but the talk. We hadn't met sunspiral or roozle before, though we'd heard a lot about them from weegoddess. on reflection, perhaps we shouldn't have started our acquaintance by trying to drown them, but it seemed like a good idea at the time: durham_rambler Roger met them at their hotel and walked them here by the scenic route, but unfortunately the heavens opened, and they arrived drenched and dripping, and were extremely forebearing about it. The forecast had been for occasional showers, but this was torrential, and it went on and on... We talked about WorldCon and panel moderation and malt whisky and comics and family and...

And look forward to talking more on the other side of the Atlantic.

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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-08-22 04:29 pm (UTC)
I *knew* you all would get on wonderfully. I knew it!

You did! And you told us so, and you were right!
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[User Picture]From: rushthatspeaks
2014-08-20 02:20 am (UTC)
I have not tried rye bread yet. It is sounding somewhat intimidating.

For making arrangements to see one another when you get over here: my email is the same as my username, no breaks, spaces, or capitals, at gmail.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-08-22 05:12 pm (UTC)
I would be sorry to intimidate you out of trying rye bread - and without cause, I'm sure. Your culinary exploits are much more intrepid than mine.

That said: bread for me is about flavour first, texture second, and lightness almost not at all. Rye is great on the first two of these, so it's hard to go wrong. If your criteria are different, then ignore my advice, it doesn't apply!

And I have e-mailed: hope it works!
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From: cmcmck
2014-08-20 07:35 am (UTC)
Rye is hard work but it is oh so good!

Have you tried barley bread?
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-08-22 05:14 pm (UTC)
I have, and had good results using left-over cooked barley as with the rice, above. Barley flour, I wasn't as impressed by.

Bere meal, now, when I can get it...
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From: cmcmck
2014-08-22 05:17 pm (UTC)
Bere meal is amazing.

We always bring a bag back with us a well as some packs of Argos bere meal biccies!
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[User Picture]From: sunspiral
2014-08-21 03:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you and durham_rambler again for having us to dinner. The whole evening was splendid. The rain bit merely makes it a better story. (This trip we certainly learned that going anywhere in England without an umbrella is just asking for trouble.) We're very much looking forward to having you visit here in September, and we should finalize plans with you and with weegoddess and her J via email.

As for rye bread, I'll be sending you my favorite recipe. We didn't spend enough time talking about baking. In fact, I doubt we'll run out of things to talk about.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-08-22 05:19 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm afraid you had to suffer so that I could tell a better story!

And we are looking forward to seeing you again, too! And talking about baking and other matters...

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