Monday, March 4, 2013

The Two Most Important Parts In Bread Making

... You know, minus the flour, and water, and salt, etc. I've been making fresh bread every week, sometimes twice a week, since I've been married. 6 years. And I've found that bread is one of the few things that you really can make by technique, but you might never know it if you happen to read the wrong recipes. They might not give you enough detail, or they may not give you the why's behind what you're doing.
     Aside from an infinite number of flour variations, water to flour ratios, grains added or not, butter versus oil, do get good bread out of your two hands and one oven (yes, only one), there are TWO THINGS that could make all the difference between you sighing with contentment or throwing up your hands in frustration.

1.) Give yourself plenty of time to mix/knead your dough. This is very important because gluten is only made when the flour and water are stretched and folded over and over and over and over and over again. Gluten will hold the air and moisture, so turn your mixer on when it looks like it might need a little bit more flour and walk away. Finish blowing your hair dry. When it looks smooth and elastic it's done.

2.) Give your dough plenty of time to rise! While rising (in an oiled bowl, with a towel over it) the dough will look strong, tight, and resiliant. When it's finally done with this process it will look like it has taken it's last deep breath and is just about ready to sigh back into the bowl. If it holds a finger
depression, it's done. Timing will vary depending on the amount of water in your dough and the temperature.

These two processes are where all of the living and breathing changes take place, making the difference between delicious, ok, and somtimes a brick that you wouldn't want to chuck at a feral possum.

I hope it helps! Find a recipe that sounds like what you want and give it a try...

What Happens During Naptime - Red Thrift Store Dress

 I think perhaps "What Happens During Naptime..." should have been my blogs name.
This week I had three little projects in cue that are all relatively easy and fast, but my daughter would fall asleep and suddenly the paralysis would set in. Should I take a nap? Work on my dress? Sew a little bit more of my felt badger? Draw that picture I've had in my mind?

 So little time! Well, today I did two things with my Nap Time. First, I took a little nap. Wonderful, now I can think straight enough to decide what to do with the rest of my time.
I had picked up this little red dress at a thrift store with my sister a couple weeks ago. It had interesting buttons and fit just right but it was just short enough that sitting down or crouching was going to be unsettling.

So, I got about ten inches of this great red fabric. It looks like a grandmothers kitchen, that's the only way I can describe it. I folded it in half lengthwise so I wouldn't need a bottom seam and attatched it the the bottom hem. It worked perfectly!
Here's my Nap Time Creation!