Sunday, November 28, 2010

More loaves

The weather has been strange around here, hasn't it? Just a few days ago, it is -32C going to work in the morning. By evening, it had gone up to about -9C. The next day, it was +4C -- so the snow we had earlier was melting and we had slush. That's the Chinook, you know. It's nice to see, although a lot of people get bad headaches from it, and there is quite a strong wind. Oh, well, it does break up our winter.

It was very cold in my apartment. I had the oven on for over a week. That didn't seem to help much -- it was still very chilly inside. We had a fire alarm in our building one day, and I happened to talk to one man who told me it was very cold in his place too! Apparently, they forgot to turn on the heat!

But right the next day, when it finally warmed up outside, it was hot inside! That was a pleasant relief. In fact, I had to open a window! It's been open for the last two days and nights ... I may close it tonight...maybe tomorrow. What odd weather! Mind you, we are used to having it change this quickly in this part of the country. Still is a little hard to take.

I baked more bread yesterday. I had so much to do, and instead just stayed in, had a nap, and baked some bread.

I put in some chopped apple, some dried apricots, a handful of dried cranberries, and the rest of the canned. It's quite good! I made four small round loaves. One has already disappeared -- I think it's our dry climate that makes them just dry up and vanish. (well, it works for me!)

I think I may put in some seeds next time. Just to add something different to it. No matter -- it all seems to disappear just as quickly. Sorry, no pics this time. They don't seem to sit around long enough! :-)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

So Much Better

This is much better in real life than in photos, but this is the best I can do. While I wrote the post previous to this one, my bread was baking in the oven. I have just taken it out, and had to show you what I did this time! I'm so excited! This is about the best it's been.

The last several times I've baked bread, they have turned out great. Almost perfect! I had a lot of trouble a couple of months ago in that it would not rise evenly for me. But I think I've discovered the secret now -- although I really don't know what I'm doing differently -- and the last few have been just wonderful.

I usually just make a round loaf and let it sit on the pan that way, but today, I decided to place this one in a loaf pan. It rose beautifully, no more cracks in the surface, and baked just right. Sometimes they get a little darker than this one, but I was careful to watch the timing.

It's still warm over there -- that first slice has already vanished -- and I have to try a few slices, just to be sure it's done all the way through! Sometimes the centre might not be baked as nicely as the rest, you know! :-)

This one was made with a little bit of cranberry, and I always add a little bit of sauerkraut to my breads. You can't really taste it at all -- it sort of disappears -- but I think it helps in the rising. At least, since I've started adding it to my breads, I've never had an failures! So I'm sticking with this method.

I only baked one loaf, because that will do for me for a few days. I like it fresh. I will bake another early next week... not sure what I will add to it then. I like to try different things. I may throw in some fruits in the next one.. just for some variety, and because I have some.

But right now, I have to go and test another slice... maybe with some of my real strawberry jam this time. You know, you have to try it all different ways to see what works and what doesn't!


PS: I should add that this cloth was woven by me several years ago. It was meant for a sale, but I made a treadling error about a quarter from the end... so I kept it. It sat in a drawer for many years, but I have started using it the last couple years. I really like it, and am planning on making another one. I am afraid I am going to stain this one, so I need to be careful what I do with it! It is a regular waffle weave in cotton.


What fibres could be any nicer to play wtih than Merino and Silk. And having both together is even double the pleasure!

Here is some that I had for quite a long time... just waiting for the right time, you know... and I have now spun it up. I did it all on the spindle, of course, as my spinning tool of choice. I really love my spindle!

Here is a pic of the roving, the spindle and the cops I've done. I still have to ply, and that will be done soon.

But in the meantime, I got distracted by some regular wool in rich brown and some navy blue. I do have some black that needs to be twisted a bit too, but with there not being much daylight these days (only 9 hours today), I think it will wait a bit longer. I will process these skeins that have been plied, maybe complete this grey, and then I'll post more pics.

I've been looking at all kinds of patterns for the next kntting project. Some lace, some scarves, some vests, some hats. We'lll see if anything ever gets completed! I seem to be distracted so easily... by more fibre!