12/8/16

All Night Long

When I got up this morning, I was sure I could hear Lionel Richie singing in my kitchen. When I checked in on the seed culture...whoa! Look at those bubbles!


Remember that it had barely risen above the level of the tape when I checked it yesterday morning.


This morning it had doubled in size.


 So with that, the seed culture is ready, and I can start the "barm". The barm is the actual starter for the loaf of Artos bread I'm going to make. I used 7 oz. of the seed culture and mixed it with 16 oz. of bread flour and 16 oz. of water. When it was all nicely distributed, I put it into an 8-cup glass measure.


The container needed to be at least twice as large as the barm, and so this should be fine. Also, I've added the tape to the level of the barm so that I can measure its progress.


Now, its job is to ferment at room temperature for "approximately 6 hours, or until the barm is bubbly." Given our cold temperatures, it might take longer. I'm told to expect the plastic wrap to "swell like a balloon." When I notice that, I am to release it and let the gas escape. Here's where it gets scary. According to Peter Reinhart (the book's author), I should try not to breathe the fumes as they escape because "the carbonic gas mixed with ethanol fumes will knock you across the room!" The exclamation point is his. Okay, then. Duly noted.

Speaking of the smell, you might recall that he told me the seed culture would not smell good, but that it would brighten toward the end of the process. Early on, I'd say it smelled kind of like beer. Toward the end of the process, it was smelling more like freshly baked bread. These descriptions are not exact, but the best I can come up with. 

When the barm is ready, I'm to replace the cover and refrigerate it overnight before using it. If all goes well, I'll be ready to bake some bread tomorrow, and I'll have a 3-day window to do so. From there, I can refresh it and keep it alive indefinitely. There's a lengthy explanation of this in the book, which I have not completely absorbed. I'll say more about that when the time comes. My plan is to keep it alive as I progress through the book so that I don't have to go through this whole week-long process again. I'm also told I can freeze it. All of this is a little fuzzy in my brain. I don't know about you, but I can only absorb so much information at a time, and I tend to disregard anything that isn't imminently useful.

So...that's kind of exciting. To me, anyway. Bread! Tomorrow! What better way to spend a (forecast to be) cold, icy, snowy day.

Also, I got a start quilting Gingerbread Square yesterday, and it's going very well. I quilted the snow on the ground with widely spaced echos of the embroidery lines.


Above ground, I quilted some pebbles and swirls to suggest falling snow and wind.



This took some time, but eventually, I had the whole center block quilted, and I'm happy to say that I did not suffer even one thread breakage. I'm using a white metallic thread on top, so that's saying something!


To break up the monotony of all that pebbling, I decided to quilt the adjacent sashings for each block as I go. For this, I'll be quilting insy-outsy lines. As I do both directions, I'll have intersecting circles. When I did the free motion quilting sampler for the Sit Down FMQ Facebook group, she called this motif "Orange Peels." I don't know if that's the actual name or her name. Maybe one of you knows.


When I'd gone all the way around in one direction, I was getting kind of tired, and so I stopped there. As I went, I was kind of holding my breath hoping that when I got all the way around the block, I'd be going in the right direction when I got back to where I started. I was. Phew!

So, Mike is home today. The snow and ice hasn't started yet, but the temperature outside is 27°F. which is pretty darned cold by our standards. Every weather source is predicting snow and freezing rain and encouraging folks to stay home if they can. We don't need any more encouragement than that. There's nothing but quilting on my agenda, and so that's what I'll be doing.

If the progress on the bread doesn't make you want to party, then head on over to my giveaway for Giveaway Day. There's some pretty spring fabric over there for one lucky winner.

23 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Cold, snow, ice - I would be home too. I am still enjoying the lovely bread my friend bartered with me/

Debbie said...

Oh, wow, the yeasts have done their thing I would say!!! I know the smell and envy your kitchen right now. It is very heady stuff, just don't stick your face in it and all will be well. Bread baking sounds good. I do like the idea of being able to freeze it to reuse. Could be very useful to me.

Valerie Reynolds said...

Your quilting is a fantastic accent to your stitched panels! Very inspiring!

Marlene said...

Oh can't wait to see the next stage in the bread making process. Love the quilting you have done so far. Great there were no thread breaks with the Metallic thread-it is really going to make the quilt sparkle.

Marlene said...

Oh can't wait to see the next stage in the bread making process. Love the quilting you have done so far. Great there were no thread breaks with the Metallic thread-it is really going to make the quilt sparkle.

Dorothy Finley said...

I don't know what is more exciting---the bread or the quilting.

Quilting Babcia said...

Just reading about your bread adventures makes me want to start a batch. Best not light a candle in your kitchen anytime soon though! Your snowstorm quilting looks great.

DeeDee said...

Love the quilting you did on your block! And I'll be checking back with anticipation to hear about the bread. Good luck!

Doreen Auger said...

My (tomorrow's) blog post will show the bread I most often make. It's sourdough and I love working with a starter. Am following your process but know that I would not go through that lengthy process (I did check out the book/author). When we go south for the winter, I place the starter in the freezer and it's ready to go when we return. This cold/snowy weather is really pushing me to warmer climes!!!!!! Great for stitching, though........

Ioleen Kimmel said...

Enjoyed reading your bread making adventure. Very nice quilting. I will trade you your 27f for my -27c. lol

claudia said...

I was watching the news as that storm was crawling it's way toward you. It's debatable if we will get any of it or not. It's 34 degrees and there's a 70% chance of precipitation... I'm staying in anyway it goes! It's cold out there!
Can't wait to hear how your bread turns out. It's got to be great after all the time you have invested!

Marei said...

Making your bark is very much like making a sourdough starter. I hope your bread is delish!

Marei said...

Barm...phone changed it to bark!

Marei said...

Barm...phone changed it to bark!

Gretchen Weaver said...

After reading about your adventure, I've decided to get my starter out of the freezer and feed it. I'm too busy this week to do any baking so it should work out right for next week. Your quilting looks great, you are very talented.

Wendy Tuma said...

We are having forecasts of snow this weekend too, so I'm ready to tuck in. Looking forward to seeing your bread, and the gingerhouse quilting is fabulous! Tuck in, stay warm, stitch much!! Wendy at piecefulthoughts@gmail.com

Wendy said...

oh wow, that quilt looks fantastic! Is it embroidered and coloured in with crayons?

quiltzyx said...

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble... May the bread-making fairies be with you!
The quilting looks great. I'd say you waited just the right amount of time to start.
You, Mike, Smitty & Sadie stay warm!!

Nita said...

we have snow in the forcast everyday through Sunday, and it just started snowing...a few flakes floating around in the air. If I feed my sourdough starter today, I'll be baking bread on Sunday. Perfect.

Auntiepatch said...

Isn't it surprising how 3 little words can bring up a song in your head? I read the title and Lionel Richie was singing in my head, too.
Your quilting looks great! I can't wait to see the finished product!

Brown Family said...

We did not get out of the 30's today. But tomorrow is promising of the mid 40's. I have finished most of my Christmas sewing. Maybe three or four small ones left, or maybe not!

Beth said...

I'm a bit behind, but I can't let this post pass without saying how great your Gingerbread Square quilting is looking!

Kate said...

It's amazing how long it can take to make bread. I've watched My Guy's efforts for years. It's well worth the effort. Love the quilting on that first block. It's going to be a gorgeous quilt when it's all done. Hope you are staying warm and dry.