Barm Again

It was time to feed the barm this morning. Mike and I were out last night, and so we stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some dried cranberries.

They were out of the usual Oceanspray small bags, and so we ended up buying the "economy size" 32 oz. bag. I love dried cranberries. What I don't use in baking, I'll eat straight from the bag. Yum. That was the only thing I needed to move on to the Christmas celebration loaf of Christopsomos. If I'm doing that, then it's time to get the barm ready for baking tomorrow.

It was time to feed it regardless of my plans, and so I read up yet again on how this is accomplished. It's best done by doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling what one already has to work with. My barm weighed close to two pounds. Since I'm only using one cup in the bread, I decided to reduce what I had to one pound. The remainder was placed in a separate container and frozen for future baking. I knew the container weighed 1.7 oz., and so I added that to the weight of the barm to come up with the final amount.

Close enough. Then, I was to add an equal amount of flour and water (8 oz. flour plus 8 oz. water) to the one pound of barm, mix it up, and then wait.

After about 6 hours, it should start bubbling. Then, I'll refrigerate it until tomorrow. Isn't this fun?

It occurs to me that some of the folks who bake bread daily must be constantly worrying over their barms and other forms of starters. They have to be fed, mixed, timed...it's like having a child around. I'm not sure I'll ever be that hard core, but for now, I'm having fun. And I'm pretty excited to make the Christopsomos since I've avoided all other Christmas baking. No divinity for me this year. (Sad face.) And no fudge either. (Sadder face.) And definitely no peppermint bark. (Saddest of all faces.) I might make some gingerbread biscotti, but I haven't thought about it until just now.

Instead, I'm quilting Christmas candy. Yesterday I finished quilting the third of nine blocks with its adjacent sashings.

The metallic thread has been performing well, except when I move out into the sashing. The many seams become quite thick where the nine-patch corners meet with the edge of the block. Sometimes the needle bogs down there and, in the process, becomes bent or dull. When that happens, it starts shredding the thread. I've probably gone through five needles just on these three blocks. Fortunately, I have plenty, but I hate using them such a short time before discarding them.

Now the middle row of blocks is finished, and so I took the whole quilt downstairs to lay in front of the living room windows where it gives me good contrast for taking pictures. I wanted to see how the back was looking, but it was probably too late in the day. I could barely see it with my eyes, let alone take a picture of it. Still, it did give nice contrast for the quilt top.

Below is the middle row of blocks and sashing...all quilted now. I'm very happy with how this is going.

Today I'll continue on, starting with the middle block of the bottom row. It's probably time to think about doing a little housework too...I can think about it without actually doing it, you know. It is Sunday, after all.

The temperatures have warmed up and we've had some rain, but there's still plenty of slushy snow lingering on the ground. We're expecting more next week, and so it'll be back soon enough.

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lana Ku said...

Lol. Yeah that barm does sound a lot like having a young child around. Lots of "care taking" of the barm! But I'm sure to many bread bakers it's kind of second nature & habit forming....sort of like embroidery work & quilting! Lol. Your gingerbread quilt is looking awesome. So beautiful.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

That's too much fussing for me, but I do LOVE fresh baked bread. The Ginger Bread Houses is coming along wonderfully.

Doreen Auger said...

Regular sourdough starter does not need that kind of tending!!!!!! Mine is always setting on the counter (unless I know I won't be using it for the week!) and I give it some warm water (no measuring!), stir it with a fork, add some flour (again, no measuring!!!) and let it continue to bubble and live in its happy world. I will prepare a "pre-ferment" that will be used the next day for bread and will have an amount that is saved out for starter. So easy and not anything like tending a child!!! Easy peasy!!
Love your stitchery and the quilting is sew purrfect!!!!!!!

claudia said...

I don't know that I could commit myself to the barm. Sounds too much like a relationship I'm not ready to get into. But then when I think about how tasty the end result would be...hmmm...no, can't go there, too many other things around my place to feed!
We've got the rain going on and the property is turning into Mudville. I prefer it to be frozen ground. I have no choice, so I just do what I need out there as quickly as I can without slipping in it and get back inside to my sewing!
Your quilt is so pretty! I want to do one too. Maybe next year to give as a gift. (I know, I'd better start on it yesterday!)

Lee said...

Have I mentioned before how pretty I think this quilt is?

Debbie said...

The quilt looks great! You are so good about being technical about it all....quilting and baking. I bake more slap dash...lol. Bet the cranberries in the bread will be good.

quiltzyx said...

The quilting is looking terrific - good job Barbara!
I'm glad you're having fun with the barm & bread so far. It does sound like more commitment than I would be prepared to take on. And since I have a crappy wonky oven, I don't even like to bake anything here!

gpc said...

A very gassy baby, poor thing. I am excited to see the Christmas loaf! :)

Brown Family said...

Have fun baking bread! It looks like you are on your way to many more loaves.

Beautiful quilting

Dana Gaffney said...

The quilting is gorgeous! It's so nice with all of the details of wind and snow.

Synthia said...

You are doing an amazing job on the quilting and the quilt will be a 'stunner' when it's done. What a wonderful example of your talent!

Susan said...

It seems to me it is more like having a baby. Whether it is a feeding schedule or demand feeding. However, in the end it is all worth it. The quilt is looking really good. Well, here's hoping our snow melts. We got over a foot of snow between Saturday afternoon and last night. Supposed to be more throughout the week.

Kate said...

My Guy kept a sour dough starter for about a year, but then business travel made that hard to do, so it died. It's a lot of work, but he had a lot of fun with it. Christmas Candy is looking great. The quilting really enhances the blocks.