Flour and Flower

There were a number of errands to run while I was out yesterday, but I was home around 2:30. It gave me some time to make some more flowers. I'm onto the white ones now.

These are going together so much easier now that I'm cutting the templates in half. I'd made two more and was considering whether to make a third one, and I was feeling pretty smug about crossing off their numbers one by one. Then, I made the mistake of checking the pattern to see how many leaves I'd need to finish off this section (15 of R and 11 of S, in case you're wondering).

In the process, I noticed this:

And since I had completely overlooked this from the get-go, I was rather shocked to discover that flowers and leaves were only the smallest part of what I had left to do. In addition, there is this list of half-square triangles, rectangles, and other assorted shapes.

Well, Smitty and I laid our ears back at that discovery. (I think Smitty was appalled at the four-letter words I uttered.)

Sadie was shocked!

That realization killed my motivation to make any more for the day. When I left off, I'd made this many.

Also, I'd miscounted how many of these I needed. There is one large flower and TEN little ones...and there I was thinking there were ten total. Even though I only miscounted by one, it might as well have been a hundred. I'm determined to finish all the pieces for this quilt at this go-round, but clearly, I won't have them finished before the end of the month. Oh well...no bonus points for me in December.

On a brighter note, the bannetons I ordered arrived yesterday. I'd already done some work on seasoning them when I took this picture. 

Mine came with linen liners, but as I was learning more about how to season them for first usage, I realized that people seem to prefer them without the liners. They're formed with cane, and those ridges put decorative ridges on the loaves that are proofed in them. I posted a question on a couple of Facebook bread-baking groups and was given this link to learn more about seasoning and usage. After reading that, I kind of decided to keep the linen liners as a cover to keep them clean when they're not in use. Also, folks swear by rice flour to keep the bread dough from sticking, and so I need to get some of that before I use them. 

Since I have no idea how these will perform, I decided I wanted to try them out at least once before January 3rd when those of us participating in the Virtual Sourdough Bake will be baking our loaves of bread. Since I've been maintaining my barm of several weeks ago in the refrigerator, I decided to get it out and make a firm starter today in preparation for trying again to bake two loaves of sourdough tomorrow. Recall that when I tried this before, my very soft dough just wanted to spread out on the baking sheets. That gave me the idea to acquire the bannetons for the final rise.

Also, I'm keeping my second sourdough starter going for the virtual bake, and it's still bubbling away on the countertop. It has lots of bubbles, but I'd like it to see more movement from it. Some of the ones I've seen online look almost like a milky soda with their bubbling action. Here's how mine looked this morning.

I discarded half and then fed it again. Within an hour, I was already seeing bubbles.

Keeping a warm enough environment has been a struggle. I've tried different things. Following the lead of some of my fellow bakers, I tried setting it on a heating pad this morning. The heating pad is set at its lowest setting. After half an hour, the heating pad was only at around 72°F. I tried turning it up to the middle heat setting and checked it about 20 minutes later. It was at 105°F. Yikes! That is too hot, and so I turned it down again. Now I have the whole shebang (with both starters) sitting inside my warming drawer. The warming drawer is too hot to use (around 170°F. when it's turned on), but I'm hoping the heating pad will warm the interior a little more and make the yeast a little more lively. We'll see. It's an experiment, as everything seems to be with bread baking.

Remember my proofing box?

Well, I'm very sad to say that it quit working last time I used it. No warning...it just didn't heat any more. The Resident Engineer applied his probes and plugs to see if he could figure out what was amiss and fix it. Without a schematic, his options were limited, and so he wrote an email to the manufacturer, Brod & Taylor, to see if they would repair it. (It's well past its one-year warranty expiration, but I've only used it about half a dozen times.) They responded quickly and said they would repair and return it at no cost. They just need the base unit and the cord, and so it's boxed up and ready to go to the post office this morning. I'm hopeful it will turn out to be more reliable, because it was working great to provide a warm environment...until it wasn't. Sigh. I'll keep you posted on this.

So with that in mind, I'm heading out to the post office. We're above the clouds here at the Three Cats Ranch, and so I'll get out for a walk today when I get back. Despite yesterday's demoralizing discovery, I'll continue on with the Quiltmaker's Garden. It's something of a grudge match now, and I'm very determined to defeat it.

10 comments from clever and witty friends:

Kate said...

I hate those kind of quilting surprises. But your flowers look very pretty. It's going to be a gorgeous quilt. Hope your bread baking experiments go well. My Guy played around in the kitchen this morning and came up with a recipe for apple ginger scones. Yum!

Debbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie said...

Let me try again....As much as I admired this quilt, when I saw the PP blocks, I said a firm no. So I really applaud you for sticking with it and working thru all the terror of PP and figuring out a better way.
You have more gadgets than the store! I would not have room to keep them. My starter looks better since I huffed and puffed over it. Just waiting on the aroma to develop.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Oiy!! Keep going girl, you can do it.

Quilting Babcia said...

The reason I only make simple quilts! I'd have sent this one packing long ago, sigh. They look so lovely in the photos though, it is sometimes hard to resist the temptation. My sourdough starter never grew much,it just bubbled on like yours is doing. Looks good!

Brown Family said...

That is disappointing to discover you have all those extra shaped to make! Hang in there! You will get it done.

That is good that they will repair your Proofing box! I feel you will be using it a lot!

Wendy Tuma said...

Boy, that list seriously boggles the mind. I hate surprises like that. Glad you are not letting this stop you. Keep going. It will be satisfying to finish it, even if you never look at it again! :-) Your starter is looking good, and I've always thought it would be fun to try bannetons. Wendy at piecefulthoughts@gmail.com

Dana Gaffney said...

I think I may have said your four letter shocking word just from reading about what you still need to do. I'm glad Mike wrote and got results, I find it a little amazing.

Kara Kwilts said...

While you are awaiting the return of the base warming unit, you could put the top on the burner area of your stove (if your stove is old like mine, it will have one burner that has a oven vent in it, don't put your bowl directly over this burner - that area will get too warm, but is useful for being in the box area) and turn the oven on at about 200 degrees, put your needing to raise stuff in the box (the box is really just to keep the drafts away from your starter) the heat from the oven will rise and do its magic on your starter. Good luck! I love reading your blog by the way - thank you so much for writing every day.

quiltzyx said...

That is quite a list to be surprised with. At least it isn't paper piecing!
The bannetons are cool looking. Glad the warming box maker is stepping up to make repairs. Nice customer service.