Progress on All Fronts

It was a better baking day yesterday. As you know, I started over with my sourdough bread, and I managed to finish the inner border on Gingerbread Square. After that, I started on the outer border.

For that, I'm using Lori Kennedy's motif called Holly Leaf. While I've quilted holly and berries before, I haven't done them in the same way that she does. Here is the holly vine I quilted on the Peppermint Star table topper. This was some of the first quilting I did on Eliza. I was using a red and white variegated thread.

Then, recently I quilted some into the border for the Poinsettia Sampler. Here, I was using the Sulky white metallic I used for the snow on Gingerbread Square.

For Gingerbread Square, I'm following Lori's lead, by stitching around the leaves twice. These are connected with a single line to quilt all the way across this long border.

When I come to the end, I quilt a second line going the other direction. Between each leaf, I'm quilting holly berries and some ribbon.

In each corner, I'll quilt a cluster of leaves and berries tied with some ribbon.

It's a very doable motif, and it's working well for this border. If you click on Lori's link, you can see the other version where she fills in with swirls. I like the looks of that one too, but I worried about getting too close (or not close enough) to the quilt's edge. If I enter this in any shows, I don't want the judges dinging me for cutting off the quilting with the binding. 

So while I was quilting, the bread dough was trying to become the sourdough loaves it was born to be. My dough didn't rise as much as I'd hoped, and so my loaves are squat. Nevertheless, they're baked, and they taste really good.

Here's how they look on the inside. We waited the 45 minutes we were instructed to wait before cutting into them. After 45 minutes, they were still warm. We spread them with butter and mmm, mmm, mmm. So good. I sprinkled a little coarse grind cornmeal into the bottom of the loaf pans, and that gave them the nicest little bit of crunch.

Vaguely, I could remember making some sourdough bread once before from a recipe I found on the King Arthur website. Then, I went looking through some old pictures last night (looking for something else), and I found the loaves I'd baked back in April of 2012.

And I read the blog post where I baked this bread and discussed the mistakes I'd made with it. And now I'm smarter than I was back then, being a bread baker's apprentice and everything (if reading the book counts as an apprenticeship). So, I wondered why I was bothering with all this business in the book when I knew already perfectly well how to make a starter and a loaf that would behave as it was supposed to. (Accepting suggestions about this "why am I bothering" question in the comments section.)

With that in mind, I fed the barm this morning, but I might stash it in the freezer now until I need it for another "formula" from the book. In the meantime, I think I want to try this starter again from King Arthur flour and see how it bakes up. Theirs is made with all-purpose flour rather than the bread flour I've been using. Also...I'm aware of a Sourdough Virtual Group Bake starting up on December 27th. Anyone can join in, and you can read the blog that's been started for this adventure right here. This is the brain child of Tom Ford who has a Sourdough Bread Baking group on Facebook. He has been so kind and helpful to me in this most recent sourdough journey. Anyone can join the Facebook group and anyone can join in the virtual group bake, even if you're not on Facebook. It sounds like fun to me, and a great way to learn. I'll be joining in. You can too. It'll be fun!

So there you go...your baker's update. Our temperatures are still in the 20's, but it's seeming to warm up a little bit. This morning, there was a pretty pink sky as the sun came up.

Today is going to be all quilting all the time as I work my way around the remaining three borders of Gingerbread Square. I'm guessing I'll be tired of sewing by then, and so I probably won't get the binding sewn on until tomorrow. Still...you never know what the woman will do when she puts her mind to a finish.

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

Doreen Auger said...

Love ALL your holly stitchings!!! Yes! Even the first! The bread looks great....I made white sourdough day before yesterday but I prefer the "artisan" look round/slashed loaves......fit our sandwich and toast needs better than the pans. -15 this morning on the way to town for church. (-18+ when I got up)

gpc said...

I really love that holly, especially with the berries and ribbon. Very impressive. Your loaves look great. Sourdough tends to be squattish anyway, I think. And Doreen is right, if you did them in the round they would look just like bakery loaves, plus you get way bigger slices of toast for part of the time which is never bad. Either way, I am envying that sourdough right this minute.

Debbie said...

Your quilting of the bortder and holly looks great. Love the added ribbons too. The sourdough group sounds interesting.....I will enjoy reading about the adventure. Thanks.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

The Holly is a perfect finish for the outer border.

Sarah said...

LOVE that holly border! It could easily be modified as a leaf of any kind for a garden quilt. Thanks for the inspiration :)

Brown Family said...

Your holly looks good. I know it takes a lot of practice. Glad the bread came out better! We did not get up to freezing today and the wind chill has been in the teens and lower.

claudia said...

I love your holly border! You are so talented!
The bred looks delicious.
We stayed around 33 degrees most of the day. Even though it was warmer, I had to go out with my buckets of (relatively) warm water for the horses and goats buckets, and then refill them and take those out to the geese and chickens. I'm doing a lot of research lately on some sort of solar heater or something of the like to keep myself from having to lift four buckets of water at 40 pounds each! I guess it's good exercise though!

claudia said...

Who taught me how to spell?

Dana Gaffney said...

The holly border is beautiful and I like the way you're doing it, I haven't seen that one yet on her blog. Enjoy the sewing, I keep looking for time, but it could be a couple of weeks before I get to sew again.

Wendy Tuma said...

Your quilting impresses me to no end, and the bread looks yummy. Glad the loaves worked this time around! Wendy at piecefulthoughts@gmail.com

Auntiepatch said...

I also like her Mistletoe and Berries. You're doing great! Looks lovely!

quiltzyx said...

The holly in the border is wonderful. You're doing a great job!
I don't see anything wrong with the height of your sourdough loaves. The bread I brought home from the restaurant last week wasn't from a tall loaf. But it tasted great, like yours I bet!

Kate said...

The holly border is the perfect finish for your Gingerbread quilt. The loaves look good and if they taste good, well I'd give yourself a 100% in effort and achievement on your baker's apprentice endeavor. I think My Guy is making a loaf of Parmesan peppercorn bread for our holiday dinner. Yum!