When I left you yesterday, it had been rising for a couple of hours on its final 5-hour rise. It looked like this.
Just before I plopped it into the Dutch oven to bake, it had risen over the top of the basket. I'm so proud of my robust starter!
These artisan breads are scored to make them look pretty, but functionally, scoring keeps the bread from exploding. It's scored for the same reason you stab a potato with a fork before baking it. Scoring isn't as easy as it sounds. I've read different techniques for getting nice clean cuts. When my sharp paring knife wasn't working well, I decided to invest in a lame (prounounced luh-MAY). Even with this very sharp tool, I haven't had a lot of luck getting a nice line on the bread. Usually, the blade just drags across the top of the loaf, pulling the dough as it goes. Yesterday, the bread had a nice dry, tight skin, and the cuts looked like this just before I lidded the pot and put it into the oven. Whoa. I had a very good feeling about this.
When it came out of the oven...gorgeous. It's the closest I've come to a perfect loaf.
It was an hour-long (emphasis on the "long") wait before I could cut into it. Finally...
It doesn't have the large holes I'm trying to achieve. Partly, I think, its density is due to the whole grain flours that were used. At first bite, I could really taste the rye flour, but then it seemed not so strong. Anyway...this set the stage for a really good day.
While I was waiting for the bread to rise, I finished off the quilting on Stars and Stripes. Recall that I had this much to go:
It amounted to about five short rows of quilting and, with one final star, it was finished. Wahoo!
It took approximately three seconds for the cat to arrive when I laid it out on the floor. His response time gets slower and slower.
He wasn't inclined to move, and so I took a few pictures around him.
I'm probably about to show you more pictures than you ever wanted to see.
Check it out, Sadie!
It's really soft! You should come see fur yourself!
When he moved for just a second, I took advantage of the opening and flipped it to the back side.
I'm going to try out your bathing technique, Smitty. I agree with you that quilts make excellent bath mats.
That's true, Sadie. Cleanliness is next to godliness; but then, everybody knows cats are already bordering on godliness, and so it hardly matters.
It's one of just a few quilts I've made where the back turned out as pretty as the front.
This one does a good job of showing off my tummy furs too. I think this will make an excellent backdrop when I run for purresident.
Here's my one stab at showing off the quilt top. Try to ignore the cat.
Here's the pieced back. Sorry for the blur. I was standing on the coffee table in my slippers, holding onto the ceiling, and leaning out to get the whole thing. I was trying not to fall...and not doing a very good job of it.
Oh yes, and remember the hole? I doubt the quilt police will ever see this. After a while, I'll forget about it too.
I took out the quilting in that spot, then put a little swatch of blue fabric between the quilt top and the batting to reinforce the fabric. Then I zigzagged wide and dense back and forth across the hole. Then, I requilted that spot. You can see how it looks from the back in the image below. It was just a happy accident that it ended up on the blue section.
Then I sewed on the binding, and got to work hand-stitching. A journey of 270 inches begins with a single stitch.
A few minutes later, I turned the first corner.
And that's where I'll pick up when I finish writing this post.
At day's end, even the kitties were feeling satisfied. And this is a first. This little scratching post sits next to the fireplace downstairs. Smitty ordinarily claims it as his domain, and he will defend it aggressively. When we went downstairs, we saw this.
He's still the Top Cat, but at least he'll share. They are playing together regularly now, and becoming fast friends. It's good to see them coming closer, and Sadie seems more comfortable in her new forever home every day.
If you can believe it, I haven't yet had my slice of bread, toasted with butta. I think it's time to get to work on that, don't you?