Drive Me to the Moon

Seventeen weeks. That's how long Mike has been waiting for his truck. Finally, yesterday, he took possession. The wait was pretty much forgotten once it produced this smile:

He's looking pretty smug there, isn't he?

Here's how it looks. I don't mean to belabor this stuff about the truck, and I have some other things to tell you too. If the truck bores you, just scroll past these pictures, and I'll tell you about the bread and the sewing.

So, if you're still reading, I took this picture, hoping you'd be able to see the paint. It appears to be refrigerator white until you walk up and take a closer look. It actually has a metal flake in it that gives it a pearlescent glow. You can kind of see it on the right side of the image below.

This is the keyless entry remote. There is a key rotated down inside this little deal, but you don't need a key to get into the truck or to start it. Instead, if you have this on your person, the truck knows you're standing there and unlocks the doors. Then, you just push a button on the dash to start it. Cool. And besides...we really needed a few more remote controls in our lives. You know what I mean, don't you?

Below, the salesman is schooling Mike on how the keyless entry works.

Okay, so there are lots of "man reasons" for liking the truck, but let me tell you the reasons I like it. For one thing, it has two USB ports so we won't have to prioritize whose cell phone needs charging the most.

But this is what I really love. Under that little door there is an AC outlet. This means I can bring the laptop in the truck with me and write my blog posts. You know I love blogging when we're traveling, and I'm always feeling rushed to get my posts written in the morning so we can get underway. Now, I can bring the laptop into the car with me and do everything from there. I am going to love this. Probably a more ingenious person than I could figure out how to set up a sewing machine station here. Hmmmmmmm...

Of course, it has a glove box. Mike usually fills that up with boring things like his own sunglasses (the noyve!), registration, insurance information, you know...useful boring stuff. 

But check this out. See that little button in the image below?

That opens a second compartment with a secret ninja glove box. Well don't you know I claimed that instantly. That's where I can put my really, really, really important stuff.

So we took it out for its maiden voyage, drove approximately ten yards, and stopped at our first red light. Isn't that adorable? Baby's first steps.

And from there...you know...we just drove around trying to dodge all the things that jumped into our path trying to give us baby's first dent. Oy. Perish the thought. 

Incredibly, Mike actually pulled himself away from the truck for the night, but he's out driving it around as I'm writing this. We'll be picking up the larger camper next weekend, and he needs a "horse mat" for the bed of the truck. (Don't ask me why it's a "horse mat." I don't know.) Anyway, he headed down to the feed store (because where else would you get a horse mat?) in Newberg. They were out, but the feed store down the road about half an hour has plenty. He called me terribly disappointed that he would have to drive his new truck down to McMinnville for that. 

Okay...so that's all the truck stuff. It's safe to continue reading. 

I wanted to check back with you about yesterday's sourdough disappointment. When I cut into it I realized that, really, I'd been making sourdough biscotti all along. Just think of it that way, and you can see that it was a rousing success. Actually, it tastes pretty good with a nice sourdough tang. The texture is nice too, flat though it is.

This morning I got to work on the next loaf in The Bread Baker's Apprentice, which is brioche. The stories behind these loaves are as much fun as the baking. So brioche is a rich bread, enriched with a small amount of sugar and lots of egg and butter. There are lots of different formulas containing various percentages of butter.

The anecdotal history of brioche is this: It seems that Marie Antoinette's famous last words of "Let them eat cake," is probably more properly translated to "Let them eat brioche." And while there are lots of reasons to think this whole story is more myth than fact, it does make one wonder how the story originated in the first place. As it turns out, brioche had two formulas in pre-revolutionary France. Depending on one's wealth, one could afford more or less butter, and so there were formulas for the wealthy (70% butter or more), and formulas for peasants (20-25% butter). The book contains three formulas identified as Rich Man's, Middle-Class, and Poor Man's Brioche. 

I'm only going to make one of these, and so I chose the Rich Man's Brioche. My end goal is to make French toast with the resulting bread. The recipe makes three loaves, and so I want to pass along a loaf to Matthew & Valerie and Erik & Mae. (It occurs to me that after the purchase of the truck, I should probably be making the Poor Man's Brioche, but it's too late now.) So here's what I did this morning.

This bread is made with commercial instant yeast, and so I first mixed the yeast with a little bread flour and some lukewarm whole milk. This part is called the "sponge." The sponge is created because adding all the yeast in the beginning makes for a relatively shorter time frame than the creation of something like a sourdough starter. Then that was allowed to ferment for 20 minutes. 

It's probably hard to see in the image below, but after 20 minutes, the yeast was already ballooning out in the center.

At this point, I was ready to add the remaining ingredients to make the dough. I first added eggs, and incorporated them really well. Then I added lots of butter, a little at a time. It's probably best if I don't tell you how much butter went into this. I'll just say that it was a long slow process getting it all fully incorporated. The dough is elastic, stiff and sticky, and so it meant stopping and scraping down the side of the bowl and the paddle to keep it mixing.

When it was all incorporated, it mixed for an additional six minutes, and then I dumped it out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. For sure, this dough is very much like a pie dough because of its high butter content. I used wet hands to shape it into this rough rectangle. 

Then I spritzed it with a little oil, covered it in plastic, and then put it into the refrigerator where it will sit over night. Like a pie dough, it needs to chill. Tomorrow, I'll be shaping it into three loaves, letting it rise, and then baking it off.

Here's where bread baking and quilting intersect. In the same way I have more quilts on my to-do list than I'll live long enough to make, I'm accumulating bread recipes that I want to make at an alarming pace. Already this week I'm planning to give the bagels a second try, and I have the recently-purchased schmears to motivate me. Also, the Breadtopia website recently published a recipe for Beer Sourdough Bread that I really want to try. Then, yesterday I was perusing this book again to see what other recipes I might like to try.

Then, I ran across this recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Bread. Oh. My. Gosh. Does this look good, or what?

It's made with unsalted creamy peanut butter and the seedless fruit jam of your choice. Essentially, it's like a cinnamon swirl bread, only with peanut butter and jelly. The book's author has a deli, and he started making this for children, only to discover that the adults liked it at least as much as the kids. Okay...so bagels, then PBJ bread, then beer sourdough bread. From there, I don't know, but I'm sure I'll think of something.

As for sewing, I've had several days out of the sewing room, although I'm continuing to plug away at the big stitch hand quilting.

Today I'm definitely going to get into the sewing room. There are a few things to take care of outside, like feeding the birds. Which reminds me...want to know how to drive your cat crazy?

Just park a fat robin on that rock outside the window there.

So, once I get finished with the outdoor chores, I'll devote the rest of the afternoon to the next Chicken Buffet block. I've been saying that for days. It's time.

24 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Boys and their toys! There will definitely be tears with the first scratch (or bird poop). The PBJ bread sounds (and looks) fabulous - my kind of bread. Thank you for the robin - Spring I so long for thee! Although, we suddenly have a large flock of blue birds in the feeders - very rare this time of year. We had to search to find what to feed them and set up a new feeder for them.

Dorothy Finley said...

What a happy man he is with his new toy. May all 4 of you have many "happy trails" in this new abode on wheels

Sandra W said...

The photo of happy Mike in his truck--pure joy.

Shirley Elliott said...

The truck is just wonderful and looks like it was worth the wait. You guys will have such fun times. Your baking adventures are fun to follow and even tempt me to give it a try.

Quilting Babcia said...

Oh golly, we may have to lengthen the driveway to fit that truck when you folks come to visit, lol!

Ray and Jeanne said...

Great truck! You will both love the keyless entry. I love that you are calling that great looking bread biscotti - wonderful! Have a great week. ~Jeanne

Lyndsey said...

That's a great truck and looks very comfortable for your trips. I do love keyless entry, especially at night. I must get round to making some bread as I love homemade bread, and I love the smell while it's cooking.

quiltzyx said...

Congrats to you both on the beautiful new baby truck! Lots of very cool bells & whistles indeed. :) Pearl white is a great color too. Since this new one goes with the new, bigger camper, are you keeping the Chevy for the 5th wheel?

The bread, though not tall, looks delicious. Nice big holes too. Where's that butter??

Melody A. said...

I am so happy for your husband, they beam just like we do over a new sewing machine or a pile of beautiful fabric and it is a wonderful gift to us, seeing them smile like that!!!! Love all your bread experiments. they look delicious even when they didn't turn out exactly as expected. Take care from Iowa Kiss the husband lots.

QuiltShopGal said...

Now that is a truck that even trucker's will envy. Gorgeous truck. Vroom, vroom, it is going to power up any mountain, even pulling a really big new coach. Congratulations. Definitely worth the wait!


crazy quilter said...

Wow what a wonderful ride you will have on the cross country trek! Your sourdough bread looks fine to me a true bread lover! It doesn't have to be pretty as long as it taste good. You are so right that is a fat robin! How did Smitty miss out on that fat bird? Hope you are staying warm!

WoolenSails said...

Love all the new features you can get and nice to have ports and plugs for traveling. Can't wait to see your new trailer.


Kate said...

17 weeks! Was it handmade by baby ants?? It does look lovely, though, if you're into that sort of thing. (My husband: "ooooooh, is that a 350?") I'm more interested in seeing how the PBJ bread turns out!

Brown Family said...

That is a spiffy truck. Lots of cool features for both of you!

claudia said...

When you look truck up in the dictionary, there's a picture of your truck there! That is a beauty...or is it handsome? I'm seeing a sewing machine plugged into that AC plug! A small but sturdy table would be just perfect on your lap to ...okay, I'm getting too far into this dream!
I like the sour dough biscotti! That's exactly what I thought it was when I first saw the picture.
Do you think that chubby robin knows what's on the other side of the window? You've been feeding those birds pretty well!

Teresa in Music City said...

Oh my! That truck should have its own zip code!!! It's a beauty, that's for sure - every man I know would give his left you-know-what to have one like that LOL :*) I love the keyless entry feature! I'm betting a woman invented it. And I am anxiously awaiting the verdict on the PBJ bread - my mouth is already watering....

Debbie said...

Great truck....it's looking forward to your new adventures I am sure:)

Dana Gaffney said...

Congrats on the new truck, it looks so pretty with that extra glitter. Keyless is wonderful although sometimes when I get home I expect my house to just unlock for me, I can be a little distracted. That USB means you can put your music or books on a jump drive to listen in the truck and if you didn't have bluetooth before you're going to fall in love.

Wendy Tuma said...

Good things come to those who wait! That smile on Mike's face is priceless! And I have truck envy (and I don't drive trucks). Can't wait to see how your brioche turns out. I'm living vicariously through you as you bake the breads :-) since I'm not eating bread right now. Wish I could pop over and bring you a pound of Hope Butter. It is a local source, and many of the chefs in the Twin Cities area order it for their bakery products. It is yummy and would make that brioche to die for, I'm sure. Enjoy your day of stitching!

Natureluvr57 said...

Congratulations! I wanted a new truck a couple years ago when my little 12 year old Cavalier started have this wrong and that wrong. I settled on my new Gyrl Toy-a Jeep Cherokee. I feel like I'm in a limo because that Cavalier was pretty confining. I don't have keyless entry but my key fob is just as large and the key swings inside it too. I have 2 USB ports in front with two other kind of ports-I can charge my phone-I love talking hands free through the radio speakers. There's a USB port in the back too. They come with so many bells & whistles anymore. One day a light came on that looked pretty important-not the dummy light. I pulled over and searched my manual and it indicated low tire pressure. I got out and checked all my tires and found "the one". I got back in my Jeep and looked at the dashboard and discovered I could have saved myself the trouble because it showed 4 tires and the pressure-duhhhh! I had run over a nail :( so now I push a button and check all my tires before going anywhere. Mine is a deep rich red with metallic flakes-when the sun hits it-gorgeous. I named her Juicee.

Judy1522 said...

Nice truck. It is amazing all the great things that come in a new vehicle and the AC outlet is the best. I am always happy when it is not me that gets the first scratch in a new car but I do have to admit it is me sometimes. I am enjoying your bread making journey.

Kate said...

Congrats on the new truck. Definitely looks like you'll have lots of support for the things you want to do on your travels. We have keyless entry for the Outback and I love it. No more digging through my purse for the keys. My Guy loves it because as long as I have the key in my purse, he doesn't have to have his in his pocket. For some reason he hates having stuff in his pockets.

Snoodles said...

Congrats on the new truck, and all of its bells and whistles and plug ins! LOL I've seen that paint before on a vehicle or two....it's really pretty! I saw that some of the commenters had success lately with your changes, so I'm going to post here and see if I still get the dreaded "mail delivery subsystem" message again, or if you can reply to me! (Grin)
Love the pudgy robin and Sadie -- so cute!

Celtic Thistle said...

There will be no missing you in that truck on your travels the megawatt smiles will be visible for miles :)
Sure you can work out how to fit a sewing machine in there somehow!