Glop. It's about all I have to show you today. If you don't count the five-mile walk I took with my friend Sue this morning, then you could say it's been a lazy couple of days around here. I can't even remember what I did yesterday, but it didn't include any sewing. Oh yes...I had breakfast with Matthew (which was terrific), and then I went to the grocery store, which I'd just as soon forget. There's been no sewing so far today either.

It was a dreary morning walk. It rained some, but not a lot. I had my rain gear on, and so the only casualty was my hair...which wasn't looking so great to begin with, and so no loss of greatness. Speaking of greatness...the inauguration. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Instead, take a look at these chickens we saw at the top of the hill.

I don't recall seeing these fellows before, which makes me wonder if they were left behind by Santa. Hard to say.

When I got home, I iced my knee, and then got to work on my latest bread-baking extravaganza. I'm sort of hung up on sourdough right now, which makes it hard to forge ahead with the Bread Baker's Apprentice book. I'm kind of switching back and forth just to keep myself amused. Today I wanted to get a start on a recipe from Breadtopia.com for an Artisan Whole Grain Sourdough. I kind of like the Breadtopia website. He doesn't take his bread-baking too seriously. By that I mean that he isn't weighing things out to the nearest microgram. It's very refreshing and a lot more fun that way. It makes me feel as if I can take a little more joy in baking without worrying that I've looked at something the wrong way and caused the chemistry to collapse. Also, he's the one who taught me to make starter with pineapple juice (even if it wasn't his original idea).

So I have two starters going right now. One is made from white bread flour, the other from whole wheat flour. These were bubbling away before this picture was taken. My plan was to take away some of the white flour starter, and so I decided to go ahead and feed both. I'm feeding them once per week by discarding half, and then adding half a cup (notice I've not measured in grams) of flour and half a cup of water. This is their second feeding since I put them in the refrigerator, and both are doing very well.

The whole wheat flour absorbs more moisture, and so it tends to be drier and stiffer. I discarded the half of the whole wheat flour, but put the white flour starter into a bowl and gave it a feeding of half a cup of bread flour and half a cup of water. When I checked it a couple of hours later, it was already bubbling away.

The loaf I'm planning to make takes three days. Today I added to the starter some water and some whole wheat flour. When I mixed it up, it looked like this.

Now this will sit until tomorrow morning when I'll add some rye flour, some bread flour, and some spelt flour along with some salt and more water. That will sit for another 24 hours, and then it will be ready to bake on Sunday. At least, that's the plan. We'll see how this goes. 

In case you're wondering, the next bread I'll bake when I get back to the Bread Baker's Apprentice is brioche. Matthew told me that Valerie loves brioche, and so I'm waiting until I get together with them toward the end of the month. The recipe makes three loaves, and so I'll give one to them. As for the other two, I can't recall ever eating it myself. However, I'm told Brioche makes excellent French toast, and that sounds pretty good to me.

The only other thing I did yesterday was to try my hand at homemade pizza dough. We're all about yeast here at the Three Cats Ranch these days. Homemade pizza dough has been on my bucket list for a long time. It was at least as intimidating as bagels, but a lot less work. I'd actually mixed it up on Wednesday afternoon, and then let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. I was motivated to give this a try because of the head of radicchio I received gratis from our farmers last week. I've used radicchio to make flatbread before, and really, isn't pizza the ultimate flatbread? So I found a recipe for Chanterelle, Radicchio, and Pancetta Pizza and used the recipe for Roberta's Pizza Dough to create this marvelous specimen for dinner last night. It made two individual pizzas.

Mike is always suspicious of bitter lettuces like radicchio, but he ate this up and took the leftovers for lunch today. I'm calling it a success. Aside from radicchio it has fontina and fresh mozzarella cheeses, fresh thyme and leek. Of course, chanterelles aren't available at this time of year, and so I just used regular white mushrooms. It was very tasty. Now that I've tried the pizza dough, I'm excited to try some other pizza toppings, but that will have to wait for another day...soon.

So that's all I have for you today. There's nothing on tap for the weekend, and so I'm feeling pretty confident about finishing up the quilting for Stars and Stripes. I'll need to fix the little hole I found, and then it will be ready for binding.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

gpc said...

You can't recall ever eating whole loaves of bread yourself? We always make our pizza dough (although ours are not fancy west coast pizzas) and focaccia, but you are making me yearn for sourdough. I've never tried the pineapple juice method. Yeah, my memory is failing me, too. I can see why Santa would have left those chickie-doodles behind, lol.

Kristin in Alaska said...

That pizza looks delicious!

Quilting Babcia said...

Yum, your pizza looks delish! Sometimes you just need a break from stitching, even if only a few hours.

WoolenSails said...

Those sculptures are really fun. That pizza looks so good, I do miss eating pizza.


Vroomans' Quilts said...

Oh, I have a friend who would love that larger chicken in her yard. Love pizza, but try to stay away from it (can't go one slice - must have whole thing).

Brown Family said...

Cute chickens. The pizza does look good!

Gretchen Weaver said...

Chickens statues are cute. Homemade pizza crust is something I can do well. When our boys were still living at home, pizza was on the menu every Friday night. If they had friends over on Saturday or Sunday, I made it then too. Pizza was actually the only food item I could prepare that ALL the children liked. Mine wasnt as healthy as yours was though. villacrestfarm@gmail.com

SJSM said...

Love your pizza combination! That's one I will have to try. BTW you are responsible for that batch of sourdough percolating in my refrigerator, though I received mine from King Arthur. Pizza is on deck in about 2 weeks. Going to a sewing retreat next week so the folllowing week it is.

Looking forward to your patch on the quilt method and another finish of a pretty quilt! Your walk sounds refreshing except for the ice part. Keep on moving!

Debbie said...

Yard art.....very fun, wonder if they will celebrate thru the year:) Pizza dough....now that I do well. Nothing like home made, and I even have frozen the dough for later use. Just left it thaw in frig overnight and made crust the next day.

quiltzyx said...

Those chickens are a fun find indeed!
Onward with your bread baking adventures too. Mmmmm...sourdough. I think I will have to get some again soon. I just eat it up too fast though.

Kate said...

Glad you were able to get a walk in last week. It's been too cold to contemplate one here. Your pizza looks amazing. I just asked My Guy if he'd make his homemade pizza for dinner next Sunday.