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.