Patience is a Virtue

We're having to be patient here at the Three Cats Ranch. Smitty is trying to be patient with the crappy weather, but it's hard for little cats. It was bad enough having snow on the ground. As I'm writing this, freezing rain is falling. What's a cat to do, but spend his time working in the sewing room. Yesterday, he spent most of the day securing the finishing instructions for Wind in the Whiskers. Occasional readjustment of the cat makes it possible to actually read the instructions.

And who else is going to do this? Huh? Sadie is a total slacker...sleeping on the job, as usual.

My patience was tested all day yesterday and this morning while I waited for my bread dough. It's a sourdough cinnamon raisin bread dough, and I used my newly finished whole-wheat sourdough starter to make it. When it was all mixed up and ready for proofing, it looked like this. With a tablespoon of cinnamon and sweetened with some maple syrup, you can bet that it smelled wonderful.

It was supposed to rise for eight hours, and so I put it in my warming drawer.  The warming drawer is standing in for the proofing box that is off being repaired. I figured out that a heating pad set on low in the bottom of the warming drawer makes a nice environment for bread to rise. When the dough was mixed up, I got to work on Wind in the Whiskers.

Yesterday, I sewed the final two sections onto the bottom of the quilt.

Then I sewed the first border on. That took most of the day, and so when I left it at the end of the day, it looked like this.

Actually, it looked like this.

There he is...doing all the work...again. With the inner border sewn on, I was able finally to fuse down the coneflowers there on the left side.

The bread dough hadn't really done much by the time eight hours was up, and so I let it rise overnight. When I got up this morning, my patience had been rewarded. I'm realizing that with bread-baking, patience is a virtue. In my house, extreme patience is required. Everything seems to take twice as long as stated because of our cold weather. Even in the warm environment of the warming drawer, the ingredients still take their sweet time rising to the occasion. Sluggish yeast, maybe? Hard to say.

When I got up this morning, I didn't even wait to drink my first cup of coffee. With the dough ready to go, I shaped it and put it into one of the bannetons for another hour-long rise.

You can see the ridges of the cane basket there. If all goes well, the bread releases from the basket when it's flipped upside down. The dough goes into whatever baking vessel is appropriate. In this case, it was a Dutch oven, preheated to 500°F. It flipped into the Dutch oven just fine, except that it flopped over onto its side a little. The ridges only appear on one side of the loaf, but I was pretty happy when I took this out of the oven. It's the most beautiful loaf I've baked so far.

From there, patience got another workout because I had to wait one full hour to cut into it. In order to do something with my hands other than drum my fingers on the table top, I embroidered the first stitches onto the next Wine Country block.

When I was able to cut into the bread...oh, my, my. Is that gorgeous, or what?

And wow. Is it ever tasty! 

This is a recipe I found on the Breadtopia website. If you'd like to give it a try, you can find the recipe right here. You'd first have to make a whole wheat sourdough starter, and the instructions for that can be found right here. This is the starter made with whole-wheat flour and pineapple juice. It isn't hard...just do exactly as the instructions tell you, and you'll end up with a nice starter before the week is up. And then...the bread will be fantastic. He says in the video that the same technique can be used to make a white sourdough starter, and so I have one of those just getting under way as of yesterday. It's made from bread flour and pineapple juice. It isn't doing much yet, but I don't expect to see any bubbles until tomorrow or the next day.

For now, we're slowly being encased in ice. Icicles are forming under the eaves, and the world outside is turning into a crystalline fairyscape as we watch. 

Today my goals are to put the last border on Wind in the Whiskers, resist eating the entire loaf of bread, and if it stops raining, I'll strap on my Yaktrax and get outside to take some pictures.

16 comments from clever and witty friends:

FairviewFarm said...

What is it about our furry four-footed assistants that they feel the need to be over-sized paperweights in the middle of the page? My cats over the years have done the same thing - pattern instructions, magazines, newspapers, etc.

Great progress on Wind in the Whiskers.

I was concerned about you as it was reported last evening on NBC nightly news that the Portland area was to receive up to 1/2" freezing rain today. I'll keep my fingers crossed you come through the storm safely.

Doreen Auger said...

The "Big Freeze" is definitely hitting everyone in one form or another!!!! Sourdough absolutely is a bread process that canNOT be rushed (and our home is really cool, too!!!). I make the pre-ferment in the afternoon and it goes from then to overnight all the time. The gluten development is awesome!!!! Yours looks wonderful!!!! Good thing you have so many "helpers"/managers! LOL!

claudia said...

Smitty is such a busy guy! He looks rather perturbed in that first picture. Was he having a hard time with the instructions or was it that you were going to have to adjust his position? I'm with Sadie, sleeping is a good thing and keeps one out of trouble!
That bread looks absolutely delicious! If I wasn't trying to get all these extra pounds off myself I would bake loaf and eat it...and that is why I have all these extra pounds!
Stay warm! It is pretty freezing up here still, rain is forecast for soon...I'm not sure when, not looking forward to the mud that comes with it!

Debbie said...

YaY!!!! Back online. The bread looks so wonderful....you have the true patience for this bread feat. Unfortunately I do not. But I will attempt it again when the weather is warmer here. Wish I could help you eat that loaf...but congrats you did good!

Lana Ku said...

That bread looks divine! Wish I had a warm slice with some sweet creamy butter. Yum. And the whisker quilt is looking so adorable, along with the real whiskers being supplied by Smitty. Lol. It's been very cold here too. Nothing like what y'all are having, but very cold for us. Thank goodness we'll be in the 70's in a few days. My ginger kitty loves to be outside, but keeps coming back in to warm up. He doesn't seem to understand he shouldn't be out when it's below freezing!

Lyndsey said...

Mmmmm that bread looks delicious. Dear Smitty is such a helpful fellow - you certainly wouldn't be able to manage without him. You and Smitty make a great team working on Whiskers in the wind.

crazy quilter said...

I know how Smitty feels we actually had snow in a North Texas and if you can imagine the world stops around here when the white stuff falls or the temps get below freezing. I am sure loving the Whiskers quilt! And that bread actually I think I can smell it from here! Cinnamon raisin is my absolute favorite! Enjoy ! And do be very careful if you venture outside!

Ani said...

My 3 feline helpers have to be shut out of my sewing room or I cannot get a thing done! They help just a bit too much...pulling fabric off the shelves, knocking spools to the floor etc. I love your reports of your bread trevails and successes, congrats on this batch, it looks heavenly, I can smell it all they over here in North Carolina! I purchased the pineapple juice today and will start a batch of starter tomorrow, thanks for the links!

Teresa in Music City said...

Oh my goodness - that bread looks out of this world delicious!!! And I can't believe you are getting to the borders stage of Whiskers - way to go!!!! We have very little bad weather here, but it is COLD!!! Looking at your icicles, I'm thinking I should count my blessings :*)

SJSM said...

So Stella, who can't wait to get out in the morning and the last cat to come in at night, was seriously miffed. We had the biggest storm in several years today. Rivers were cresting over the banks, roads closed, trees down. And what does Stella do? She starts talking in a very perturbed way. It seemed she thought I was in control of the weather and she wanted me to stop the rain so she could go out. She did try to go out a couple of times but came back in soaked after just a few seconds. Poor girl.

Brown Family said...

Your loaf of bread is beautiful! Are you going to start quilting Wind or start something else. I finished Ernestine today!

Dana Gaffney said...

That bread looks so delicious. I hope the ice storm is over, it makes everything shiny and beautiful but dangerous, be careful.

Wendy Tuma said...

I think I can smell that lovely loaf way over here! It looks delicious! Your quilt looks really nice as well. Two good finishes for the day. Smitty is one handsome dude; and Sadie looks as if she could care less if she ever goes outside again Zzzzzz. :-) Hope you don't have too many days of frozen icy turf. Wendy at piecefulthoughts@gmail.com

quiltzyx said...

Sadie has the right idea there! It's raining now & I am still under the covers. Have a Dr. check up this morning, so don't have to get up just yet.
Wow, only 1 more border to go on Whiskers - way to go!
Warm bread and icicles, great combination!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

The bread looks so good!!! Good job Smitty, we need extra helping hands (and paws) with some projects. A sleeper in the mix is a good reminder to slow down, relax, just breath.

Kate said...

Smitty looks so unhappy. Hopefully your weather situation has improved. We've got the freezing rain this weekend. Hoping we keep power till it passes on Sunday. Your bread looks yummy. My Guy has something started for tomorrow. It's cold here so I hope it rises. Great progress on Wind in the Whiskers.