3/5/17

There's Poetry in Pinwheels

When we got up this morning...


The nightmare continues. Isn't spring just a couple of weeks away? Geez. This is supposed to melt quickly, but what does it matter? Snow will just fall again and again and again. Jack Nicholson in The Shining comes to mind.

The first thing I did yesterday was get started on my second attempt at Peanut Butter and Jelly bread. Let me tell you, I was not feeling good about this at all. The dough was very dry and stiff, and the recipe was weirdly written. It contains 2 cups of whole wheat flour. In a later step you add anywhere between 3 1/2 cups and 4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. Am I the only one who thinks a variation of a full cup of flour is a pretty wide variation? And I found myself saying, "So, which is it?" The mixer started bogging down pretty badly after the addition of four cups, and so I left it there. Still, the dough was nearly impossible to shape. It looks a little like a human brain in this image.


It was the consistency of hard clay. The recipe said to let it rise until it was "puffy," but something of this density is never going to achieve anything approximating "puffiness." Nevertheless, I persevered. It took twice as long as the recipe suggested, but eventually doubled in volume. It still looked like a human brain, but oh well. Then, it was divided it into two sections and rolled it out in preparation for spreading the peanut butter and jelly over the slab. The dough was very elastic, and I got a workout rolling it out into a 9 x 15 rectangle. Okay...maybe it was 8 x 14 because my arms couldn't take any more. 

Then I spread the goodies on and rolled it up like a jelly roll. Being such a dry dough, I couldn't pinch the seams or the ends together because it wouldn't stick to itself. In the end, I just tucked the ends under and shoving it into the loaf pans the best I could. From there it needed a second rise. Mike was watching me through all of this, and I said, "Expect failure." Again, it took nearly twice as long to rise as expected, but eventually the loaves rose above the top of their loaf pans, and so I baked it up. Oh, my, my.


No one was any more surprised than I to see such beautiful loaves. In a show of remarkable restraint, I gave it 45 minutes to cool before cutting into it to see the inside. Well, f*ck a duck. Who would have thought it possible?


It tastes as good as it looks. My friend Marei asked me how one would toast such a loaf. A few of the comments on the King Arthur website mentioned that toasting it allowed the gooey insides to drip into the toaster. We put it on the baking sheet that came with our toaster oven and used the toaster setting to toast it. That worked pretty well. By lining the pan with foil, we also avoided the mess. If you're feeling brave, you can give this a try. The recipe is from King Arthur Flour, and you can find it right here. Baking failure punches are part of the gig in apprentice bread baking, but expecting failure and achieving success is especially sweet...no pun intended.

As for the pinwheels, when I started working with them yesterday I realized I'd mismatched a few and left out a couple of triangles from their respective sets of four. When I had them all matched up correctly, I'd used every single one. While responding to a comment this morning, I said there was something poetic about using every single bonus triangle, but I hadn't found the words to express it. Then, it hit me: that's the name of the quilt. Poetic Pinwheels. Or Pinwheel Poetry. Or something like that. By the end of the day, I'd sewn together 21 of the 35 I'll need.


The colors and fabrics are diverse, and so I'm rearranging them as I go. Originally the plan was to try to achieve some sort of symmetry with the pattern, but I don't think that's going to be possible. Now I'm just trying to achieve a random mix of fabrics and colors. There are 14 to go, but there's also one leftover...a bonus pinwheel from bonus triangles, if you will. I'm thinking I'll have to put it on the quilt back. Pretty sure that using all of them will allow me to achieve nirvana.

Also yesterday, I stitched up a hoopful of Millicent. Now I've moved the hoop to the right, and I'll get back to work on her this morning.


This being Sunday, I'm linking up to

Slow Sunday Stitching

Today I should be able to finish the pinwheels and then I'll start sewing them together. It's going to be an NBS day (nothing but sewing).

19 comments from clever and witty friends:

Tanya Quilts in CO said...

Making bread intimidates me, so your story is a good inspiration. I love your pinwheels and embroidery--I hope you get lots done today!

Quilter Kathy said...

A "NBS" day sounds fabulous!
Loved seeing "the hoopful of Millicent"!
And also loved the story of the terrible bread experiment turning out to be beautiful AND yummy!

Suzanne said...

My niece, a Home Ec Teacher, is using the King Arthur cookbook in her classroom. I wonder if she has tried the PBandJ recipe. Your projects are wonderful!

CJ Smith said...

LMAO! Can you hear me all the way from Tucson? Quack! Quack!

Pamela said...

This is the third morning this year we've woken up to snow in Coos Bay, I think it's a record - and no kids at home anymore to enjoy it! That bread looks delicious, I might have to do some baking this afternoon.

Kate said...

Congratulations on the bread, it does look yummy! Very diverse pinwheels, I like Pinwheel Poetry as the name, it has a very nice ring to it.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Oh, the bread looks so delish! I love a PB&J even at my age. Your pinwheels are just spinningly delightful. I ran a few errands this morning, now I better thread some needles and get some stitching done.

The Cozy Quilter said...

I need an NBS day too! Maybe a whole NBS weekend! LOL! Have fun with your bag lady today. She likes NBS days too. I can tell!

gpc said...

I can only hope that the whole experience was as surprisingly delightful for the duck as it was for you. Looks freaking delicious.

Robin said...

Wow! I'm so impressed! I'm a veteran bread maker and from your description I expected failure too. I'm so glad I was wrong. The bread is beautiful. I really like the matching red pinwheels interspersed with the non-matching ones. It makes such a great look.

CathieJ said...

Millicent is looking good. I like all those pinwheel fabrics and think either of those names for that quilt will be great. That bread...oh that bread...Yum.
I don't think I have ever waited double time for a bread to rise. Now I know that maybe I should.

claudia said...

I got some good giggles from you today! Thank you, I was in desperate need of a release of that sort. We had a grumpy room mate this morning!
Your peanut butter and jelly bread looks delicious. Your story of how it went with that effort was hysterical.
We are supposed to have a mix of snow and rain...I call it snain. It's just cold and miserable out there, I don't know or care what kind of precipitation there is. I'm over it at this point.
You've been a bright spot in my Sunday and I thank you for that!

Jill said...

That was ambitious bread making. I found that King Arthur recipes are quite good. How clever is Millicent the Crazy Quilter.

Brown Family said...

THe bread does look good. You never know what will happen when baking, do you . The pinwheels are coming right along as is Millicent. I have not had time to get started on her yet. Hopefully tomorrow.

suzanprincess said...

A wide range of flour needed for bread making is actually very common, because the moisture content of the flour and the air can vary widely, and how you measure the flour and other ingredients can make a huge difference. The whims of the kitchen fairies can have an affect too. King Arthur or the all-knowing Google can explain it all for you!

Wendy Tuma said...

I have a bread book that uses a wheat/white blend of flour, basically combining equal parts of wheat and white flour before you measure it out. I wonder if you could use something like that with the PBJ recipe? Might make the kneading and rolling process a bit easier. Just a thought. It looks yummy, at any rate.

Dana Gaffney said...

Yum! That bread looks delicious and so perfect! You sound a little discouraged by the weather, LOL, do you have a lot of snow in your forecast? Looking for a bright side it makes for beautiful pictures.

Lady Jane said...

I haven't made bread in a coons age. This looks so yummy as pb and jelly are one of my favs. I will have to try this. Hugs, LJ

quiltzyx said...

Glad your PB&J bread surprised you! Looks tasty indeed. But what an odd recipe.

Nice job on the embroidery. She's looking mighty fine.

The triangles look terrific too.