Loafing Around

It's been a three-day process baking my first loaf of bread since returning home from our trip. Even longer if you count the days it took me to rev up the sourdough starter. Yesterday I mixed in the final ingredients, kneaded the bread, and then put the whole shebang into the refrigerator to sit for 24 hours. When I checked it later in the afternoon yesterday, it looked like this.

You can see that it's about two inches below the rim of the bowl. This morning, it looked like this.

It had expanded and risen to within an inch of the rim of the bowl. It was time to take it out for the third step. When I uncovered it, it looked like this.

Using my bowl scraper, I was able to scrape it out of the bowl onto a well-floured cloth.

From there, I shaped it into a boule and placed it into a banneton well-floured with rice flour. The rice flour granules are round and are best to help prevent the dough from sticking to the basket.

Now, it needed to sit at room temperature for five hours before it would be ready for baking.

Also, I'm still working at getting the white sourdough starter off the ground. The instructions said to leave it along for 1-2 days, but mine was starting to smell like beer. I decided to move on to the third step, which was to add 5 1/4 tablespoons of flour and 3 tablespoons of water. After feeding it and giving it a vigorous stir, I moved the rubber band to accommodate its new height.

When I checked it about an hour later, it had risen about an inch above the rubber band.

Still waiting for the bread dough to rise, I passed the time by doing quite a bit of embroidery on the latest Friendship's Garden block. These are kind of fun to stitch.

Also, we've had a rare day of sunshine, and so I got out and took pictures of every blooming thing...such as it is. Lots is budding out right now, but there aren't a lot of blooming things. The flowering plums are looking good, however.

There are still a few tulips left that the squirrels didn't eat. If I'm remembering correctly, these are very dark tulips...almost black.

It was the day for my monthly pedicure, and I was so ready for that. My last one was before the trip, and so my feet were ready for some TLC. When I got home, I uncovered the banneton and will you look at that.

It was time to start the oven. This was baked in a preheated Dutch oven, and so I got that going. Then, I carefully turned the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper. Sometimes these want to stick to the basket, despite my best efforts. This one came out perfectly. That white residue is just some rice flour that came out with the dough. I just used my fingers to brush that off.

When the oven was hot, I scored the bread and then lifted it, parchment and all, into the Dutch oven. Then, into the oven it went.

After 45 minutes...oh, my, my. Isn't that beautiful?

As I'm writing this, I'm waiting for it to cool enough to cut into. I have to wait a full hour. (Drums fingers on table top. Cue Final Jeopardy music.) I'll have to report back and show you the crumb in tomorrow's post.

As for sewing, I finished off my Itty Bitty Bow Tie quilt. It finished a 6 x 10 inches. Cute, huh?

It was more enjoyable to make than I would have expected. As I've already mentioned to a few of you, it was kind of relaxing to slow down and pay attention to details. I'd say it was more mindful sewing than my usual assembly-line style chain piecing. Anyway...I'll do this again, but not for a while.

Instead, I got started on my quilt for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Recall that I'm making this quilt called Jubilee Lap Quilt...

...only I'm going to call mine "Rainbow Jubilee." I'll be making four blocks of each color of the month. Yesterday, I started with April's yellows and golds. I first cut strips 1 1/2-inch wide and 11, 9, 7, 5, and 3 inches long. I needed two of each for each block. When they were sewn together, they were trimmed to a 7 1/2-inch block. That was easy enough. I just lined up the 45° angle on the center seam, and then cut the first edge.

From there, it was a simple matter to cut the remaining three sides. I just lined up the second side and cut it to 7 1/2 inches wide.

For the third side, I lined up the ruler's edge at the top corner, and then cut the third side.

The fourth side was simple enough, and when I was finished, I had my four April blocks.

All of this was done under the watchful eye of Miss Sadie, who's being a good girl and staying in her little kitty bed.

Now I've sorted through my blue scraps for the January blues. I'll do the same thing with them.

Also, I've sorted through my black and white scraps. For these, I'll be making half square triangles from six strips. I'll say more about that as I go along.

There probably won't be much time for sewing today, but I'll get a start on cutting the strips.

And that bread is calling to me. Still not time to cut it. (Continues drumming fingers.)

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

Junebug613 said...

I love the little bowtie quilt and can't wait to see how the rainbow comes out! Mmmmmm, fresh baked bread!

Quilting Babcia said...

That bread looks scrumptious! I need to look up some recipes for artisan breads. We've started baking our own bread lately after the supermarket stopped carrying the only bread with any flavor. That Jubilee lap quilt looks like fun with the black and white background for your rainbow blocks.

Kaisievic said...

Barbara, your bread looks amazing but so long to make! I bet it was worth it!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Oh, what a delish looking bread! Love the tiny bow-tie quilt and good start on your RSC project.

Kate said...

Congrats on getting a loaf from your starter, it looks really tasty. You got a great start on your RSC project. You should catch up pretty quickly.

piecefulwendy said...

So maybe tulips are like jellybeans to squirrels, and none of them like the black ones?? Haha. Just a thought. Your bread looks amazing. It wouldn't last long here, I can tell you. Your mini mini is really cute, and those yellow blocks are so sunshiny and bright. You've had a good day!


Love those bright yellow and gold blocks--you got those blocks all figured out for more cutting--
and I think I can smell that bread all the way here--any left???
give Sadie a treat for me for 'keeping on eye' on you while you sewed!!
enjoy. di

thatfabricfeeling.com said...

Sourdough bread is my most favorite!! I grew up in California and when I visit my family, I almost squeal when a restaurant offers us sourdough there! I have thought about making my own, but it's a slippery slope to have fresh bread around at home!! I admire your baking skills and am happy to sample a slice anytime you're looking for tasters. I love your string blocks. It's a great way to make a rainbow quilt with using up scraps. I find string quilts so addictive that I often can't stop until I've sewn enough for a lap quilt!!

Linda said...

Love your Itty Bitty Bow Tie quilt.
Your sourdough process is just fascinating! Do you have a special scoring blade for your dough? Or do you just use a sharp knife?

Brown Family said...

I think I can smell the bread from here! Your yellow blocks look fun and easy!

quiltzyx said...

The bread boule looks so beautiful! I don't know how you managed to wait a whole HOUR after it came out of the oven though.
The RSQ is also off to a great start. :)