Monday, March 21, 2011

Catching Air

More signs of spring are arriving this weekend. We had a thunderstorm  Saturday that gave a little boost to the garlic "plantation" in the garden. There are about 80-90 sprouts of green that may eventually mature into edible bulbs by early to mid July. Neither deer nor moles seem to be interested in the stuff. The peonies are poking through in greater numbers and with some consistent warmth, they'll shoot up and start blooming in the second week of May. Our daffodils are about to run riot and hopefully, I'll figure out a foolproof method to mark their sites to dig some up this fall for replanting. I better come up with that idea fast because the first two bloomed today. The crocuses are madly blooming and burning out in glory after a few days. Tulips are slow this year but that may be because they need replanting also. Another sure sign is the goldfinches are molting and returning in bright yellow plumage. The number of trash bags by the road full of yard waste tells our neighbors that we're wreaking havoc in the flower beds. If they don't get their act together, we'll find even more tacky yard art to make their eyes hurt even worse. I found some solar powered yard lights with gnomes sitting on top of mushrooms at CostCo. Delightfully trashy and evidence of a bad attitude towards neighbors who maintain "dandelion ranches" every spring.
We love breads with nice big holes in them. Those nooks and crannies hold lots of butter or mustard. It's a sign of a high hydration loaf. This one was somewhere around 72%. My interest in using an old favorite flour, a white whole wheat from Norm's Flour, distracted me from pre-soaking but it still worked out well I think.
That bread was done Friday so there is another. In fact, I baked it tonight and it just cooled off. Nothing too fancy, another house loaf where I used the 1-2-3 ratio for a sourdough loaf.
Just for the fun of it, I've decided to tweak my starter again. I'm simply building up a small quantity and then using the same measurements to get my seed stock level. The factor that will tweak it the most should be the room temperature which is around 74-76F. Hopefully, I'll find that the lactobacillus bacteria have increased in number and brought about a little more sour power. Refreshing the build at 10 hour intervals should help build up a healthy colony of wild yeast spores. I liked where my starter was over the winter but even when I played with different flours, I thought that I would break down and tweak again. When summer really hits us and the room temps are around 80-82F, I may do it again as long as I can find a purpose for my discarded starter. I may try it out to repel the moles digging under the yard if I get too desperate.

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