Well it’s fireplace day for us. It was very cold in the house yesterday, with enough wood for that day or this day. So we held out. Today I also held out as long as we could, so now the fire is started.

The morning wasn’t so bad really, but by 11am cold toes were beginning in my boots. I’ve been making bread, so that kept me busy (not as busy as most of you probably think though 😉 ) as well as doing some more looking for movie stuff online.

Frank wants to see Master and Commander at the theatre, and he’s away today, so I thought I’d see what stuff is on their website and get a Desktop for him, or make one if need be. I found that their trailer is one that is only stream-able … pooh to that. So then I saw on their front US interface something about “broadband users” and clicked on it. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a channel in Maven, a tool that different companies can utilize to distribute content. Maven is a light install, and then the “channels” are downloaded behind the scene. Content is richer than is on the website. And it’s on ones own computer en total when desiring to view it. Nice.

The movie clips are all Windows media player files, seemless in the Master and Commander “Maven” interface. But if you know where to look for them on your computer, you can snag them to view in Windows Media Player. .wmv files.

There are other “channels” you can get … but nothing I’m interested in yet. There is a National Geographic one that may be coming soon, that’ll be interesting to check out, not knowing what IT’S content may be, and seeing if it’ll be available to just “anyone”.

OK then, my bread. I experienment with bread whenever I make it for the last couple of years. This time I’m using a 2-cup 2-day-old sponge … flour and water and 1-teaspoon of active dry yeast in a widemouth jar. I shake or stir it everyonce in awhile and just let it do it’s thing. It was really smelly this morning, as expected. Very much what I was looking for this time. It’s a sourdough taste, but using modern yeast. Something that’s not “really sourdough” but it’s a nice flavor.

I use that then with other ingredients and a few pinches of active dry yeast to make the dough. It’s resting/proofing in a bowl in the oven right now. I’ll put it in pan in less than an hour, and keep them in the oven too. I wet papertowels and place them over the loaves while they rise, replenishing the wetmenss as need be. I put the oven on warm for a few minutes, then turn it off. This is a decent environment for the bread.

Well I’ve left this post for a bit, and since I don’t feel like editing it, I’ll just say, time has past, the dough is in the pans and proofing.

What recipe do I use? None. I worked out developing my own “from memory” kind of recipe. So I just add stuff like:

Fresh ground Wheat Montana Prairie Gold flour
Eggs
Butter
Salt
Yogurt
Milk
Honey
Black Strap Molasses

I usually start out with some kind of culture or sponge. In the Spring, Summer, Fall, I used Piima cultured milk in my sponge, but this colder house this winter has had me stop making it. So I’ve adapted to making odd cultures instead … not actually trying to make a wild yeast culture, it’s too cold for that. Instead I use teeny tiny amounts of yeast to get a little bit of flour and water to start bubbling, then feeding it as one would a real sourdough culture. A few days of that and I hold it in the fridge, bring it out beforehand to warm it up if going to use it. I take part, then feed it and a day or so later back in the fridge it goes.

It adds flavor and helps to rise any dough I make, and I only then add a tinier bit of fresh active dry yeast to the dough recipe.

This probably sounds confusing to y’all, of course. I am doing this in my quest to do thing olde world style, for the reason of getting out of modern methods of cooking some things. Bread is the first and foremost. We have advantages of equipment that grind flour fast, so I’m trying to get WHOLE GRAINS done in an olde world style, utilizing no store flour at all.

Sometime I do use store flour, only unbleached regular flour. About two-cups of that in a bowl, some water to make it goupy and two-teaspoon of yeast, stir well, in fact, beat it. Let it sit in a warm place, covered for a few hours, then add more water if you want to, or not. Salt, and more flour to make a nice soft dough. Let this proof, punch it down, let it proof again, punch it down, at this point let it proof again or form a long loaf, just whatever time tells you is right.

This is basic bread making. Add olive oil to the recipe and it’s pizza dough. Add yogurt and it improves flavor and texture. Add something of a flour culture or sponge and get better flavor and texture. Use part whole grain, but only if using a long proofing -punch down phase of making it. Using cultured things in it helps to break down the whole grain to be much more palatable to mouth and body.

My goal is only to be able to make any kind of bread with the most pure ingredients, and without using a book. When I say “most pure ingredients” I mean simple whole foods kinds of things. Nothing fancy manufactured-only.

I do use black strap molasses, but only sometimes, and it’s not something I need to use. I use it to add color, or flavor, particularly if my honey supply is low.

I make french bread as described in the basic way above. My sandwhich kind of bread is the main bread I make with whole grains only, and that’s my biggest experiment. I use steel pans, and coat them well with butter before adding the dough.

These kind doughs must rise and be slashed in some manner before baking, to keep the top from separating from the body of the bread — or making smiley face bread, as you may know it.

Well, this is a mis-mash post. It’s what life is usually like here, many things going on in and out, over and under, weaving, forgotten, remembered … 🙂