As I wrote about here , I have been using a stand mixer for my bread.
This week I found a second hand copy of this classic book on bread.
I describe this book as a graduate course in bread making. It is amazing, and if you can find a copy -and are interested in bread -I thoroughly recommend it. You never know, you might be able to get it from a library.
One hint which I will now use all the time in winter, was to warm the flour in a low oven for about 10 minutes -this has greatly improved the speed and the rise of my bread.
I tried Ms David's technique of the overnight rise, which she said makes a better tasting loaf. It produced a huge rise in my sourdough on the first rise. Bread making is funny though. I didn't think the second rise would be so quick! I quickly turned on the oven but it was a bit too late. The dough was over-proofed and sinking fast . Then I thought I would make made cuts in the top of the bread ...and the whole thing deflated a little like a balloon with a slow leak. I haven't had a flop in bread making for a while, so it was like going back to the beginning and learning all over again.
I have been trying to make free form loaves rather than loaves baked in tins . I have tried Ms David's suggestion of using wooden bowls or trays to hold the dough as it is rising. The problem then became -just how do I transfer this soft squidgy dough into the oven when it doesn't have a tin that I can hold? DH made me a wooden paddle to get the bread into the oven, but my loaf was too big for it! I found my pizza stone and tipped the bread dough from the wooden tray onto a baking sheet and then onto the pizza stone.
Anyway, the bread mostly tasted good, especially as I took Ms David's advice and worked on adding the flavour back into the bread by mixing my white bread flour with wholemeal and extra wheat germ. The picture below is of the best loaf this week -my free form sourdough which rose well and had a yummy crust and a crumb with just the right amount of holes in it!
Apart from these culinary adventures, the week was memorable for a wonderful concert at the Government House ballroom, from The Australian String Quartet and Slava Grigorian.
In the winter garden my blueberries have flowered for the first time, which is very exciting! I have planted my mizuna seedlings, and more lettuces and dill. The days are much shorter now, and we have had a few days of rain, but nowhere enough for this time of the year. Cooler overnight but still quite mild days The garden mostly thinks it is spring.
As for my quilt -I am still quilting it! Not much progress to show as yet -maybe next week!