The staff of life

Sorry to be absent, I hurt my back last Friday and have not been feeling up to much. I am vertical once more, I am happy to say. Things are still pretty much of an effort, but I did kind of manage this today.

Just out of the oven, and smelling wonderful.

Last week, I wanted to seek some fresh yeast while I was in town. We made some enquiries, not with great success, but Gill also became interested. To cut a long story short, she arranged for the Westray bakery to send us a Kilo block on Monday evening’s ferry. She also did all the hard work in “ringing around” to see who would like to share it. The block was divvied up at spinning group yesterday and the small remainder is now in my freezer. We are ordering more.

It was very timely, as my sack of stoneground flour arrived yesterday too.

I knew that my back was not up to doing the whole job by hand today, so I mixed up my dough in the Kenwood. This was not hugely successful, as I overloaded the machine with 1.4 kilos of flour. I blame the pain killers – I am not naturally this stupid.

A crazy rescue blend of machine and hand work resulted in four cobs that look almost the business.

This is just a standard while loaf mix: stoneground flour, small amount of salt, water and yeast. Half a teaspoon of sugar, to get the yeast going.  I added a little olive oil. I baked them in pairs. One pair is deliberately a higher bake, I wish to see which I prefer from this flour. I have 16 kilos to use so I may as well form a plan of attack.

Now. I love baking with real yeast and I always have. I find it more satisfying and I can tell the difference in the mix and the rise, and also the flavour. I know that it is not fashionable to say so and many, if not most, bakers these days maintain that the dried stuff is (a) as good and (b) more reliable and (c) nobody can tell the difference. I like that little bit of mystery myself, and I swear I can taste the difference. This particular yeast was extremely lively – even though my kitchen is chilly, 1 ounce of yeast raised 3lbs of flour in double quick time. Too fast, I thought, so I knocked the dough back after 40 minutes and gave it a further half hour’s rise.

I forgot to keep back a lump of dough for the next batch. Silly me.

Bread and cheese for tea today.

There has been no knitting since last week. I just have not felt up to scratch. In fact I have done nothing useful until I made the bread.

My new vacuum cleaner arrived yesterday. I do not intend to use it for several days yet, though Mr L has road-tested it and declares it to be a lighter and more manoeuvrable machine.

Also delivered yesterday (a bumper day!) was my Lakeland parcel, complete with cheese moulds. Can you see a narrative unfolding?

I need to make mince pies this week, and also some mulled wine. I hope my back sorts itself out quickly.

Oh, I did not get to go with Mr L for his hospital appointment. I stayed at home, feeling sorry for myself. He did the shopping. There was fairly good news from the hospital, though nothing definite. The prognosis was as good as it possibly could be, though with a degree of fuzziness attached to that. They did say that they don’t believe it to be Crohn’s, though that is not definitely disproved. With some luck, remission may be for an extensive period. Only time will tell.

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One Response to “The staff of life”

  1. SpinningGill 21st November 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    Looking good! 🙂

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