Tiny White Flowers

Tiny White Flowers

Monday, November 10, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Eight, Day One

Yesterday the stars came crashing down, and today they are realigning.  Don't know yet what Chapter Eight will bring, but I know that the roller coaster has leveled out somewhat after yesterday's upset.  Sort of like these damned markets, up the day before the election, down again afterward.  I'm going with the up-swing.  I like those times: when I can breathe fully (that in-breath that has a satisfying peak before breathing out), when the weight lifts, the air clears, the sun comes out, and life makes sense again.  If briefly.  But, if that's the way of things, so be it.  I'll take those up times gladly, knowing they are all the more precious when interspersed with the down.

I'm going to make bread now, and will resume shortly.  And, I want to take a moment to thank all those who have been checking in regularly.  I don't know who you are, but I know you're out there, and that makes all the difference.  And if you have a blog I can visit, let me know.  I'll gladly stop by.

*  *   *   Whole Wheat Bread Baking Break   *   *   *  Whole Wheat Bread Baking Break   *   *   *  

Okay, the dough is in the bowl.  These are my ingredients, roughly:

3 C warm water
pinch of brown sugar
2 generous tsp. yeast

(Let this activate if you want to; not totally necessary if you know you've got good yeast, however, some people really like to see their yeast go to town and get nice and frothy.)

Add to this:

1 T salt
1/4 C oil   
       ** DH likes to add olive oil; I think canola is good, too

1/2 C honey   
***  If you put the 1/4 C oil in the 1/2 C measure before you pour it into the yeast     mixture, then pour the honey into the oiled 1/2 C after that, most all of the honey goes into the bowl, and doesn't stick to the measuring cup.  Nice for those who like just a little mess.

1/2 C non-fat milk powder

Mix well.

To this, add:

4 C whole wheat bread flour
1/2 to 1 C rolled oats
1/4 to 1/2 C millet or quinoa
1/4 C wheat germ
4-6 C of unbleached white bread flour

Knead until smooth, elastic and nicely responsive to your touch.  Tuck into a ball and place in a large lightly oiled bowl to rise to double it's size.  This may take an hour and a half, or it may take longer, depending on the temp in you house, whether you have the woodstove going, or have been making chicken stock on the stove, are drying apples in the dehydrator, etc.  

When the dough has doubled, gently press it down again and let rest for 10 minutes, after which divide the dough into two even pieces, and fold into two loaves (or rounds if you prefer) and place into two clay loaf pans to rise again.  This rise will be shorter, about half the time of the first rise.  Don't let it go too long, or the gluten will become exhausted, and the bread won't "spring" in the oven.

When risen, bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  If you have a baking stone in your oven (for pizza) and the breads are firm enough, take the loaves out of the pans and place on the stone for another 10 or so minutes.  If you don't have a stone, just bake for 40 minutes, or until the breads are nicely browned, and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Set to cool on racks. While warmish, but not *too* warm, cut and enjoy.

*  *  *     *   *   *     *   *   *     *   *   *     *   *   *

So, last night DH got up to do DS's blood sugar check.  It was 66, or something like that, so DH stumped downstairs to cut half a piece of homemade sourdough (this is his project), and gave it to DS to raise his BS (blood sugar, in this case).  Then we stewed about the number, and about the fact that we didn't give him juice first, so DH went down again and got the juice.  We stewed a little more about the fact that the juice came *after* the bread, and that it would likely get absorbed by the bread and not get into his blood stream fast enough.  This made (first) DH, and then me, after the anxiety nerve-squeeze thing hit, go back downstairs and consult the diabetes book we got at the hospital, to see what range we should be most comfortable with.  This whole process took until after 3 am, and then I (and most likely DH, too) was up for at least another half hour, just trying to settle in again.

This morning I got up to make breakfast for DS, and start the process of prying him out of bed.  He was, as one would imagine quite easily, very tired at this point.  I was thinking how criminal it seemed to make him go to school today.  Tomorrow is a holiday, and DD has both days off.  Somehow it felt that there was no justice, and I looked at DH and said, "this sucks."  He agreed.

Fortunately, after teaching this morning (DD attended my class: weight-lifting) I started feeling better.  The teachers I contacted over the weekend about DS's mountain of back-homework finally got back to me (both out of town the whole weekend), DS's diabetes kit we thought was left in the carpool car was really in his backpack, with plenty glucose strips in it, and an issue with British Airlines and Continental we had re. a trip over the summer, is seemingly coming to a close.  

That deep breath in is more satisfying--reaching that apex where the lungs feel nicely stretched--and feels fuller.  Even the lack of sleep we've accumulated doesn't seem quite so bad today.  Let's hope it holds for a few hours.  Then I can get started with Chapter Eight of The Artist's Way.


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