Wednesday, July 18, 2012

new on the home front

The painters finished up last Thursday afternoon, leaving behind rooms with fresh paint and a light and airy feel. We still have not been able to replace the books ~ the shelves need to "cure" for 5 days ~ but we put the guest quarters back together over the weekend. It looks much, much better. Here's the before.

And here it is after.

Much prettier and more welcoming. 

The other thing that's new around here is a gift to the kitchen that I have coveted for many years. I am, among other things, a bread baker. I recently came upon a new recipe for whole wheat that is the best I've ever made, but it takes both a long time and a whole lot of stamina. The process starts with a biga that is refrigerated overnight, then incorporated into a sponge that has fermented overnight. The first time I made it my forearms ached for several days. Trying to incorporate the cold, hard biga into the soft, warm sponge was a killer operation. I asked my neighbor if she, by chance, had a KitchenAid with a bread hook. Indeed she did ~ I knew she would if anyone did. The next batch was a complete breeze. Just toss it all in the bowl, turn it on and in 10 minutes you have perfectly kneaded dough ready for the first rise. That sealed it! I went on to Craig's List and found a seller just down the road from me, contacted her, and on Monday morning I drove over to Woodland, handed over $100 cash and am now the eager owner of this piece of machinery.

When I asked the seller why she was offloading it she said that she had another one, bigger and fancier. Good fortune for me. This has spurred me on to gathering all of my best bread recipes together for a serious season of bread making. I can also whip up some mighty fine egg whites in a flash. Now I have to find somewhere to stow it.

The weather has cooled down for awhile. Good for the garden. But it's expected to heat up again over the weekend into the 100's. Good for the crepe myrtles. Their little florets pop open in the heat and we are blessed with such outrageously hued trees. High summer in the valley.


mary ann said...

Love the new rooms and I didn't know you baked bread ~ good for you!

Anonymous said...

Liz says:

Your guest room looks beautiful!

I know you will just LOVE that KitchenAid mixer! I've had mine for many years. Jim & I went to a demo for a bread machine at King Arthur Flour in VT once, and he decided that we didn't need one, as we had the KA mixer. He used it endlessly to bake gorgeous bread-- just so simple!

Happy loaves!