Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

Bread Notes

Not really sure what I was getting in to, tried my hand at a loaf of 100% whole grain spelt bread using a spelt sourdough starter I had put together a week ago. It turned out pretty well, I'd say.

Whole grain spelt flour has many of the same qualities as a wheat flour except that, due to the lack of gluten, it does not hold its shape as well. To compensate, I made it 'lighter' by keeping it wetter. The dough was really more of a thick batter than a real kneadable dough. Because of this I used a spatula to turn and fold it right in the bowl and then just left it to rise like a usual. After about five or six hours, it did indeed puff up nicely at which point I gently scraped it out of the bowl with the spatula and right into a flour and parchment lined proofing basket trying to keep the precious bubbles intact. And because I could bake it right in the parchment paper, after and hour of proofing I could lift the entire dough out of the basket and into the hot baking pan in one go with minimal interference. It worked! It has an open crumb with a nice chewy texture and a tangy flavour.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Many readers of The New York Times and The New Yorker  magazine will recognize this Norwegian author and his six-book, 3,000+ page autobiographical series.  When I first heard about him and his unusualy intricate yet meandering writing style I wrote him off as an author I probably won't tackle. "Meandering" to me sounds more like "tangents" and if there's anything I dislike in books it's tangents. Stick with the plot and get on with the story, is what I say. But what if a book is made up of nothing but tangents? I know, right? My reading axis just shifted a bit. His writing is so seamless it's actually pretty engrossing no matter what he's writing about. My Struggle is made up of vignettes from his youth, young-adulthood and the present. He's thinking big thoughts while going about his everyday life gathering impressions and experiences just like everyone else. I've always believed every person has a story inside them regardless of how ordinary their life seems and here is an example of exactly that. Remember the recent Oscar winning movie Boyhood? The loose format of this book is somewhat like that movie. Hard to categorize, but good nonetheless.

(back cover)
My Struggle: Book One introduces American readers to the audacious, addictive, and profoundly surprising international literary sensation that is the provocative and brilliant six-volume autobiographical novel by Karl Ove Knausgaard. It has already been anointed a Pruostian masterpiece and is the rare work of dazzling literary originality that is intensely, irresistibly readable. Unafraid of the big issues -death, love, art, fear- and yet committed to the intimate details of life as it is lived, My Struggle is an essential work of contemporary literature. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bread Notes and a Raccoon

Not to brag, but this sourdough loaf just came out of my oven. Check out that open crumb and generous oven spring! I sense that there will be some cheese and a bottle of wine in my near future...

Also, apropos of nothing, this lumbering creature crossed my backyard this morning. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Bookshelf Love

The thing with hard to reach books that require the aid of a ladder is that you can spend many a happy hour rediscovering the high up and long ago shelved titles. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015