Saturday, August 20, 2011

This And That

Thing A.  This is going to be one of those random-type posts.

Thing B.  Brittany has been complaining lately that she doesn't get enough face time on the blog.  So here she is exploring the new wheel.  (She has to inspect everything that comes into this apartment.  She's kind of a diva that way.)  (Don't mind the color of these photos.  They were taken at night and super ugly so I tried to adjust the color, but I'm colorblind and, well...  here you go.)

Don't worry, I held onto moving parts so it didn't turn into some carnival ride like "The Wheel of Death" or anything like that.

Thing C.  She also sometimes likes to help me knit.

Oh, garter stitch!  You know, that was named after one of my cousins.  Doesn't look at all like her if you ask me...

Hey!  Peter!  Remember this vest that you never finished?  Do you?  Do you?  It's right here.  Look!  Remember it?
Thing D.  We had a storm yesterday that knocked the power out for a while and flooded several areas in Pittsburgh.  I live on a hill so I didn't get the flooding, but I did knit in the dark for three hours.  This is what my evening looked like.

Some knitting, a good book, and a root beer (yes, root beer.  I don't drink alcohol.)  (I was also cuddling with Brittany because without power, she gets pretty cold.)

Thing E.  Before the power went out, I managed to bake a loaf of bread.

I want to start making my own bread (you know, because being a graduate student leaves me SO MUCH free time...) and this was my first attempt.  Simple, plain, white bread.

Thing F.  It makes unbelievable toast.

Thing G.  Any suggestions for good bread recipes?


  1. You need to find a copy of Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day. SO easy, SO perfect every time...although, from the looks of your first attempt, I think you've nailed the breadmaking...there's a big surprise ;).

  2. Is that the bread you made in the new bread pans you bought when I was talking to you??

    ALSO, I like the pictures of Britany in the wheel. :)

  3. Gah! If I ever came home to find a python wrapped around my spinning wheel I think I'd have a heart attack. After a traumatic incident with a garden snake at the tender age of two (and that horrible scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) I'm a bit weary (terrified) of snakes. She looks like she's having a good time though.

  4. Oh my God, what's that snake doing on your wheel?!
    I had to do a double take on the first photo to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.

    It's a beautiful wheel, with or without snake, and I have a feeling you'll get a lot of spinning done on it.

    Bread-wise, it depends on the kind of bread you want to make. The books I have are all about artisan bread, which usually has a very open crumb and a pronounced crust, unlike the bread in your photos.
    I haven't tried "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes", but heard good things about it. If you are serious about bread baking, I recommend "
    The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart.
    Whatever you do, the satisfaction of baking your own bread can't be beat and the aroma around the house is worth it by itself.

  5. Beautiful photos! I think you two make a wonderful team... and you make good lookin' bread, too.


  6. Check out - if you haven't already done so - Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. The cinnamon-oatmeal bread is to.die.for.

  7. Are snakes the new animal requirement for knitting blogs? Rabbitch (of Rabbitworks fibers) has a snake named Boris... A snake peed on me once and I have never forgiven the whole species for it.
    I second the Artisan bread in 5 min, unless you're specifically looking for something you get to knead a lot...

  8. OK, you're baking BREAD now?!? When you said you were eating bread and butter for dinner I kind of felt bad for you. You didn't mention that it was a brand new loaf of HOMEMADE bread. I don't feel bad for you in the slightest.

  9. I really had to struggle to get through your snake pictures. No hate towards Brittany, but I still have a residual fear of snakes that hearkens back to my childhood. *Shudder*

    I'm glad I pressed through. Short power outages are fun, as is homemade bread. Kudos.

  10. Love the snake and wheel pictures! They're both gorgeous, and I love how connected you obviously are to your slithery sweetie.

    That young man of yours had better appreciate how good he has it, what with the fresh bread and all. I'm just sayin'.

  11. My mom would drop dead if she saw Brittany on your wheel, but I won't show her. She looks lovely, and she's right that we haven't seen her lately! Your homemade bread looks amazing. That is one thing that was on my list to try this year that I just haven't gotten around to yet.

  12. Not a fan of snakes, I'm sorry to say, but I love those photos. ; ) Also, that's a delightful looking loaf of bread!!

  13. Hmm I posted this before I thought but it didn't make it LOL okay so Your wheel is amazing, so glad you liked it! I'm getting my grandmother wheel back from a local carpenter soon, I'm so excited, it's a tyrolean style wheel which doesn't fall into any catagory really. Anyway, being that I come from a place where bread is still a main role in every meal I have a ton of recipes that I could share, and being that I am a baker I really love this post!!!! So theres always bread pudding, but then there is fantastic treat, where you take a slice of bread cut it in half and then put nutella or jam or apple butter on it and squish both sides togther dip into french egg/milk then bread crumbs and deep fry! Delish!! LOL I have a whole repatwar of use up bread recipes

  14. Houahhhh !
    How Brittany is beautiful in the wheel - very fun to see this ancient hobby with a snake.
    I very looove your photos (even if I'm not sure I could live with my actual pets AND a snake).
    BTW, since I have a bread machine, I can stop doing home-made pizza : so easy and so delicious ! chek out on the Internet or send me a message if you want my recipe ;-)

  15. It's nice to see that Brittany does, in fact, exist. It looks like she provides lots of fun times.

    Also, we lost power and avoided flooding as well. I didn't try to know, though.

    Finally, the bread looks delicious. I'm a fan of no knead bread, although it takes a bit of planning ahead. Here's a great tutorial/recipe:

  16. Your spinning looks amazing. Do you "love" your wheel still? I prefer mine wihtout a snake but it's your wheel. The bread looks great. My bread recipes are all gluten & wheat free and taste horrible. Don't let anyone tell you different. Happy spinning!

    Linda (the one that isn't JD)

  17. There are plenty of good bread recipes out there, but I think the most important part of baking bread is developing a feel for the dough, which no recipe can teach you. That and good flour - I love King Arthur, personally, though I'm not sure you can get that at the Giant Iggle.

  18. Mel is right that you have to get the feel for the dough. Bread dough is a living thing, 'cause of the enzyme and yeast stuff goin' on, so a dough behaves differently in cool dry weather than in hot humid weather. So knowing some basic things about how dough feels in various stages of development is very good.

    Recipes by King Arthur flour are very reliable, and they have fantastic customer service...if something doesn't work you can call and they'll try to troubleshoot.

    The problem I have with "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes" is that the dough batches are big, so it's not practical on several levels. I do like Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Breads Every Day": 1 or 2 loaves, not much fuss or muss. You can start it one night and bake the next day. Reinhart is passionate about everything about bread. He gets real home bakers to test the recipes, incorporates their suggestions into his recipes and gives them credit. His other books are interesting reading and very good for serious home bakers, but I think "Artisan Breads Every Day" is very accessible, and a synthesis of his various approaches and learnings found in his other books.

    I also like reading, but haven't tried any of his recipes.