January 9th, 2008

ozarque figure

Personal note; politics....

I have lived to see an African-American man and a hillbilly man win the Iowa caucuses....

I have lived to see a woman win the New Hampshire primary...

Glory hallelujah.

I have also lived to see a whole batch of domineering tv news anchors

who had spent the whole day telling New Hampshire voters what to do...

who had spent fifteen minutes making fun of one of their elders...

forced to spend hours on public display with egg all over their faces.

I enjoyed that tremendously.
ozarque figure

Personal note; making bread; part one...

Recently -- based on an impressive array of positive reviews -- I bought the book by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois titled Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking [Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's 2007]. This book claims that you can make a big batch of dough, with no kneading, stash it in your refrigerator, tear off a grapefruit-sized chunk before dinner every night, spend five minutes getting it into your oven, and have a freshly-baked loaf straight from that oven to go with your meal.

The bread recipe I ordinarily use -- once a week -- is at http://ozarque.livejournal.com/174694.html . It's a recipe that requires no kneading, and I think it makes excellent bread -- but I'm only willing to make it once a week, and I'm not willing to make it in the dozens of different varieties that my husband would like to have. If the method in the Hertzberg/Francois book actually works, it offers a potential solution. For one thing, it would mean the loaf we ate at dinner would always be fresh; for another, George -- who cooks the dinners at our place anyway -- tells me he's willing to do the five-minute process the book claims is all that's necessary before the loaf goes into the oven to bake .... if it really turns out to be that easy.

The book is a handsome product, with lots of recipes for many different kinds of breads, and it provides very complete and detailed directions, with clear photographs. I'm very pleased with it. Full disclosure, however: In my opinion, someone who's not already accustomed to baking bread in more traditional ways would have a hard time with its method at first, despite the excellent instructions.

Anyway.... I'm trying it, and will let you know what happens. I made the first batch of dough this morning, and have it rising as I type. The book suggests letting the first batch sit in the refrigerator overnight before trying to bake the first loaf, so it will be tomorrow evening before I actually have an idea how things are going to turn out.

I am in great suspense. I had the recipe I use now for three years before I tried it for the first time, because I wasn't able to convince myself that a bread dough I didn't have to knead was going to give me bread that was fit for my table. Which means that my family and I went without that excellent and easy-to-make bread for three years longer than we should have. I didn't want to make that mistake again.

Nonfiction online: "How Verbal Self-Defense Works" at http://people.howstuffworks.com/vsd.htm ; "Why Are Old Women Older Than Old Men And How Can We Fix That?" at http://www.seniorwomen.com/articles/articlesElginOld.html ; Religious Language Newsletter archive at http://www.forlovingkindness.org . Fiction online: "We Have Always Spoken Panglish" at http://www.sfwa.org/members/elgin/Story-Panglish.html ; "What The EPA Don't Know Won't Hurt Them" at http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/stories/epa.htm ; "Weather Bulletin" at http://www.sfwa.org/members/elgin/Weather.html ; "A Quorum Of Grandmothers" at http://www.sfwa.org/members/elgin/QuorumOfGrandmothers.html ; The Communipaths at http://www.jackiepowers.com/SuzetteHadenElgin/TheCommunipaths.html . More stuff at http://www.sfwa.org/members/elgin/SiteMap.html ; LiveJournal blog index at http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=ozarque .