Friday, September 5, 2008

September 5, 2008

Today was fun. Play date with the kids and the play group. I was the only father there so I did all the heavy lifting and pushing on swings.  Kind of tiring, but fun.

Today was simply watering the garden. Not sure why, but my water pressure has dropped off tremendously for no reason.  If my water usage skyrockets, I guess I'll know I've got a leak, but there's nothing running that we know of.  Grrr. I liked our pressure.  Without it my hose pressure is nada. 

I've got several tomatoes ready for harvest, but my brother didn't come over and trade me lettuce so I'm holding off harvesting them.  I figure they're helping to throw of the gases that will ripen more fruit.  It's a thought.

I did bake a loaf of bread.  However, due to the play date schedule coinciding with the bread process, I "adjusted" it slightly.

First off, I cut the 18 hour rise by an hour.

I also figured out that the big rise doesn't happen because the wide bowl.  Next time I'll use a steep sided bowl to make my bread so that may help the final thickness.

So I did the folding and 15 minute rise while we were getting the kids ready for the park and my wife went out and got cheap bread to feed the ducks.

I think it looks better than the first time at this point.  Unforunately, we left right after I put the blob in a bowl for the 1 and a half hour final proof. 

Three hours later, I preheated the oven and accidently flipped the dough onto the edge of pizza stone and the crock pot liner crimped the edge. 

Since the last time I got burnt bread (that still tasted good), this time I cooked it at 475 then dropped it to 450 like normal for the last 15 minutes.  This time we got golden brown perfect bread.

Looks good doesn't it?  Only problem is that the bread wouldn't come off the stone.  It was fused.  I tried for 15 minutes to scrape it off. In the end we just ate it off the stone, leaving the bottom crust.  It still tasted great!  I wonder if it was stuck because I washed off the crumbs from the last loaf an hour before I baked.  I decided then that I should get the silly cloche thing.  So I checked the net to see if I could get it cheaper than $40.  So I'm cheap.  The economy sucks and I would like to keep as much as possible.  Unfortunately I couldn't find it for sale on Amazon, Ebay or anywhere on google/yahoo.  Well I did find a link to Breadtopia's site.  So I checked there and found out the company that makes them. So I went to their site and go figure, the same thing cost $50.  Eric must get a special volume discount. 

So, we're going on a hike tomorrow.  It's steeper, but shorter.  We'll see.  Afterwards we'll swing by the outlet mall to see if I can get one of these things cheaper.  I don't think I'll get a dutch oven.  Too much work to keep it clean.  If I can't find it, I'll order it from Eric. He's been a big help and deserves it.

So, back to the garden, when do you thin?  This time I was tired of duds so I planted multiple seeds of lettuce and carrots.  Now I've got crowding and need to thin. I've got the first leaves but no true leaves, should I wait til that happens or pull the weakest now?  Thoughts?

Enjoy your garden and weekend!


  1. You might reconsider that dutch oven. I have one (old, cast iron) that I bake sheepherder's bread in, and it turns out wonderful. They are a bit of a pain to care for at times, but certainly not if you use them for just bread.

    Thinning carrots. Personally, I kind of go in and pluck out a finger's width between clumps, then as the remainder get big enough to separate, I thin further and feed the thinnings to my rabbit. I found wide row planting to be easier than sfg for me, because I'd just use a salt shaker to shake the seeds over the area, then when they got their first true leaves I'd run the tines of the rake through them to do the first thinning. That made any subsequent thinning much easier. I might try again in the sfg, but use a child-sized rake? My recent experiment, cooking 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch, cooling and mixing the carrot seeds into it, then pouring it all in a squeeze-top bottle and squirting it into shallow grooves is working well (the hole in my bottle was too large, I need something smaller than a Hershey's syrup container). At least it shows promise, I think I can perfect it! I'm wondering if the cornstarch mixture gives some protection to the carrot seed, as the germination was greatly improved over just scattering and covering the seed. I didn't even cover the rows with a board, and the heat didn't dry them out at all.

  2. I wait until the plants have true leaves before thinning - mainly because it is easier to tell at that point which plants are doing best/growing strongest.

    On the bread... I use covered claypot cookware for the bread. I will try to remember to take a picture of the pans sometime - to show you.

  3. Hey dude, I saw where you commented on my blog...thanks! I tehn wrote you a long email, and when I went to send it - my pc locked up. I had to shut down the entire sux big time....Anyway, for my pickles, I used Mrs. Wages dill pickle mix -from Walmart. It rocks!!!!! Anyway...I've got little carrot seedlings as well, and they need to be thinned. I'm planning on doing that tomorrow. No true leaves yet, just seed leaves. Bread looks good, sorry it stuck...oh well, I bet it still tasted good.

  4. Trying again, as my previous comment didn't go through...

    Don't count out a Dutch oven. I have one, and although it is a pain to take care of at times with "regular" cooking, it would be excellent (and easy care) if you only used it for bread. I bake a fabulous loaf of sheepherder's bread in mine.

    I hate to thin carrots. Take a peek at my blog 9/7 and see how my experiments went with the carrot seeds!