04 January 2010

Books and Bread

I know - this blog is about books and yarn and ink, right? Trust me, I have yarn, and I WILL have yarn. I have projects on hand and in the head. More will be forthcoming...as will ink.

But for now...

It has been a bookish year for me - not only in reading, which I always have a stack on hand from the library - but actually keeping track of what I read. I love that my library account lets me track my reading history. I know that some people, some librarians won't due to issues with the Patriot Act and believing the less records the better. But dammit, Homeland Security, I don't care if you know that I checked out Catching Fire, A Year of Ritual, and Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Workshop this past week!

Thanks to LibraryThing, I have been able to not only track them better, but compare them to my friends and fellow bookaholics online. I also participated in SantaThing this year, and not only was thrilled with the titles sent to me, Gardening for the Faint of Heart and Storm Born, but had my own passion for young adult literature reignited with playing Santa for another. I completely recommend it!

I picked up the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day not long after reading one of its first reviews. I love artisan bread, but not always its prices. The idea of being able to get a loaf of fresh bread on the table in around an hour was quite exciting, but it sat on my shelf for a while. I did run through one attempt while still living in my apartment. The bread was fine, but the dough was very wet.

Now settling into the house, both my husband and I love fresh bread. Plus I had to pick up the 5 Minutes a Day sequel (Healthy Bread in 5...)this fall when it came out, so we determined it was time to try again. Knowing the issues I had with the loose dough before, I increased the flour by 1/2 cup.

This time - the dough seemed to be right! Loose enough to rise and flatten in the container in the fridge, but not slide through my fingers as I grabbed a large handful to shape into the next loaf.

How successful?

Is that not the most beautiful thing?

And tonight I moved forward in the book and tried a new loaf shape:

Oui, oui...une baguette!

But, that's not all! We also got a manual pasta roller and cutter for Christmas (thanks, Mom!) and while at first my husband was a little bemused about receiving it (The current argument from him in the house exactly how many kitchen accoutrements we must have. Since between us we have three French presses, and two are not mine, I win.) after pulling its shiny silver shape out of the box enthusiasm took over. Last week he made a batch of pasta dough and cut it took spaghetti, then hung it to dry.

He came up with the curtain-rod-as-drying-rack idea. He's smart and handy like that. The dinner was delicious: fresh pasta, fresh bread and sauce made from crushed tomatoes, spices and agave syrup.

So, winter is rearing its head here in MA now. It snowed through most of the weekend and the temps are finally staying low enough to keep the snow around. However, I now have a bright spot in January:

I think these are almost as pretty as the bread. Almost.

I will be waiting anxiously until the yard becomes clear again. You see, this year I will get to create my garden. From scratch. Our home's owner didn't plant outside, and has pretty much given me free rein to garden. I have lots of plans, plans for vegetable beds and herbs. For a couple flower beds too. With the fences bordering parts of the property, there is plenty of space for berry bushes and lilac bushes too!

Plenty of space, and lots of plans. Lots of work also, and probably far more than my budget will allow. But a girl can dream.
This girl does.


  1. Hey dreaming girl, I love looking at your gorgeous homemade breads and pasta... so when do I get to abduct you and your family, settle us into a big rambling farmhouse, and make us all do foody/garden/crafty/artistic things all the time? And read a gazillion books?

  2. Oh man, you have me drooling!
    I'd heard about the artisan bread book on the blogosphere, but I was skeptical it actually saves much time. Verdict in that regard?
    Also the handmade pasta looks so yummy! Yay no processed food ;-)

  3. good golly that book keeps popping up just everywhere in my life. And, lo, I have it. Your bread is amazing to me. Amazing. Enough with this seedy bread machine bread. Maybe tomorrow is the day I make a decent artisan loaf.

  4. Wow...I am so impressed! I have never tried to make bread and I suspect I would fail BIG TIME! They are so pretty though...almost makes me want to try. Almost. ;)