Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's a....LOAF!

Bertha, a mere four days old, gave birth to her first loaf with a little help from me. There are still some kinks we need to work out, but I think our first attempt is a good one.

10 hours before the big event, I fed Bertha an extra healthy dose of flour and water. She's still a gassy gal, but that's a good thing for a levain!

Here's her firstborn, Frank, during his second rising.

And here is Frank fresh out of the oven!

And just like most first children, there will probably be way more photographs of him than our successive loaves. Oh, well. Sorry to be morbid, but loaves don't live long enough around here to have any long term emotional scarring. Yes, folks, I eat Bertha's children. And so does the boy. And so does Mingus (the biggest carboholic around). We're sick, sick people (and one sick dog).

The slight tang that makes pain au levain so charming was faint in Frank. As Bertha matures, her children will be tastier.

I was impressed by Frank's structure: lots of holes and a nice crumb. He was chewy, too.

Since even a loaf of bread is a lot for us to eat, the boy transformed Frank into French toast the next morning. We still have some leftover Frank, which I'll turn to crumbs once he's stale.

Once I get all the kinks worked out, I'll post a tutorial for those of you interested in making pain au levain. So many recipes call for making 2 loaves at a time, and feeding the starter huge amounts of flour to meet the 2 loaves goal. However, it's just the boy and I here, and although I can freeze one loaf, it is so much better to eat and enjoy bread on the same day it is made.

Another treat we enjoyed recently was pimientos de padron, fried in olive oil and liberally sprinkled with course sea salt. I had to stifle a squeal when I saw these at the market! The boy and I lived on these in the bars in Spain, and it was so much fun to be able to surprise him with a plate of them.

Oh, yeah, I've been knitting, too. I'll post more details about this scarf on my Ravelry page, but for now, here is my creative interpretation (*cough, cough*) of the Lace Ribbon Scarf from Knitty. The yarn is Handmaiden Sea Silk in the Oceans colorway, and OMG! It is the nicest yarn I've knit with so far. I loved it.


  1. And Frank is beautiful, too. Love how he picked up the ridges from his temporary home. Looking forward to your tutorial!

  2. What a lovely little family. Now, you've gone and made me hungry. I have all the ingredients to get a starter going but have been too lazy to do so. You've inspired me.

  3. Are you TRYING to get me to fall off the wagon??? It's bad enough that I've been clicking by here regularly to see the pictures of Bertha's offspring, but the pictures are even better than I expected.

    I'm afraid that one bite of that bread could have me in an alley somewhere trying to inject Krispy Kremes into the soft tissue of my inner thigh...

    Sourdough may even be more of a gateway drug for me than sugar!

  4. Frank is so HANDSOME! He finished off his tan in the same bowl that he was born in?

    Tell me more about pimientos de padron, please. Are they spicy or mild?

    Celeste is a sick, sick dog, too. In fact, I'd put her into the carboholic addict class. Hand her a piece of bread and she nearly squeals with delight. Then she lovingly nibbles it, making it last quite a while, wolfing the bread down for her. She savors every minute of it.

  5. Pimientos de padron are sweet, but there is always one or two in the batch that is knock-your-(knitted)-socks-off hot! They're delicious, and when you fry them in olive oil, you get a fruity and smokey taste that is amazing. Course, crunchy salt is a must.

    Frank was baked on a bread stone that was preheated in the oven. I think I'll also try baking bread on our outdoor grill sometime soon!

  6. Am glad I came back --- to see Frank after being born.

    I could quite distinctly smell Frank too!

    Along with michelelb - and others - I am looking forward to your tutorial.
    The additional step for me is to convince the chef in this house to follow your tutorial. He hasn't had any luck baking bread with a recipe from the Internet.

    Maybe I will have to sneak into the kitchen?
    janeyknitting AT yahoo DOT ca

  7. Frank looks... yummy! I can't wait for your tutorial. I need my own Frank!

  8. Can I have a bite of Frank please? He looks, quite delicious, if I may say so! ;)


    That bread is BEAUTIFUL!!! I would love a tutorial.

    You are a fabulous writer/blogger. Good wit and pictures.

  10. How big is (was) Frank? I love pain au levain and can make sour dough mothers, just have to get my buns in gear. One of my cats - Ruby - loves her some tangy breads. (I buy it at our local farmers market)

  11. Frank was a little over a pound. Even that seemed like too much for us, though!

  12. Frank and Bertha are grand, and I'm sure very tasty.

    But you people are missing the real star of the show, that scarf! It's lovely. WT, I hope you give it to someone you really like!!



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