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Scripturient: Resting, Relaxing and Rising

I’ve been reading of late about gluten. How it works, how it develops, why it matters. Gluten is the key to good bread and pasta (the gluten-free fadists notwithstanding, gluten-free anything is an aberration that should be shunned by anyone not diagnosed with celiac disease*). I’m learning more about how gluten links with itself to . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Resting, Relaxing and Rising

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: May’s Breads and Pasta: 1

So far this month, I’ve made two loaves and one batch of pasta. But the month is barely started, so I have lots of time to make more. The breads so far were nothing spectacular – acceptable, reasonably tasty, but hardly exciting. I’ve made better. The pasta on the other hand, is getting quite good . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: May’s Breads and Pasta: 1

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Spring Breads

It’s been a while since I wrote about baking bread. During the election campaign last fall, my baking was sidetracked somewhat, but I did manage to get a few loaves in. Last month I got back to baking in earnest. However, along the way, I ignored my levain and it went off. I had to . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Spring Breads

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Another fad bites the dust

The gluten-free fad took another major hit to its already weakened credibility this week when researchers who had first diagnosed “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” found out that, oops, they were wrong. It doesn’t exist. A story in Business Insider tells the tale. In one of the best examples of science working, a researcher who provided key . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Another fad bites the dust

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: May and June Breads

The past month I haven’t done as much baking as usual – just been too busy to do much, plus I was away for a long weekend holiday in Toronto. So June saw a mere two loaves baked. I made a few others in late May, however. The two most recent loaves were a poolish-levain . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: May and June Breads

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: April’s early breads

April has begun with three loaves of bread; generally successful efforts, although there’s still some tweaking to do with the recipes. As always. But I’m encouraged to try more – and of course experiment more with recipes and ingredients. The first loaf of the latest batch was an artisan loaf made at the tail end . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: April’s early breads

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Is this the end of the gluten-free fad?

  Last November, when I first wrote about the gluten-free diet fad, I bemoaned how an everyday protein, a staple in human diets for many millennia, had become demonized by the diet fad crowd. In fact, the gluten-free fad rapidly grew into a multi-million-dollar industry in Canada to accommodate that vulnerable intersection of consumer fears . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Is this the end of the gluten-free fad?

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The late March breads

A couple more loaves were made this month and a third will be started later this week. Both were made in the oven, not the machine, at 425F for roughly 35 minutes. Neither rose very high, but both were edible and tasty. Only about a third of the second loaf remains, so I will start a . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The late March breads

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Loafing around again

Been at it again this month. Bread making, I mean. You knew that from the image, right? Several efforts so far this month and March isn’t even half-way through its course. Winter remains firmly entrenched here, and spring – or any time without a thick layer of snow – looks far away. So it’s a . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Loafing around again

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Raisin and sourdough this week

While I haven’t tried to make a sourdough raisin bread yet, that idea occurred to me while I was making my latest breads, this week. I’m sure it would be a good mix, but I’ll have to build my levain up again, since I used all my countertop levain in yesterday’s bread (about 350g). I . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Raisin and sourdough this week

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Corn and other breads

The last loaf of January, 2014 was a machine-made corn bread, made using a recipe from Washburn’s & Butt’s 300 Best Canadian Bread Machine Recipes book that I’ve mentioned previously. It’s a good book for bread machine users. Unlike my previous efforts to tinker with bread recipes, I used the basic, printed 1.5-lb. recipe without . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Corn and other breads

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Water, water, everywhere

Hydration matters. Not just to athletes and long distance runners. It matters to bakers. How much water is in your dough is crucial to how the crumb develops. It’s amazing how a few grams more or less of water can make a real difference in the resulting loaf of bread. This week I did a . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Water, water, everywhere

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Short and the Tall of It

This past week saw several new experiments in my bread laboratory. Okay, it’s a kitchen, but sometimes it feels like a lab, what with all the tinkering and testing I do. I just can’t seem to stop trying new things in bread. It would fee even more science-like if Susan would let me buy the . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Short and the Tall of It

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Two more loaves, new lessons learned

Following up on my desire to make homemade raisin-cinnamon bread for Susan, I spent several hours collecting recipes online and entering their ingredients into a spreadsheet so i could compare them. Quite a range in the amounts of some (like cinnamon and sugar). Then an Amazon order arrived, which included a 2012 book called 300 . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Two more loaves, new lessons learned

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: What, no raisin bread?

I have a large – and growing – stack of books about bread. So many that I’m running out of shelf space for them all. Some are for artisan bread, some for regular homemade bread (traditional recipes, usually with lots of kneading), others are for bread machines. A couple are generic “all-about-breads-of-the-world” books with recipes. . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: What, no raisin bread?

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: A Tale of Two Loaves

An interesting experiment this week: using the same basic set of ingredients to make bread, but one made by hand, the other in the bread machine, both made the same day. I’ve been curious about this ever since I got the machine. Would the two methods create similar breads if I used roughly the same . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: A Tale of Two Loaves

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Looking back on 2103

It’s been quite a year, both personally and politically. The best of times, the worst of times, to paraphrase Dickens. Looking back on 2103, it was a busy, eventful, successful, and yet often challenging year. I accomplished many things on different levels – personal and professional – and, I believe, overcame some of the challenges . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Looking back on 2103

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The last loaves of 2013

As my stock of bread dwindles, I’m contemplating what breads to bake this weekend, as well as what I may want to try before the New Year. I’m also pondering my baking successes and failures these past few months. Mostly successes, although a few have been “qualified” successes – edible but not optimal. First my . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The last loaves of 2013

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Salt and bread making

Salt is one of the four essential ingredients in making bread, along with flour, yeast and water. Nothing more is needed, although often a lot more is added. Salt is listed in all the recipes. Only one bread I’ve ever read about is salt-free (a Tuscan specialty mentioned in William Alexander’s book, 52 Loaves). We . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Salt and bread making

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: How hot is your oven?

Seems like a silly question: the answer would be it’s as hot as I set it to be. Isn’t it? Well, no, it may actually be rather different from what you expect, based on my recent tests. I was reading on several bread-baking forums about oven temperatures and the effects on baking. Specifically on the . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: How hot is your oven?

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Art, Science & Baking

You gotta love breadmaking. It’s an opportunity to get the right and left hemispheres of the brain working together, not racing about in different directions like they do most times. The logical and the creative sides working in lockstep. Bread making combines the logic of science with the freedom of expression in art. Well, that’s . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Art, Science & Baking

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Ah, Hubris…

Annabeth: My fatal flaw. That’s what the Sirens showed me. My fatal flaw is hubris. Percy: The brown stuff they spread on veggie sandwiches? Annabeth: No, Seaweed Brain. That’s HUMMUS. Hubris is worse. Percy: What could be worse than hummus? Annabeth: Hubris means deadly pride, Percy. Thinking you can do things better than anyone else… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Ah, Hubris…

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: What am I doing wrong?

I began a levain last week (Nov 19) and it seemed to go well at first, but then it just seemed to have stopped… or slowed to a crawl. Was is dead? Or just dormant? Did I have a welcome guest growing in the bowl or was it a wet mass of unwanted invaders? Am . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: What am I doing wrong?

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Doing it by the numbers

The first thing I learned – well, not the first but up there, for sure – is that volume measurements are for amateurs. Being an amateur (and expecting to be there for some time yet), I took it on the chin when asking typical neophyte questions about recipes and ingredients. Might as well have hung . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Doing it by the numbers

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Road Trip to K2

No, not to the mountain. To the mill. The flour mill in Beeton, a little more than an hour’s drive southeast of me. We took a little road trip today in my never-ending quest for baking ingredients. Susan came along, showing remarkable tolerance for my obsession. K2 is a modest, old-fashioned place that grinds flour . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Road Trip to K2