Bread, mice and baby bunting

It’s Sunday…. my favourite day. And it’s Day Three of the Sourdough Starter and right on time it has become active….. whoop!

It was all bubbly over the surface, so following the instructions here http://www.shipton-mill.com/the-bakery/recipes/article-327/sourdough-starter-or-leaven I refreshed it and stirred it and needed a bigger jar. I’ve used an old passata jar but think I’ll buy it a new permanent home tomorrow as the passata jar has a really thin opening and is a bit of a faff to get it in there….. my top tip would be to do the daily mixing in a jug so you can pour it easily into the jar….. I can see this being a bit of a pain to do before work in a morning, so anything to make it easier and less messy. Now I have to refresh it every morning for nine days until it’s ready to use.

So in the meantime I decided to make a Wholemeal Loaf using the yeast method. I used this recipe http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/bread/quick-and-easy-wholemeal-loaf.html

Good old Delia!  This is very similar to the recipe I used to use so I’m hoping it will be ok. I used to add lots of seeds and things, but I don’t have any in so it’s a plain old loaf today.

Everybody seems very keen on organic flour…..  apparently the pesticides used affect the structure of the wheat or something, which in turn affects how well the loaf turns out…. however I only have supermarket’s own strong wholemeal at the moment, so I’ll see how it goes.

I also need to get myself one of those bakers scraper things I think…. unless I want the work surface to develop into a mound of old dough…. very messy business!

My mum used to make all our bread when I was a kid, in fact we used to think that ‘plastic’ shop-brought bread was a real treat because it was so soft and didn’t have mum’s thick crunchy crust…. poor mum. she must have been gutted!

She used to bake batches of eight and sixteen loaves at a time (including a little loaf in a teeny tiny tin for me when I was little :) )…. she had arms like a brickie and was quite a formidable woman (in fact she once butchered half a pig, from nose to tail, on the kitchen table and made things out of every bit of it…. including, as she was a biologist, dissecting the eye to show me how eyes worked…. ah happy days!)

Anyway…. the good thing about this loaf is that there’s no need to knead, so brickies arms are optional!

Here’s the loaf after being left to rise and before being baked….

Whilst that’s in the oven I’ll show you how the crochet mice are getting on….. and it’s pretty slow going to be honest. There seems to be something about making toys that have been commissioned to do that makes me terrified of making any mistakes, so I work really slowly and carefully and to be honest they don’t work out much better then when I just knock them out for fun. So hopefully I’ll get used to it and have more confidence in myself as I go on.

So here’s the girl mouse waiting for legs and a nightdress, that I hope to get done this afternoon…

I wrote down a pattern (of sorts, I don’t think it would make much sense to any else!) as I went along so that her twin brother will be identical (hopefully!) And I did a few sketches of the pyjamas for the boy mouse yesterday…. I’m not sure how they’ll turn out, they’re much more complicated than the nightdresses that I’ve made before, but as Grandma used to say “You can only do you’re best!”

Also I’ve been making this tiny, baby bunting….

I’m making this one to use instead of ribbon in birthday present wrapping, but I’ve also used similar to make a birthday card or it can be stuck to two wooden skewers or cocktail sticks for decorating cakes and cupcakes…. cute!

  Here I used garden twine (I think it’ll look good on a present wrapped in brown paper) and some cotton washi tape (that I bought from this gorgeous shop http://www.rikyandnina.com/ They sell all sorts of loveliness, I especially like their stickers and crafty things)  You could use regular washi tape or ribbon with a glue stick just as well. I’ll show you the finished present when it’s done.

And finally…. here…. ta da!!! The finished loaf…..

It is very moist…. but still warm so it might get better as it cools and it really does taste like proper bread…. yums and the house smells gorgeous too. I think next time I’ll leave it longer to rise and see what happens, but I’m really excited about the sourdough now! Nine whole days……

I was going to make some wholemeal scones today but I’m totally not going to bother….. I’m that happy with my lovely bread :) and it might be an idea to get dressed at some point today too…. love a Sunday!

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