Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The mattress, the trifid, the kitchen pow wow

Oh mattress, mattress, wherefore art though? Not here, that's for sure. Should have been. Is not. Which is a bit disappointing after the long wait for it to arrive, and the phone call yesterday to say that it would definitely be here today, making our hopes last no more sleeping on the settees, no more crooked backs, no more bits of us falling off the sofas as we try to turn over, whoopppeee and all that!!!!!!!! 

So it is now nine in the evening. Tonight we shall have to sleep on be the settees again. They are leather. Covering the seats and the back rests (because naked skin sticks to the leather horribly strongly) are patchwork covered duvets, which go up and over the back. It is hot. The duvets seem to generate even more hotness. It is not pleasant. Still, not to worry. If that mattress does not turn up tomorrow I shall complain. Trouble is, that this is the first time that I have ordered anything online from Amazon Fr. It would be no surprise to you to that Amazon Fr is in French because it is based in France. It might be, then, that I wait a few days more to see if the mattress gets here before I complain. 


And so have a look at this trifid of a bread dough.....

...sorry that the photo is quite dark, but the light in the temporary kitchen is all done by light bulbs because there are only two tiny windows in the whole space, which is good because it makes for an ideal food storage area because there is hardly any natural light, but is not so good for being used as a kitchen and photo shoot area.

Anyway, this is another energetic bread dough, eager to get a move on out into the world. My bread doughs never used to do this. They used to fill the bowl and then stop after colliding with the enamel lid I use to keep the dust off the dough. But a few months ago I changed my method of making the dough, which was to put about a litre of warm water into the bowl, add two satchets of dried yeast, and two or three spoonfuls of sugar, then whisk the mixture, go and have a shower (I start the dough first thing in the morning otherwise it tends not to get made at all), return to the mixture and add a couple of spoonfuls of salt, and a dob of DIY butter, then enough flour to make a sticky lump. Then onto well floured top of freezer, and gradually keep working the dough until it is not too sticky and looks more like it should. Then leave until dough is risen. 

However, always this dough is awake. As soon as the flour is added it starts on the move, and I can feel it blossoming beneath my hands as I work on it, making it quite something to be involved with. My previous doughs never did this, but every bread I have made by the method I have just spoken about, always they have this energy for life, the outcome being loaves which are light in texture, never puddingy, nor yeasty tasting, and crumptious in taste.

I don't measure how much flour goes into the dough. I do not fuss about with the dough. But I think that the yeast loves getting into the water with the sugar, and starts romping along in partnership quite happily while I take my shower, leaving it time to prepare itself for the addition of the flour. Anyway, just passing on my experience of being able to make bread which is consistent, unlike my previous loaves every one of which was different, and not always a pleasure to eat. 

.....a few seconds after the previous photo:

Fortunately I had only just cleaned the surrounding surfaces of dust, otherwise the escaped dough would have had to go to the chickens.
I am sure they would have loved it!


The Kitchen Project grumbles on. After a family pow wow yesterday morning, we decided that the Rayburn cooker has to go on the wall we were going to put it on before we built the plinth for it to stand on in the diagonally opposite corner, which was where it was originally going to go before we decided that we would make a swanky mock fireplace type environment which is the normal 'look' which is given to a Rayburn wood burning stove. Are you still with me? Well done, if you are! 

Anyway, we have come to our senses, and see no reason to put anything 'mock' in the kitchen, and because we now also have a SMEG cooker for spring and summer, we have decided not to put the two cookers together, which is what we were going to do, but to separate them because they will be used at different times of the year. So the concrete plinth has to come up, and I have had to rethink how I am going to use the space.

The Kitchen Project seems to be going on and on and on. But not to worry, I shall have a 'proper' kitchen eventually, and one which will look like a simple farm kitchen, and be all the better for it. 

So hey ho. Off to bed. The hens are now managing to get into the tree, which is good. We have not yet managed to get into our proper bed because the mattress has still not arrived. Ooops! Sorry! Forgot I had already mentioned our temporary sleeping arrangements!! 

Hope you are getting a good sleep. Hope bits of you do not fall out of whatever it is you are sleeping on. Hope tomorrow is a good day for us all. 



rusty duck said...

Oh Vera, mattress or no, it sounds as if things are moving on in the kitchen and that is exciting.

Horst in Edmonton said...

You may also not know that you may have natural yeast in the air in your part of the world. This is how the Romans made bread, by mixing the ingredients together and leaving it foe a while so that the natural yeast in the air can get to it and start working. Try an experiment, mix some flour, sugar and salt, together and leave it sit for a while to see if the natural yeast will start to work.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

that dough is amazing... what do you think was the big change? i hope your mattress shows up soon. i order a lot of things from amazon and have never had a problem. i'm sure it is on the way.

Vera said...

Jessica, it is an exciting time, but I have to keep reminding myself that it is because we are also getting very tired with it all!

Horst, bless you, and thsnks for the advice about yeast. I am going to have a go at this method of making yeast soon, because it will save me having to buy dried yeast from the supermarket. And that will be an interesting project!

OhioFarmGirl, I think the change was putting the yeast and sugar into the warm water first, leaving it for a little while, and then adding the flour. The dough is always a sticky dough, but, as I say, it always turns out into a good bread.
As for Amazon, I would agree with you. I don't go shopping as I think it a waste of time, so I usually buy anything I need from Amazon UK, but the mattress was purchased from Amazon France. But I am not worried about the mattress because I know that Amazon will keep an eye on the sellers of the mattress, so in the worst case scenario I can get my money back.

Rhodesia said...

Hope the mattress has arrived by now, nothing worse than losing sleep on am uncomfy perch!

Ha ha that bread dough looks like it really on the escape. Take care Diane

Niall & Antoinette said...

That is some amazing dough :-) Definitely has a life of its own!

We recently ordered a mattress via Amazon but UK as we have a UK sized bed so doesn't match French widths. Amazon delivered with their usual dispatch and we'll be sleeping on the new one tonight. Hope yours arrives soon.

Vera said...

Diane, no, still no mattress, and that would-be escapee bread tasted gorgeous!

Nial and Antoinett, I didn't try ordering from Amazon UK because I didn't think such an unwieldy object could be delivered from the UK, that is why I ordered via Amazon France! Been waiting for three weeks. Still waiting!

Horst in Edmonton said...

This is also how sour dough bread is made, you let it sit around for days to start working and take half as a starter, and keep it going. look for sour dough recipe on line and try it and see how you like it. I love sour dough Rye bread. France and Germany make some of the best breads in the world, I'm sure that you could get some great recipes.

Horst in Edmonton said...

Hi Vera, Here is a site that gives you instructions on how to make your own starter to make sour dough and how to keep it going and how to use it. Hope you enjoy and make some great bread. You won't need any sugar for the starter. Let me know how you like the sour dough breads.

Horst in Edmonton said...

If the site does not work I copied the recipe and can send it to you via email. If you want my email just go to my last blog and my email address will be there.

northsider dave said...

Hope you get your mattress soon Vera and your Rayburn installed in your kitchen.