Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Sundries

It's a gorgeous late winter day. The sun is shining and the sky is a dazzling shade of Minnesota Blue. That's a sky color that we came up with when we first started coming up here some forty years ago. You just don't see that color anywhere else. Minnesota Blue.

We just got back from a memorial service for the nineteen year old son of a friend of ours. He took his own life earlier this week. The service took place in the biggest church in our town. To augment seating, as many folding chairs as could be were brought in, and the rest of the people stood wherever they could. The pastor gave a moving sermon explaining why no one should feel guilty. Not his parents, not his siblings, not his friends, not his teachers, not any of us who came to pay our respects. In situations such as this, one couldn't go on if one did carry guilt. And yet I suspect there wasn't one person in that church this afternoon that didn't have an inner voice whispering, "I wonder if it might have made a difference if I . . . "

But life, as they say, goes on.

Just got an e-mail from our daughter and son-in-law inviting us to come play on a really big wood pile with them some day this coming week. They've found themselves on the short end of the (firewood) stick this year and had to order eight cords of birch logs in eight foot lengths to get them through this heating season and a jump-start on next year's wood supply. It was delivered into their yard yesterday and now needs to be cut up and stacked in the wood shed. Even though we're retired folks these days and can hardly find enough to keep us occupied (ahem!), the only days we have open this coming week are Monday and Friday. Friday our daughter does her nannying thing with that darling little baby girl so . . . guess who is sharpening his chain saws as we speak? My cold is sufficiently insignificant that I'm looking forward to partaking in a little much needed physical exercise (as long as I keep my tissue box close at hand) and we're both looking forward to a fun day tomorrow. I'll take my camera and record the wood chips flying.

Well, I think I have some bad yeast. (All together now, "Awwww . . . ") Yesterday I made a loaf of Poppy Seed Bread and although I should be ashamed to show pictures of it, I'm doing it in the name of bringing a little humor into your lives.

First off, I was pretty sure I had killed the yeast by sprinkling it in water that was too hot. I should have stopped right there but being stubborn, plowed on and finished the whole process and you can see where that got me. (You will also note, we're eating the bread regardless of how it looks. Desperation, I guess.)

I evidently mistakenly used Elmer's Glue to grease the pan. Trying to separate loaf and baking pan turned into a brawl that wasn't pretty.

And what the heck caused the top of the loaf to try to disengage itself from the bottom of the loaf? Obviously, something wonky to do with the yeast. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

So today, I pulled out my trusty rye bread recipe that always rises and makes beautiful loaves. Mixed up yeast and water and got lovely, bubbly, foamy, fuzzy action. But could I get the dough to rise to double its size in the bowl? No. Actually, the lump may have gotten smaller while sitting there for two hours.

But into the bread pans and another two hours rising. This time it did rise. Maybe about 1/2". Into the oven anyway (why stop now?) and I will admit, I ended up with two almost passable loaves of rye bread.

As you can see by the ruler included in the picture for documentation, the loaf is not even 3" high. But the texture is good, the flavor is nice, and after a quick sample (three slices), my husband just announced that's what he's eating for dinner tonight . . . fresh rye bread, butter and homemade strawberry jam. And if you're a teeny-tiny person with a teeny-tiny appetite for a teeny-tiny sandwich, have I got a loaf of bread for you!

Note on list for whole foods co-op groceries: baking yeast.


RuthieJ said...

You know, those tiny loaves of rye bread in the deli section of our grocery store are pretty expensive! I'm sure all those loaves taste delicious!

Mama Pea said...

Yes! My little rye loaves did make me think of that 'cocktail rye' stuff. I put both loaves in the freezer because we had the loaf of Poppy Seed bread to eat up, and since Roy's the only bread eater in the house right now, I didn't want the rye to go stale.

Going to buy some 'new' yeast today!