Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Month: March 2020

The Coronavirus Lockdown Blues

Forget all the things we were going to do, all there is now is what little we can do in the time and space we have.

The original plan, of course, was to get back to working on something to do with Blender 3D and the ducks. Then my computer started misbehaving, so I can’t trust it to do renders. Another plan was to get out and do more hiking. Then the stay-at-home order arrived (shortly after my employers issued a work-from-home order). And so on, and so on. At this point we’re simply glad that we stocked up on toilet paper before the hoarders took over the grocery stores.

I barely leave my room anymore. It’s where I work, has been for a couple of weeks now, and where I play, since listening to music and playing games and whatnot (such as my ailing machine permits) involves the computer that’s at a desk in my room. This is really adding insult to injury since I was stuck in my room back in February when I came down with a cold, then I was mostly stuck in my room during my birthday stay-cation.

Am I getting tired of these five walls? Oh yes, yes I am.

But the alternative is being reckless and getting myself sick, or worse, getting someone else sick. So here I remain, with a lovely view out my window of the apartment building across the parking lot.

I hope you’re all doing well, friends.

Two Loaves For The Price Of Two

Instead of focusing on three dimensional digital fakery, I decided on my recent vacation to spend some time focusing on three dimensional edible foodstuffs. That’s right, it was time to try my hand again at making fresh homemade bread. I used a different recipe (sorry, “formula”) from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, my guiding tome. Lesson learned from the first go-around: Don’t be so knead-y.

Here’s how that panned out.

Pictured: Measured ingredients for making a couple loaves of bread

Ingredients: Assemble!

I started at six thirty in the morning on the last day of my vacation, the day after the DST change no less, because I had a movie I wanted to see shortly after noon. A madman I may be, but I’ve always worked best to a deadline.

Last time, my inaugural breadmaking foray, I over-kneaded the dough and it was a bit dry besides, so the final product came out a bit on the dense side. I did not make that mistake again, though I overbalanced a bit and ended up with too sticky of dough for a while. Luckily when I added some flour to fix the consistency I didn’t go overboard.

Pictured: A bowl containing a blob of dough.

Arise, my doughy mass, arise!

One nice thing about this hobby is that a large percentage of the time spent making bread involves waiting for proofing (rising) stages to complete. This meant that I could read, goof off a bit, and take care of other chores.

Pictured, blurrily: Two loaves' worth of dough in their baking pans

One of the minor miracles of this project? I managed to get a nearly even split of the dough into two loaves.

That (somewhat blurry) photo above shows another of the problems with this attempt: The instructions call for spraying oil lightly atop the loaves, but all I had available was a silicone brush so there’s a fair bit more oil on those things than actually intended. Whoops.

Pictured: Two damned fine loaves of bread if I do say so myself, which I do.

Two plain loaves of boring white bread, but they’re MY plain loaves of boring white bread. I did that!

I can’t complain about the results, though. Not one bit.

Lessons learned from this go-around: Get an oil misting bottle instead of using a brush, and have a small amount of flour and water on hand during kneading in case things get too sticky or too dry, respectively. Other than that? All’s well that ends deliciously.

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