Monday, May 18, 2009

Getting Cool

Rained all weekend pretty much here in the Northern Atlanta burbs so not much outside work done. Garden needed it though and everybody looks pretty happy today in the bright sun with their feet wet. Did turn very cool this morning and was 51 F at dawn which is very odd for this time of year. The little cool spell will slow down the tomatoes and peppers a bit.

Still waiting on my replacement corn seed from Seed Savers so I can replace all that the birds pulled up. Maybe today and all of my poultry wire row covers are in waiting. We'll seee if the birds can get my defenses again.

Got the good news on Friday when the heating and cooling folks came out for the spring check that the evaporator coil had a leak. Not good. The unit is about 10 years old so it still uses R22 as a refrigerant which is no longer allowed as it is a CFC. New refigerant means new compressor and condensing coils in addition to the evaporator. The boys are down installing a new system as we speak that uses the new R410 which is environmentally friendly. It is also a high efficiency system so it should save a little money on the A/C bill over the summer though I doubt it will save me the $5K it is costing. Ouch! the joys of home ownership.

Trying a new/old/traditional method for making a proper French baguette. A very difficult process since you are supposed to work the very wet dough without additional flour. Not something I am used to but I think I am getting the hang of it. The first step took me week since I didn't like the looks of my old sourdough starter and had to build a new one. Fortunately, spring is the best time to capture and nurture a wild yeast culture and I now have one bubbling away. Today was the official start of the baguette process of making the dough with starter and yeast doing the wet and very sticky short kneading and the three traditional foldings. The dough is now resting in the fridge for 18 hours and we will be able to bake tomorrow afternoon. I've made baguettes before in various different ways usually starting with my regular chef starter(reserved piece of dough from the previous bake). This is how I make my weekly bread and it produces a nice full flavored dough(it's a 2 day process as well). The traditional French method for the baguette is to start with sourdough chef plus fresh yeast and build a very wet dough(where you let the very wet dough take the place of so much kneading) and just fold it a couple of times to develop the gluten and then have a very slow rise to develop the flavor. We shall report on the success. I will be very pleased if I can get someting close to a proper French loaf. You can't find them in the bakeries around here for some reason. I also started the chef for my regular bread bake so one way or the other we'll have bread and possibly even too much.

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