Lily’s Blog, Dragon Absconded!
Baking Until I Drop

Quotation of the moment:

Thursday 31st, July 2008

Anadama Bread: failed?

Anadama Bread 13
Anadama Bread, originally uploaded by Lilandra.

/”>A preview, originally uploaded by Lilandra.

I tried making Anadama Bread. It looked interesting. It also looked like it could do double duty as a sandwich bread…

Anadama Bread 1 - Make a cornmeal and water soaker I started off making the soaker of cornmeal and water. Mix it and leave it overnight. It smelled really sour the next day…a bit like yoghurt. I was excited.
Anadama Bread 4 - Leave it to proof Add the flour, yeast, water and whatever I’ve forgotten to the soaker and mix. This is a sponge. Leave it to proof.
Anadama Bread 6 - Add more flour, butter, molasses Add flour, butter and molasses to the sponge and stir.
Anadama Bread 8 - Knead Now knead on the counter and put in an oiled bowl and leave it to rise for…until it’s doubled.
Anadama Bread 11 - place into pans When it’s doubled, separate it into two and shape each piece into a rectangle. Roll up each piece and place in oiled loaf pans.

Then, I was supposed to leave it to proof for…an hour? two? I can’t recall. I was very tired and it was almost 11 pm so the instructions said instead of leaving them to rise, I could put them in the fridge and take them out 4 hours before I bake it. So, I did this.

Anadama Bread 12 - Before baking Unfortunately when I took it out of the fridge the next day, it had all flattened out. I don’t know if that mattered. Regardless, I was supposed to leave it to rise until it had crested over the top.

It never did.


I put it to bake anyway.

Anadama Bread 13 And it never rose in the oven either.

But it reached the right temperature. One of the loaves broke coming out of the pan.


I was so sad.
I guess I can’t get them right all the time.
I wish I knew what I did wrong.

Mom thinks I should have put more yeast or baking powder in the soaker.
She’s probably right.
I need to know my dough…which I don’t know yet.

Also, I think I have a problem with amounts…horrible scale…and I don’t know how my cup measurements are.

Oh well.

I’ll get it eventually.

Now, regardless of how the bread looked it did taste nice. A bit sour. Contrasted nicely with cream cheese. Of course, I don’t know how Anadama bread should taste…

You can see the whole Flickr set here.

Monday 28th, July 2008

A preview!

A preview, originally uploaded by Lilandra.


Chocolate Heart of Darkness cakes!

This is the third time I made Marcel Desaulnier’s Chocolate Heart of Darkness cakes.

This is the only time I photographed it.

I think I made it much darker than I ever made it before.


Soon there shall be a whole long set on the whole making process but I decided to celebrate with a preview.


Sunday 27th, July 2008

It’s been 18 years!

Can you believe it?
Coup-babies and those born after are soon reaching “adulthood” if they’re not there already (I’m not sure what the official age to be an adult in T&T is…is that a reflection on my status in my household? who knows!)

But seriously, it’s been 18 years since the coup. That baby I know who was born that afternoon and will only know stories of it…is 18.

It’s very…strange to think that so much time has passed (and it is a little time because I consider us a young nation).

I feel old.

Saturday 26th, July 2008

Next up, Ciabatta

Peter Reinhart's Poolish Ciabatta

Peter Reinhart’s Poolish Ciabatta, originally uploaded by Lilandra.

I mentioned that I was going to try making Ciabatta from Peter Reinhart‘s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and that I had a poolish in the fridge. Well, it is done. I think I did it over many days. Who can tell! Who can remember. Okay…if you look at the exif data on my pictures, you can.

I’m not sure why I felt the urge to work with such a wet dough.

I couldn’t even take all the pictures myself (sister the elder and sister-in-law).

And I needed help to do Reinhart’s letter-style folding (sister the elder).

Ciabatta 14 - Baked and sliced by Lilandra, on Flickr

Peter Reinhart’s Poolish Ciabatta, Sliced, originally uploaded by Lilandra.

Making this bread was soothing but I don’t think it came out quite right. The holes aren’t big enough, I don’t think. I read somewhere possibly on that his method seems to let out a lot of gas in the end (especially for the inexperienced namely me) and that Rose Levy Beranbaum‘s recipe from The Bread Bible is much better…so although this was tiring and not necessarily all-rewarding and I was forcibly of the opinion that I would never make this bread again (except maybe for Chennette to taste it) as I wasn’t oh so impressed with it…I’ve sorta changed my mind (others loved it)…I will try hers!

Okay…this might sound kind of negative so I have to qualify, regardless of what I wrote above I myself don’t have much experience with eating ciabatta and I still liked the bread. I just didn’t see what all the work was about and that it was worth it. We all loved it. We happily ate it. And if there was more than a 1/4 loaf left waiting for Chennette to try when she comes here, we’d’ve sliced it up and made bruschetta…:-)

1 - Poolish A couple days before sister the elder, the first niece and the first nephew came to visit, I ran downstairs with sudden fire and made a poolish. I stirred flour, water, and yeast until the flour was hydrated. The dough needed to be thick like pancake batter. Then you cover it with plastic wrap and leave it until it becomes foamy and bubbly (about 2 to 3 hours). Now refrigerate overnight (at least…I think for the most two days).

When ready to make the rest of the dough, take out the poolish about an hour before so that it loses its chill.

2 - Add poolish to dry Stir together flour, salt and yeast and then add the poolish and water. I had a tiny little helper (the one that can talk). We scraped that poolish out of the basin and mixed it in the bowl until it became kinda like a ball.
3 - Put dough on thickly floured counter Then turn the dough out onto a thickly floured surface and knead. You have to resist the temptation to add more flour because it is a wet dough. I’m not sure if mine was right. It’s hard to tell because I think my scale sucks.
5 - Flour dough and sort of shape into a rectangle for letter folding Shape the kneaded dough into a rectangle. Then fold it letter-style (into three equal pieces). I needed help for this. Sister the elder was ready for the task (which is one of the reasons I don’t have pictures of the folding as she was also my co-photographer – extremely wet dough!).

After it’s rested for about half-hour, fold it again and let it rest for about 2 hours.

7 - It rose After a couple hours (or was that an hour and a half?) it should be nicely swollen. It’s time to shape them. Sister the elder was upstairs with her children.
8 - Flour your "couche" Because of this dough being so wet and moist, Reinhart says use a “couche” (a floured and oil sprayed linen/white tablecloth/etc sheet) to hold the shape of the loaves.
9 - Place shaped loaves in couche I struggled and did some kinda shenanigan to shape the loaf and placed it on the couche. Then you bunch up the cloth between the loaves to form walls to hold the dough and help it rise upwards instead of outwards.
10 - Now that they've risen... I left them for about an hour to swell.
11 - Dust cornmeal on a baking sheet After which, I dusted a cookie sheet with cornmeal (and started preparing the oven for hearth baking (tray in preheating oven, filled with boiling water when loaves are put in the oven and also spritz the oven with water a few times every half minute).
12 - Place loaves on baking sheet Then move the loaves to the baking sheet. Gently. He also said something about stretching them. I didn’t to this purposely…I knew it would happen on its own on being transferred to the sheet.
13 - Baked Take out the nice and golden loaves! I used my thermometer again to check if it was about 205 F.

The complete photo set is here.

Monday 14th, July 2008

Niece and Nephew…

Niece no 1 and Nephew coming today.
Shall arrive some time before noon.

Can’t wait.
We’ve got to take them topping!

Saturday 12th, July 2008

My Microphones work in Linux

You thought I forgot about Linux, didn’t you?

Well, a while ago I trashed my linux install (I may have posted about it, I don’t recall) and had Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora Core installed on my desktop, but only the last one, Debian was bootable (and even that took some finagling). So, I still had major sorting out to do with all the partitions and files and unifying them and getting rid of the bad /boot and such. A month or so before my brother, sister-in-law and niece came, I backed up the files, wiped it all and installed a fresh Debian Lenny. I got wireless working and everything was pefect. I didn’t bother deal with audio because…well, something had happned to the speakers in the interim so it wasn’t necessary.

A couple weeks ago my sister returned my powerbook (hopefully for good). It’s been acting very slow. Things take long to load and programs to switch. I had plans of installing linux and linux alone for a while now so, I backed up all my files (you try backing up files on an 80GB harddrive from another 80GB harddrive…*sigh*). And then…installed Debian Lenny and got the wireless working and yay.

Well of course the audio wasn’t working out of the box. I think I had to install alsa-base or alsa-tools or alsa-utils or something.

But even then the mike wasn’t working.
I wasn’t surprised.
I don’t think I ever got the mike working.
But I figured I would try. Some people seemed to have reported their mike working. Things have changed. Even though I can’t skype from LinuxPPC, I could at least dedicate some time getting the mike working so I could record dear niece when she feels like it.

So, I did some googling and found this from a iBook G4 user on Ubuntu. He or she said that nothing recognized his built-in microphone until he installed gnome-sound-recorder (aptitude install gnome-media) and then he launched that and selected Mic as the source and it recorded audio.

Furthermore, all the other programs he was trying to use to record sound also now recognized his mic.


So, I figured it was worth a try.
I did it and wooohooo! My microphone works. Maybe I’ll upload the first audio recording from this powerbook on Linux.

I have no idea why it works and why it didn’t before.
I didn’t really do *anything*.
And his post to ubuntu was since November 2006…a year and a half ago! Oh my!

I’m thrilled.

Now, back to the linux box that I built that resides downstairs that is used by my brother and his family. Of course he wants to listen to Qur’an and lectures and such on it. He woke me up one morning looking for headphones and of course took the better of the two in my storage. Of course!

Later that day when I came downstairs it wasn’t working.
I again installed alsa-*.
And it still wasn’t working.
He had it in the wrong connector.
But…to be honest, he’d tried them all. I just hadn’t checked that he had it in the wrong one when I started fiddling.

So…sound output works.

Now, I’d succeeded with the powerbook input the night before so I installed gnome-media and other things one time. Of course, if I didn’t have speakers and headphones downstairs, do you think I had a microphone? NO!

So about a week later (ie today), I unearthed a microphone and went downstairs and plugged it in and launched gnome-sound-recorder and… RECORDED SOMETHING! and heard it playback. Maybe I’ll upload that clip too later.


And the skype test call worked too. There was nobody online that I knew with whom I could skype.

Can you believe the mics work? What’s been going on in Linux while I slept?

Of course, I may have to mess with settings and such because the feedback on the powerbook is kinda horrible. I think the downstairs computer is better but it could be because it’s using headphones and not speakers.

Regardless I am happy.
This I can manage.


Peter Reinhart’s Bagels! Wooohooo!!

A Peter Reinhart Poppy Seed Bagel with Cream Cheese, originally uploaded by Lilandra.

I have been successful in my desired task.

After making the Bagel Recipe from Betty Crocker’s Breads, I wanted a better method and decided on using the recipe from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

The results were excellent.

They were quite chewy and did not look shrivelled.

My niece enjoyed sucking on hers and even managed to get pieces in her mouth and was most upset when her mother took the bagel from her (she kept snatching it back) and when her mouth was emptied of huge chunks of bagels (to be fair, she acts the same when they take the paper out of her mouth).

Mom loved it.

Dad said when he had bagels, they were okay. The frozen ones were … plasticky? He (and we all!) don’t know what “real” bagels taste like but whatever these are they are great and we love them.

Instructions follow.

Continue reading Peter Reinhart’s Bagels! Wooohooo!!