Saturday, 23 June 2018

More Sourdough Bread, and a Very Determined Kitty

Last night I baked my second lot of sourdough bread, having started the levain yesterday. It does take much longer to rise than normal bread but it’s well worth the wait, and the work in between the long proving periods is minimal.

It was ready in time for supper again, and this time, I rationed it because I said to my hubby that it’s no good us getting through a whole loaf in one sitting! I know that sourdough bread is extremely good for you and much less likely to put on the weight that normal bread does, but even so…

I made a double quantity this time. The second loaf will go in the freezer.

I love the texture with the holes, and the amazing crust you get on it. It’s quite hard work on the jaws to eat – really substantial, unlike the cotton wool and polystyrene bread you buy in the supermarket! And as for the flavour… This is bread that really packs a punch. I saw a programme on TV recently about carbohydrates and how Western society is suffering all sorts of health problems (in particular a positive epidemic of Type II Diabetes) because the wrong sort of carbs are too readily available. Sourdough provides resistant carbs that “feed your gut bacteria, not you” – in other words, it passes through to the colon without being absorbed and converted into sugar, and then (if you don’t burn it off), stored as fat. A healthy gut microbiome is the secret to good overall health. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about this recently and it’s a quite fascinating study. (I just wish there was more information on people without a colon but this is a very new area of research.)

Since coming out of hospital I’ve been drinking home-made kefir daily, and now eating sourdough bread, in addition to my normal daily intake of home-made live natural yoghurt. I have now got the correct spice to start making kimchee (a type of spiced sauerkraut from Korea) which, like all fermented foods, is extremely good for you as it encourages a healthy gut microbiome.

Since I am now going to be making sourdough bread regularly, I decided to order some bannetons from Ebay – two medium round ones and two medium ovals. These are the traditional rattan baskets used to prove the sourdough, and which leave the distinctive ridges on the sides of the bread. When I went on the bread baking day a few months ago, I saw these for the first time and witnessed the other person on the course using them as she was doing sourdough. The ones I have ordered come with nice fabric liners that can be removed and washed – you are not supposed to wash the bannetons themselves, and a build-up of flour could result in an infestation of flour weevils.

I have seen some photos online of beautiful designs on sourdough loaves – it is traditional to slash the top with a very sharp blade, which makes the dough inside the crust burst out and get lovely and crispy on top. Some people make small slashes in decorative designs and the bread comes out looking so lovely! As the bread rises in the oven and expands, the slashes spread apart and the darker interior is shown in contrast with the floured surface of the crust. This is something I definitely want to try. Have a look at this!

A very determined kitty…

Our two kitties are so loving being in the garden. They come in in time for supper and we have to keep them in after that as we don’t want them out all night. Contrary to what I thought, my hubby said today that he thinks he saw a fox in the garden once – I was surprised since we are in the town, but foxes do get very bold these days, and I wouldn’t want to risk our kitties with a fox.

Our cat flap is lockable, with two separate cams that can be engaged separately or together, to prevent passage in, or out, or both. My hubby has been locking it, but twice Lily has been found outside again afterwards, which made me wonder if my hubby hadn’t been doing it properly. I have pushed against the locked flap and it is pretty secure. Last night, I watched to see what would happen, and she pushed and pushed really hard against the flap, so that it bent outwards on the side away from the lock, and if I hadn’t prevented her, she would either have bent it far enough to squeeze through (which is what we think has been happening), or she would have broken it! All that nonsense about cats not going through openings that their whiskers won’t fit through is a myth! My hubby brought down a heavy little wooden stool (which we’ve used in the past to block the cat flap in our old house) but even this wasn’t going to stop her – I watched her attacking it from various angles and using quite considerable strength in one so small, and she eventually succeeded in moving it out about an inch, and left to her own devices for any longer, and she’d have succeeded in getting out again! I can’t believe how strong, and how determined she is, and also, how intelligent – you could see her working it out. In the end, we agreed that the only answer was to get them in for supper, and then shut them right through in the house and not allow them into the kitchen until the morning. My hubby said he’d think about how to make the cat flap really secure when we need it to be. Unfortunately we can’t drill into the door because it’s glass.

What a performance. What a naughty girl!

Ruby loves to be outside too, but she isn’t so independently minded as Lily, and not so intelligent. Once back indoors, she’s happy with that.

Yesterday my hubby said he was worried about the kitties because they are so keen on the garden that they are no longer interested in cuddles and coming to him as they used to, and he thought they were turning feral!! I went out later, and as I went up the garden path, one after the other, they both came running to me to say hello and have a stroke, and in the evening I had a big cuddle with Ruby, so I said to him that of course they weren’t turning feral lol! I am sure that eventually the novelty of the garden will wear off, especially when winter comes, and they will want to be snuggled up somewhere nice and warm!

1 comment:

  1. LOL, they're having it too cushy to turn feral - and like you said, come winter, they'll be back in the house most of the time. Oreo is out at the moment (it's 10 pm) and I'm just hoping he will be back in soon. He often comes up to me in the garden to say hello too - and then he goes off doing his own thing. Lily is very determined indeed - once they get used to something, they don't take no for an answer. It's funny how they each have their own personality. I wouldn't describe Oreo as intelligent - he's actually quite stupid LOL - he would meow in front of the door when the other one (the same he went out through) is open. You would think he might check it before making a fuss. Unless, of course, he's playing me, in which case, I'm the one who's stupid. He did work out how to open doors, which is when we decided to let him roam the house at night - he made too much of a racket jumping on door handles and always succeeded opening them in the end so it was better to just leave them open. He's usually pretty good letting us sleep now.
    The bread looks great and it was good to learn that it's actually good for you. Finally something that I like, which is also healthy!
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Shoshi! xx


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