Last year, well maybe even a year and a half ago, I got on bread making kick. In my making, I was determined to venture away from the bread machine and using any form of store bought yeast. Excuse me you say? How does one make bread without fast rising or traditional yeast?  Well, I ventured into the world of sourdough bread. Yes indeed the bread that made San Francisco famous with all it's yummy goodness.  

sourdough crust

My first and foremost reason for wanting to make sourdough was that (I suspect) my oldest and I have some form of gluten intolerance, though we have yet to be tested my logic tells me that decreasing gluten in our diet can only help. Secondly, in all my bread reading sourdough has excellent health benefits which you can read about here, herehere, and pretty much anywhere else on the internet, just google "sourdough health benefits". Armed with reasons & readings, my foray into sourdough was as naive as would be expected considering I had zero experience with wild fermented yeast. That deserves a whole post of it's own but googling "sourdough troubles" will also do the trick. 

sourdough slice

I started making my sourdough starter with this recipe, which is from Peter Reinhart. In my experience, whole wheat starter never worked that great for me. Instead I have found more success with a starter that combines unbleached white and rye. I won't get into too much of the fundamentals because really there is so much information out there about sourdough and depending on where you live sourdough is just as much about trial as it is error. For example, my sister and I both live in the same city & make sourdough yet our proofing times are different from each other. Strange but true. Speaking of sisters, let me give a shout out to my big sis' here because she "got" sourdough way faster than I did and was making beautiful loaves early on. She would even gift me a loaf here and there when my sourdough failures were starting to get to me.

sourdough loaves

And yes, there were failures, I felt a bit like Thomas Edison when he was working at the light bulb. I would estimate discovering 40-50 different ways not to make sourdough bread. But hey, I'm patient, I have the time, how hard can this be right? Meanwhile my mum could be found sitting on my shoulder like a little cartoon character (we won't mention which one) saying "I would just give up on that thing if I were you..."  Ha! Nothing like a little mum speak to stir up the stubborness, and so I pressed on. 

the loaf

Fast forward to today: the Sourdough and I have been making our peace and I am no longer making bricks. I am finding the balance between starter, bulk fermenting, and proofing times and all that sourdough lingo. Even my last loaf obeyed the laws of bread form when it spilled out onto the stone in perfect loaf shape and baked to perfection. My kids can attest to my excitement level when they heard me screaming like a crazy woman over my proofed loaf . "I have conquered...muhahaha..." (hint: remember Tom Hanks in Cast Away after he made fire). Umm yeah, right now you might be thinking too many hours "baked" in the kitchen. Indeed! Well, whatever it takes I say. 

soudough in the present

Fyi: the last 3 photos are of recent sourdough loaves and a pretty consistent representation of my results. I no longer use a loaf pan for baking, only for proofing & shaping. The round loaves you see are proofed in circular bowls. The loaves are tranferred to baking stone and the end result is the lightest texture. Very yummy!  This is my favourite recipe for sourdough, I subsitute rye flour for some of the white but keep my measurements the same. Her website is a fantastic resource for all things sourdough. 



retro multicolored floral: purples, blues, greens & pink

It's a simple update today, I've listed more items in my etsy store and have many more beautiful vintage and retro prints that I will continue to list during the month of August. I'd like to have my shop filled to the brim with oldies but goodies and then maybe soon I'll schedule some time to play with some of them. All work and no play is just not right.

retro floral & stripes: blues, purples, greens, pinks, pastels



I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately. Some of it has been very good, some of it hard to swallow. Among a pile of observations comes the one that gives me the most grief, it is that as of late I am indeed my own achilles heel. I have this awful tendency to talk myself out of things before I even get started. I suspect it is why I am reading books 1 & 2 listed in my right side bar. It's also probably why my dad used to tell me when I was a little girl to "put can't behind the door and do it".  I didn't like it very much when he would say that to me, mostly because I didn't understand how to go forward. I'm still working on it btw.

My creation

It is here where I sigh and say "why couldn't I be a first born with all their illusions of grandeur, they seem unstoppable".  In the pecking order in my growing up years I am the last of 13, yes I said 13! The baby of the family, my mum still introduces me that way on occasion. Umm, no mum, not much a baby anymore but nice try. I love her still for thinking of me that way.

My creation

I married a first born, boy oh boy is he an overachiever. I suppose that is why we make a good pair. He honestly believes there is nothing he can't do, I believe that about him as well. He ran a major youth movement in his teens, put out a CD, wrote a book, jumpstarted a new career after a major life shift in his 30's, and all that before he turned 40!  His resume is kinda intimidating and yet I still get to tell him to clean the toilets and put the garbage out...yes!!

My creation

But seriously though, all this has me thinking that life is too short to wait for the stars to align and for all my ducks to line up in a row in order to do some of the things I'd love to do. You see I'm never in a rush, I have an over abundance of patience and don't thrill from the stress of deadlines, but sometimes you just gotta get a move on. In the spirit of carpe diem and NOW, I have re-opened my etsy shop.  I've filled it with vintage (sheet) treasures as well as some handmade goodness and have a ton more stuff to add. I realize that I most happy when I create and make things. I'm most drawn to my kids when I do the things that energize me. It's something that has been on very short supply for me for the past year (creating & energy) and I am only one who can rectify the situation.

My creation

I'll be re-examined my priorities over the next few months and arranging my schedule to provide me with a regular time for making, in addition to the homeschooling. At the very least it is a change, and I'm long overdue for the pot to be stirred. Go over and take a peek at the shop and support this handmade mumma if you feel so inclined.