Beachy Birthday

So this is 39!

For my birthday this year we made the trek to Depoe Bay to spend the weekend at an AirBnB house at the beach with friends. I’ve been looking forward to it for months! Saturday I went to the gym and then we packed the car and left after lunch.

The house we rented was SO GREAT!!!! It was called the “OctoMojo House” and it was a block from the beach with amazing views of the giant winter waves. There was a nice deck (which would be great in the summer time) and a hot tub and you could hear the ocean. The house had two bedrooms on the main floor and then a loft bedroom upstairs with even better views.

We unpacked and our friends, Sam and John, hadn’t arrived yet so we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and go for a walk on the beach!

You think Logan and Bella were having fun in the sand?!?! It was kinda gray and cold but it was dry so that’s all that mattered! We walked and ran and got super dirty. Then started to walk back to the house.

Our friends arrived and we made dinner. Pork tenderloin they had been marinating all day in lemon, ginger, soy sauce and garlic. It was delicious! We had salad and couscous, too. And fancy Trader Joe’s cheese with crackers while we cooked.

And opened a bottle of wine I’ve been saving for almost a year:

After Logan went to bed, the four of us got to chill out in the hot tub and listen to the ocean and just catch up on life. It was nice! And relaxing. I loved being able to hear the waves. And smelling the ocean air.

Sunday was a lazy day. It was stormy and rainy and the waves were even bigger. Breakfast was delicious omelettes made by Michael and Samantha. I actually got to enjoy my coffee while it was HOT. ๐Ÿ˜€

Then Logan and I went for a little walk outside in the drizzle.

Sam and I drove up to Lincoln City to Mo’s to pick up takeout lunch. It was nice to get away for a bit and have some time just the two of us. We got an order of Mo’s famous clam chowder and an order of clam strip appetizers.

I’ve wanted to try Mo’s for years but the lines are SO LONG we never go. I’m glad we finally got to try it! It was delicious! Creamy and tasty and hot on a dreary day. After lunch Logan took a nap, I took a short nap and then chilled with some hot tea and a good book. ๐Ÿ™‚ Eventually there was a little break in the rain and Logan was still sleeping so Bella and I went for a walk on the beach just the two of us. It was nice!

Sunday night dinner was made by Samantha, with me helping prep the veggies. I brought chicken thighs and she brought the stuff to make an AMAZING curry dish! All fresh ingredients. She even showed me how to use fresh ginger (which has always intimidated me so I never bought it, now I want to try it!).

We opened some wine, turned on some great music and hung out in the kitchen while the boys did their thing in the living room. Then dinner was served. Curry chicken and veggies on top of mashed potatoes! SO good! Topped with fresh cilantro and green onion.

After dinner, Logan ran laps through the house ๐Ÿ˜‰ and then went to bed and we played a few rounds of my new Family Feud board game (super fun!), more hot tubbing and then to bed for the great night of sleep I’ve had in awhile. Breakfast the next morning:

Scrambled eggs with green onions and diced jalapenos, bacon, topped with cheese, a side of toast and fruit salad. Monday the weather was just perfect. There was blue sky and rainbows.

I love the beach. Year round, doesn’t matter the weather. Stormy, sunny, whatever. The beach is in my blood. Someday, I will live at the beach. ๐Ÿ™‚

Making Your Own Sourdough

I am in no ways an expert at sourdough! But I have been practicing for about a year now and trying to get better at it and if it’s something you are interested in, you may be interested in this post.

I’ve shared my successes and failures on this blog many times. There have been times when the bread didn’t rise. When it was a weird shape. When it taste great but didn’t look great. When it looked great but didn’t have the right flavor. It was all practice practice practice.

I really like this book and highly recommend it:

How To Make Sourdough: 45 recipes for great-tasting sourdough breads that are good for you, too.ย by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou

Why I like this book is because it gives step by step instructions WITH PHOTOS. I am a visual person and it helps a lot to see the photos for each step of making the bread–even each step of kneading the bread and rising, etc. Once I started using the sourdough recipe in this book, I got much closer to the right sourdough loaf I was looking for!

The book has a ton of other recipes in there, too. I have tried one of the other recipes in there (the rosemary raisin sourdough) but unfortunately my bread didn’t rise so it didn’t bake properly. It ended up in the trash. Bummer! More practice on that one.

One of the biggest things that helped with making sourdough was weighing the ingredients with a food scale instead of measuring out the ingredients in cup measurements. Weighing the dry ingredients in grams was a game changer.

Also, I suggest using bread flour instead of regular flour. I definitely recommend Bob’s Red Mill! It’s local for us and we have access to their store, which is nice, but you can get it online if you don’t live local. I love their products!

Other than that, the only other thing you need is the proofing basket:

Banneton Proofing Basket – Round

Banneton Proofing Basket – Ovalย 

A few days before I’m going to make the sourdough, I take some starter out of the fridge and put it on on the counter and “feed” it every day (just a little bit because you don’t need a lot of starter for the recipe).

Then the night before, I make the dough and knead it, then let it rise over night. The next morning, it should double in size. The day I’m going to bake the bread, I knead the loaf again, shape it a bit, and then put it in the floured banneton. This particular time it was slightly deformed on the bottom but no big deal because that will be the bottom of the bread and it will flatten out.

I turn the oven on to 200 degrees then TURN THE OVEN OFF. I cover the banneton/loaf and put it in the oven for 2-6 hours, checking it frequently to see how it’s rising.

Then it’s time to bake! I use a Dutch Oven to bake it. First I put some cornmeal on the bottom of my Dutch Oven. Then I turn the banneton upside down and dump the dough into it. Then I make the slashes on top with a razor blade. I put the the lid on the Dutch Oven and bake it at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes and then check it.

I usually end up baking the bread for a little over 60 minutes.

This particular loaf of sourdough gave me some grief. It didn’t rise as much as it usually does overnight. Not sure why–maybe the dough was too wet? Who even knows. It’s always a mystery as to why sometimes it’s perfect and round and amazing and sometimes it’s a little flatter.

But the bread cooked well and it tasted okay. So that’s always a success.

Dinner was tomato bisque with the sourdough and salad. It was delicious!

QUESTION: Are you a bread baker? Any tips? Favorite bread recipes? Share!