Pandemic Thoughts

So far, I am coping okay. I guess I am in my “groove” of the new norm. Get up (I set my alarm). Have coffee and breakfast. Workout. Start work. Have lunch. Take a short nap during my lunch break (20-30 minutes tops). Have some tea when I wake up. Take Bella for a long walk. Back to work. Play with Logan. Watch TV. Have dinner. Read before bed.

This article in particle was really interesting. I definitely have been feeling that grind of monotony lately. The last few weeks have been hard. I was depressed, emotional, stressed, crabby, irritable, hormonal, add anything else to the list, I was it. I was feeling the pull in ALL DIRECTIONS. Trying to work from home, be a mom, be a wife, have time for myself…anything…it was all a struggle.

I try not to get political on this blog because it’s not really what it’s about and honestly, who cares, right? But I’m mad. I was furious and depressed in 2016. Did I love Hillary? No. But I voted for her and felt like she would have been very, very qualified. Our current administration is a fucking disaster and a shit show and I am SICK TO DEATH of the hatred, the bigotry, the idiocy, the disregard for KINDNESS and SCIENCE and FACTS.

The pandemic has magnified all of those emotions. As someone who has always been fascinated by science, and in particular deadly diseases and pandemics (if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you can see it from my reading history), I’ve wondered what would happen if we had a pandemic. The first time I thought we might be close was Zika. Then that kind of went away…or, didn’t come to the states really. But still. I read about this stuff all the time and I believe in scientists.

So when I see people going to Target and the grocery stores and NOT WEARING MASKS, or gathering in big groups to protest re-opening businesses/protesting the shutdowns…it makes my head hurt in so many ways. (I find it so weird that no one cared that people with guns were marching on capitols protesting but…peaceful protests in recent days have been tear gassed…)

Trust me, I want the economy to open up, too. My husband lost his job at the beginning of this mess. I am upset. I am stressed. We need him to get a job. We need the economy to open up. I am worried about the years of lasting effects on the economy–like businesses that will close forever…I am worried about Logan’s daycare closing. I am also worried about daycares doubling in cost when things open up again BECAUSE THEY CAN. Because we are all desperate.

And then the recent events…the horrific events that have been the #1 topic of all social media and news outlets–as they should be. I am devastated by the deaths. I have no words that will really make any difference. But I wanted to say something. I am working on a post, that will hopefully be a little more constructive. But right now, I’m just mad.

The Perfect Sourdough

I started seeing a lot of people get into bread baking during the pandemic. Which was kinda cool. I definitely think it’s a fun hobby to have. It’s sometimes a hard hobby because it’s time consuming, sometimes a loaf of bread takes several days and you never know if it’s going to turn out…and then you’ve just wasted two days on a loaf of bread. (Which happened to me recently.)

This is the book I use:

I’ve posted it before. I love the book because it’s simple, easy to follow, beautiful and has step-by-step photo instructions for making bread. It’s perfect for beginners. And then there’s a bunch of other recipes in there, some more advanced. I highly recommend this book!

I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes I’ve looked for online. I don’t like most of them. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw the loaf I threw in the garbage recently! It’s always a bummer to spend that much time and effort and have the bread not turn out.

So I usually go back to the tried and true recipe from this book. Here is the measurements for the recipe (from the book):

600 grams bread flour

12 grams salt

30 grams sourdough starter

360 grams warm water (I used bottled water)

This week I made the PERFECT LOAF. Like seriously, one of the best I’ve ever made. And I wanted to share because I kind of experimented based on the above measurements.

This time I used 600 grams of flour BUT I used 25% whole wheat and the rest was white bread flour. That ratio turned out really great!

Plus, I added chopped kalamata olives and rosemary from my garden. Not a lot of either.

I got a good rise overnight (dough doubled–which is good, sometimes the house is too cold and we don’t get a great rise).

I followed the book’s instructions (preheat oven to 500 degrees, then turn it down to 425). I baked the loaf in my dutch oven for 35 minutes with the LID ON, then 25 minutes with the lid OFF and that seemed liked the perfect balance. (The book instructions are 30-40 minutes with the lid on and 10 or so with it off.)

I let it cool for a few hours. Then I had a slice. It was PERFECT:

Perfect bake, no gummy parts, no overcooked parts, air pockets, chewy, good crust without being too hard, the flavor was PERFECTLY sour with the delectable salty kalamata flavor and then once in awhile I’d get a bite of rosemary flavor. I think in the future I’d try the kalamata olives with maybe garlic cloves instead of rosemary but overall it was very, very good! I am super happy with how it turned out and I think I have my new recipe down!

Let me know if you are doing sourdough and how it’s going! πŸ™‚