Pizza

Eugene Part 1

We got to get away from Portland for a little bit!

Last weekend we went down to Eugene to explore. We’ve only been once, basically just for lunch, on our way to Crater Lake 3 years ago. It seemed like a cute town so when we wanted to take a mini break somewhere, I looked into Eugene. I found a super cute Airbnb in the Whiteaker neighborhood–walking distance to Ninkasi Brewery, Hop Valley and a bunch of really good restaurants.

I posted some videos on my Instagram of the Airbnb house we got. It was so cute! It was an old-craftsman style similar to the old Portland houses. Super charming little details. The owner decorated it with lots of interesting pieces and antiques. And quirky things. 🙂

The kid’s room was super cute and had murals painted on the walls. There was a twin bed and a twin bed with a trundle pull-out. So lots of kids could stay!

The master had a LUXURIOUS king sized bed that felt like sleeping on a cloud. It was SO nice.

The kitchen was nice for being small and old. It had a lot of charm and the owners stocked it well with everything you’d need.  You never know with a place what you are going to get. They also had chocolate and a bottle of wine as a gift!

 

We checked into the house and unpacked the car. The one downside was that the house didn’t allow dogs so we had to leave Bella with her foster mom, Jen, for the weekend. It was kind of a bummer but I know she was SUPER excited to have her own “Vacation.”

Then Michael went out to get our growlers filled.

After that we went to The Wheel Apizza Club for dinner. My cousin Di met us there, and it was nice to see her and catch up.

The pizza place was really cute. Michael got us whatever their house IPA was and it was pretty good. We ordered a pepperoni pizza and a cheese pizza. Logan ate like 3 pieces of the cheese!

After dinner we went back to the house and got the stroller that came with the house (they also had a highchair, toys, and a pack n’ play–so lots of kid stuff!) and then walked around the neighborhood and explored.

It was such a cute area. Lots of cute old houses. Lots of art everywhere!

Lots of hippies. I used to be kind of a hippie back in the day so it’s not like I’m against it, but it was a tad startling to see SO MANY hippies in such a small place. LOL! Lots of tie dye, lots of dreadlocks, unfortunately also a lot of homeless. But maybe that’s just the area we were staying in? I don’t know Eugene well enough to know.

Friday night was a pretty early night for us. It had been a reeeeealllly long day and we were all beat.

Baker Baker

I need some advice! But first, a cute photo of Logan and me cuddling on the couch early Saturday morning:

Over the long weekend I finally got to try my very first loaf of sourdough bread. I’ve never made bread before (except for Sheepherder’s Bread and I think I killed the yeast and it never rose) but it’s been something that both Michael and I have wanted to try doing for years.

My friend gave me some of her sourdough starter probably a month or so ago. I’ve been feeding it every week and it smelled so good and sour. I was really excited to try this. So Saturday morning after the gym I got started on prepping and making the dough because I knew it would be an all day process.

First off, having the Kitchenaid mixer for making bread is AMAZING. I barely had to do any of the kneading.

Second, even though I fed the starter a lot and gave it extra leading up to the weekend, I still didn’t have quite enough for the recipe. So I had to feed the starter more right before. Maybe that changed things? I don’t honestly know.

I followed the instructions of the recipe I used (recommended by my friend). I had found another recipe, too, that I thought sounded good. I think I will try that recipe next time and see how it goes.

EASY SOURDOUGH ARTISAN BREAD RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour (white whole wheat, whole wheat, unbleached, or a combo)
  • 1-1/4 cups water (may need less if your starter is “wetter”- mine is a 100% hydration starter, fed an equal ratio of flour to water)
  • 3/4 cup active sourdough starter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl) just until combined and then let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Using a dough hook, knead for 5 minutes. If making by hand, knead for 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, lightly coated with oil. Cover with plastic and let rise for 3 hours, turning and folding the dough once or twice.
  4. Remove dough, turn and fold again, and place it back in the bowl, seam-side up. Let rise for another 2 hours.
  5. After the second rise, place a square of parchment on a cookie sheet and gently shape the dough into a ball or oval (using lots of flour, as the dough is moist) and set on the parchment. Make sure there’s a good coating of flour on the top, as this will make slicing the top later easier.
  6. Set an enameled, cast iron dutch oven into a cold oven and turn heat to 450 degrees (alternately, you can use a baking stone), and set the timer for 40 minutes.
  7. When the timer goes off, slash the top of the loaf with a serrated knife (in 2-3 places) and transfer it to the hot pot by holding the edges of the parchment (or stone).
  8. Replace the hot lid and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking for another 13-15 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Remove to a wire rack to cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.
  10. NOTES
  11. Slicing tip: if you don’t have a good serrated knife, try using an electric knife to easily slice through crusty artisan bread. I works like a charm and even cuts through warm breads without squishing the crusts like regular knives do.

Notes

From: https://anoregoncottage.com/easy-sourdough-artisan-bread/2/

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=54767

Since this was my first loaf ever, I didn’t have high expectations. I knew it would take practice but I was still a little bummed out it didn’t turn out like it should. I think I should have let it rise longer than the 5 hours the recipe called for. Because the dough didn’t really look like it rose all that much from when I started it…

Next time, I won’t use my dutch oven to bake it, either. One of the options of the recipe was to use a baking/pizza stone. We have one that makes GREAT pizza so I will try that next time.

Overall the bread was OK but not great. It was really dense. It weighed a freakin’ ton. It wasn’t the light, airy sourdough I was expecting. I’m not sure what I need to do differently in the future. I read through some messages boards online and none of them were really clear. It could have been too wet, not wet enough, maybe I didn’t let it rise enough, maybe it had too much gluten in it, maybe not enough…HELPFUL.

So I could definitely use some advice from bread baking experts out there! What did I do wrong? How do I make the bread LIGHT and AIRY?

In other news…on Sunday we went out to lunch for Logan’s BFF’s birthday. I had an AMAZING burger on AMAZING bread. 😀

Lunch was at Hopworks. It’s a great place, good food and it’s very kid-friendly, which is nice. We were in a back room for kids so that was good, too.

Seriously, look at that bun! It was SO GOOD. I wish I could make bread like that. My burger had swiss cheese, toasted hazelnuts, caramelized onions, arugula and lemon aioli on it. It was to die for. One of the best burgers I’ve had in a long time.

The above photo was the toys at the restaurant in the kid’s area. (Great idea!) Logan had cheese pizza with apple slices on the side (decent pizza, too).

QUESTION: Master bakers, HELP ME!