One of my favorite memories as a kid was spending summers on my aunt’s farm south of Salem. The annual family reunion was the highlight of the year for us kids! We’d run around like we were feral. Playing, swimming, eating, jumping into hay in the farm, playing with cousins. So much fun!
On Saturday we got to go down to my aunt’s farm for a birthday party for my cousin Adam. He turned 40 (holy cow! I’m not far behind and holy cow his kid is now 16 and driving!!! God we all got old…) and we got together to celebrate.
I was excited to see everyone and also excited for Logan to get to experience “farm life” a little bit and running around barefoot in the grass.
He got to try an Otter Pop for the first time. Not sure if he liked it. He seemed a bit confused by it at first. Hahaha!
My cousin Carrie, expert mixologist, made this magnificent drink:
Fresh raspberries from their garden blended with ice, 7-Up and Peach Vodka. It was so good and refreshing and easy to drink too many of!
Logan LOVED the cows and chickens! In fact, if you saw my Instagram, Logan got to feed the cows! He LOVED it. He spent a lot of time feeding the cows and laughing. 🙂
They set up the sprinkler for the kids. It was 95 degrees out and I thought Logan would love running through the sprinkler (I know I loved it as a kid) but he didn’t seem to be too much of a fan. Maddie the dog loved the sprinkler, though!
My uncle grilled up sausages, hot dogs and the best hamburgers you’ve ever had (they are very fresh and organic if you know what I mean…but we try not to think too hard about where they came from….!). It was a potluck and everyone brought something. I made my Greek Orzo Salad again. There was a pasta salad, coleslaw, potato salad and a fresh fruit salad with strawberries, blueberries and mangoes.
And of course birthday cake:
Logan LOVED the cake and ice cream, of course. And man he was SO filthy.
He was covered in dirt from running around barefoot, cake and ice cream, Otter Pops, and just summer. LOL I loved it. I loved seeing him running around playing with his cousins and having fun outside. Thankfully my aunt let us give him a quick bath in her amazing clawfoot tub (original) before we headed back to Portland.
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.
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
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.
Using a dough hook, knead for 5 minutes. If making by hand, knead for 8 to 10 minutes.
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.
Remove dough, turn and fold again, and place it back in the bowl, seam-side up. Let rise for another 2 hours.
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.
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.
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).
Replace the hot lid and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking for another 13-15 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove to a wire rack to cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.
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.
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).