Longer Weekend

In the last year it’s definitely been hard to get excited about weekends or long weekends. Pre-pandemic we’d impatiently countdown the holidays and weekends. Now? Every day is pretty much the same. Weekends are pretty much just like a Wednesday. The only difference is that on nice weekends (i.e. not pouring rain) we try and get outside for a hike as a family.

Saturday we went to Orenco Woods Nature Park. It’s out in Hillsboro, so quite a trek for us. But I’m glad we went.

There were lots of super cool things for kids! A sandbox, swings, climbing structure (Logan got to the top!), bridges, paths, lots of “art”.

It was chilly but not rainy. Logan got the wiggles out running around the paths. There were a bunch of them, little trails and some nature preserve areas (those areas were not for dogs).

The art was so cool! Logan had so much fun exploring. The climbing web was by far his favorite thing there. He didn’t want to leave the park. Often times when we go hiking he loses steam around the 1.5 mile mark and starts whining about going home. But this park was such a hit we practically had to drag him to the car. 😉

When we got home I baked a loaf of sourdough. I am so happy we have a new oven and I can get back to baking bread! My favorite recipe is great and the bread turns out fantastic.

Monday was a holiday, and one that is a little bittersweet with all of the awful racial things that have been happening in our country. And I took Tuesday off because it was my birthday. Another rather bittersweet day. Last year we were in Hawaii on an amazing trip for my birthday.

Monday I took Logan to Fanno Creek Trail in Tigard. It was super cool! We parked at the Garden Home Rec Center and picked up the trail there (behind the playground). I guess the whole thing is 4.5 miles long and it’s ADA accessible (paved) the whole way. A great trail for kids.

It was a really cool trail through neighborhoods. The trail was wide enough for people to be safe. There were bridges, we saw a bunny and a creek. I think the trail is pretty long but we did 1 mile or so and then turned around. Michael’s mom joined us (Michael was working). It was a nice outing!

And then we came home and I tried my hand at making ciabatta bread for the first time. It was a very slow, easy weekend, not much going on but it felt nice at the same time.

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! 🙂