daily bardo

  • unlevelled leavened.

    Two bread pan, both alike in dignity. (In fair Edmonton, where we lay our scene), From ancient grain break to new bakery, Where civil dough makes civil hands unclean.

    Seriously, though.

    It was bread day today and after resting in the fridge overnight I did the routine: weigh out two equal portions, flour, knead lightly, and put to rest in a matching pair of cast iron loaf pans right around the same time I was sipping my morning coffee.

    When I went to cook them this evening there were two loaves ready to bake. One had barely risen to level of the rim of the loaf pan while the other was a solid inch and a half above it.

    Did I mention these weighed exactly the same amount this morning and received roughly equal love and care to get them into their respective pans?

    It was very strange that they turned out so differently.

  • cookies.

    Business is tough and fickle, and you never really know why or how a business will succeed or fail.

    For example.

    For example a new cookie bakery opened up this weekend in our neighbourhood. I saw the sign go up and didn’t think much of it, but then opening day arrived and people were literally lined up for multiple hours and through two parking lots to wait for a few cookies. I started to wonder “If I got in line now would the cookies I eventually bought even exist when I got in line or would they be baked between when I got in line and when I got to the front of the line.” Yeah, the line was that long.

    Why is that successful?

    Cookies, for one. But what other magic makes people line up for hours for cookies? I don’t know.

  • waffles in the meanwhile.

    I do have a cast iron campfire waffle iron, and I’ve always got my eyes peeled for a good stovetop version, but in the meantime I cashed in some AirMiles and bought a new electric Belgian waffle iron for the family.

    That said, two cups of flour, two tablespoons of sugar, two teaspoons of baking powder, two teaspoons of baking soda, and one teaspoon of salt can be combined with two and a quarter cups of milk, six tablespoons of vegetable oil, three eggs and one teaspoon of vanilla extract to make a nice simple and pourable waffle batter for delicious, crisp waffles in said iron.

    I like strawberry syrup myself, but to each their own.

  • family dough

    No joking, tomorrow we’re going for an early easter dinner with the family. Turns out my brother-in-law who works remote shift work is home for this weekend and back on shift next weekend… so plans have shifted around his shifts.

    I was instructed to “bring bread” via a text message.

    It’s official.

    I’m the guy who shows up to family events with a loaf of sourdough.

    (Said sourdough is a ball of dough resting the fridge right now, in fact.)

    And I’m not complaining. It’s good to have a niche and it’s good to have a reputation as a reliable source of something people like. With tomorrow being April, and the month of the fourth “birthday” of my sourdough starter, I guess it’s fair to say that such a reputation has not come overnight, but rather taken a few years to build.



  • orphan plant reprise, part one

    About a year and a half ago I wrote about my little orphan plant project, a random effort I’d taken on when I encountered a rack of discount, near-dead houseplants in a local hardware store greenhouse and adopted a small collection of them to nurse back to health.

    Three of them died. The rest of them thrived. A gamble, sure, but a cheap one when the plants are about a buck a piece compared to their ten dollar, so-called healthy counterparts.

    I was back at that same store last weekend and bought five more orphan plants from the (presumably) same rack of near-discards. This new collection included, and I was pleased to have found, two charlie-brown quality trees of the Coffea arabica variety, or Arabica Coffee Trees, each about sixteen inches tall, scraggly, and in search of a loving home.

    So after spending two bucks on coffee trees and another sixteen bucks on a big pot to replant them into my orphan plant project takes a bit of a turn towards a coffee AND plant effort… soon to be chronicled here, no doubt.