> jumping into life.

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I have apparently lost my baker's touch.

In Arizona, I was baking two loaves of bread a week, every week. Fantastic bread. Incredible bread. Big loaves, little loaves, English muffins, bagels. Beautiful, delicious bread.

In Vermont, I've made bread four times. Saggy, sticky, ugly bricks of bread. Ugly oatmeal bread, ugly millet bread, ugly plain-old-whole-wheat bread, and today: ugly leftover-grain bread.

I even tried not using a recipe, relying on my experience with dozens of loaves of beautiful, delicious bread to guide me. The yeast bubbled, the gluten stretched, the dough was supple and smooth as a baby's ass. I was pleased with myself and my non-recipe-following bravery. After all, I've been making cheese! And pickles! And pie, for goodness' sake. Plain old bread couldn't be so hard - I just had to be brave!

It rose once, rather more than doubling, and big chunks stuck to my hands when I punched it down. Undaunted, I reshaped it into a ball, let it rise again. Big chunks. Put it into pans, put them in the oven, where they sit now, not rising. Not rising at all.

Also: still no job, the cucumbers all turned yellow before they turned into cucumbers, and the last batch of sauerkraut smells funny.

Do you think maybe it over-rose? Due to the heat maybe? aaach. How frustrating!

I think that's probably it - the first rise definitely over-rose, and I think maybe the yeast got pooped out. Also it's a lot more humid here than I'm used to baking with, and I think that throws me off, too.

I haven't baked much since moving to Montreal (why would anyone??) but I love to. In Vermont, I always try to bake or make pie crust on dry days. Make sure it doesn't rise too much in the bowl, and be conservative on your definition of "double." Sometimes it works better to put the bread in the hot oven even when it isn't hugely risen the second time and let the oven heat do the last bit of work. You'll just have to experiment but you should blame any failures on the different climate, not yourself!

On the non-bread-related note at the end: been job hunting a bit south of you, and also in Burlington, and not a thing to be found. Lean times.

Sending wishes for stamina and flawless bread and abundance.

find the right kind of mortar, and you might just have the first two bricks to that farmhouse you would like to build right there...;-)

Beth, Kat, and Theriomorph?

I wish this comment thread was a living room with me in a corner chair.

Come visit, and I bet it can be arranged!

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