Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Feeling sorry for myself

My roofer came to look at my leak(s)---on time!---and a look of horror (possibly manufactured, but maybe not) passed across his face as he went from room to room. I have multiple problems that a new roof just couldn't cure, including not enough insulation in the crawlspace (flat roof), a bad angle for the eaves troughs, and ice damming that forces melt water down past the plate and into multiple rooms, including the kitchen. It might cost me a lot, but maybe it's time to dip into the line of credit to do some long-past-due repairs, and maybe my insurance will cover some of the cost.

I'm not usually a comfort shopper, but I couldn't resist doing some in-store and online buying (not like my eBay sales will cover any of it, but what the hay). Due to my renewed interest in baking bread, mainly because of all the no-knead recipes I've been finding, I realized I needed some vital equipment, like an oven thermometer (testing reveals that my oven is 40-50F degrees hotter than set, which explains the tough crusts); a serrated bread knife (to cut through those over-baked loaves), both from Valu-Mart; a banneton for rising; a dough bucket (boring image, but it's here) that shows when your dough has doubled; and a bread bag, from Bob's Red Mill.

I love the idea of the banneton---a woven reed basket that you turn the dough into to rise, then invert it onto your baking stone, leaving the coiled reed impression on the finished loaf. My book of kitchen gadgets says the French (those devils) line their bannetons with light canvas, but I can get a good result with just flour.

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