Have I mentioned that I love to cook. No? Well I do. And I have decided that Sundays should be fresh bread baking day. Why you ask. Well I don’t really know, it just sounded good.
Years ago my husband, Peter (isn’t he cute), found a recipe in the newspaper, for a no-knead bread. Needless to say I was skeptical. After all bread needs to be kneaded. I was wrong. I tried this recipe (mainly to prove him wrong) it was wonderful! So I filed the recipe away planning on making it again on a regular basis. Then life got busy and the recipe got buried among all my other recipes and was forgotten. Until yesterday. I found it, I wasn’t looking for it. But I found it. So what do you think I did? Yep.
Here it is: No-Knead Bread-Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Prep time: 1/2 hour hands on plus 14-20 hours rising
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal as needed
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 (1 1/2 + 1/8) cups warm water and stir until blended: dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature. I left my bowl on top of my refrigerator where it is nice and warm.
Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it: sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with cornmeal or flour (I prefer cornmeal); put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not spring back easily when poked with a finger.
At least a half hour before dough is ready, heat over to 450 degrees. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (I have a cast Iron pot, you can use enamel, Pyrex or ceramic pots) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from over. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into the pot, seam side up: it make look like a mess, but don’t worry it will be fine. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed: it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15-30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on rack. As it cools you will hear crackly sounds coming from the bread. Best sound ever!! Enjoy
“Do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the moment”. Buddha
In my creative space I have a small statue of a Shy Buddha. You can see him periodically in some of the pictures with my pottery posted in our Etsy shop(www.doublemuse.etsy.com) I truly don’t remember when or where he came from, I think it may have been from my daughter Christina. He gives me a sense of calm when I find myself stuck for an idea. Sometimes the thought that I have to create something or my day is incomplete causes me to not be creative.
I tend to always put the pressure on myself and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Yes you, you know who you are. So creating a space that is warm and inviting, I believe, is essential.
Now that my youngest daughter Sondra has a home of her own I have turned her bedroom into a space where I can go and be creative in a bright, warm, peaceful, zen like space. The morning sun comes streaming in through the windows giving the room a wonderful warm brightness. I find that’s the perfect time to create designs for my jewelry or sketch ideas for my pottery. It is also a great time to take pictures of the pottery, jewelry and crochet pieces that Linda and I create for our shop on Etsy.
I believe we all have so much going on in our lives these days that it is hard to just stop, breathe and think. Let alone be creative. So I have found having an area I can go to get away from everything and sometimes everybody really keeps me centered and less stressed.
So with Shy Buddha and little Mia (my sweet little Shih Tzu) by my side I can be peaceful and open to any creative idea that comes along. Hopefully.
Do any of you have a special space where you can go to unwind, be creative have a glass of wine? I would love to hear about what and where you go to unwind, relax and create.
Rose, Mia and Shy Buddha
Update: I am still working on my pottery space downstairs, which is not quite as zen as the upstairs bedroom. But it’s getting there. Slowly but surely. I promise.
Funny thing about starting over, your all gun ho about getting back to doing what you love to do. You make plans (I’ll make this mug and design this bowl this way, this glaze will be perfect for that platter) You go down to your “studio” aka the basement and realize there is 3 years of stuff in what used to be your pottery space. Ugh!
Yep, totally what happened to me. It’s not that I didn’t notice the clutter before. But I wasn’t using it as a pottery space, it was a storage space. Kids moved out and left stuff, kids came back with more stuff, kids left again. You guessed it, they left more stuff. Then there is my stuff books, magazines, future pottery molds, objects with great texture for future pottery stuff. It was not pretty! There will be no pictures people. Until it is to my liking, check back in about 10 years. No just kidding.
The problem with cleaning up and organizing, especially if your are a creative person, is that you see potential in almost everything. That is part of my problem. I need to be strong and throw stuff out. I can do that. I can. Really.
So this is my goal for the week. To get my studio back in order. I’m actually glad the weather is crappy. Snow in April when it didn’t snow all winter is nuts. But if it was nice outside I would be in the garden.
So Misty (one of my cats, actually my daughters cat) and I will be heading down to the studio. I’ll be organizing she will be mousing. Because like it or not living in the country means mice, even in the basement, I mean studio.
“To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.” Joseph Chilton Pierce
Eight years ago my best friend Linda and I decided to take a pottery class. Not just a paint your own ready-made piece of pottery (nothing wrong there but we wanted just a little bit more). We wanted a mud-slinging, wheel throwing, slab rolling experience. We enrolled in a summer program at Wooster School in Danbury, CT. We had an awesome teacher, Katie who taught us how to throw on the wheel and then how to slab roll and how to decorate and glaze our clay. We fell in love….with pottery not Katie. (like I said she was awesome but this isn’t that kind of story). We wound up taking 3 courses all together so we could learn as much as we could. In the end we decided this was for us, we bought whatever we needed to get started making pottery. I got a potter’s wheel and slab roller (nothing too large) and a small kiln. Linda likes working with slabs so she got herself a slab roller also. We took a road trip up to Sheffield Pottery in Sheffield, MA. Decided we wanted to work in earthenware clay got our supplies and started to create pottery and we were off. Our styles are different so we had a nice variety of pieces. We did some craft shows, opened an Etsy shop (www.doublemuse.etsy.com) and sold a decent amount of pottery. (Linda also crochets so she makes beautiful crocheted pieces and I make jewelry, all of which we also sell in our shop) But making pottery is our favorite thing to do.
Unfortunately life sometimes gets in the way, after all we still had our day jobs, our family’s. Linda has a husband, 3 kids, 3 dogs, 2 or 3 cats and a pet rat at one point. I have a husband, 3 kids, 2 grand kids, down to 1 dog and 2 cats. So when are we making pottery? We took a break and 3 years later and it’s time to get going again. If not now, when? (imagine me doing a happy dance here)
So this is where The Journey Begins….again
The name of our business is DoubleMuse. Two friends, two creative spirits guiding each other along this creative journey of ours. We invite you to tag along. Learn about us, our families, learn as we learn, play as we play and create along with us.