Monday, 16 July 2012

Weekend wash out turned out to be very productive

This weekend was pretty much a wash out. We did manage to trim some overhanging trees and dispose of those and the ones that were removed from beside the shed and clean out the chickens (and using the material as fertiliser for the fruit trees). Especially setting up the temporary run for the young Sussex roosters, as their too big and we needed the room in the brooder box for our impending broods.

So we had 9 arrivals throughout Saturday and Sunday. All of varying shades of gold, brown, grey and black… all stripped! I am curious to see how they turn out. We have decided to keep all 9, least until we can sex them. Then the boys (being a game x layer) will be for the table and the girls will either join our girls, or be sold as pullets. As we need to start preparing to replenish our laying stock, as our youngest bird is 12 months now and elders 3 years or so.
The ducklings in the incubator, being due Thursday began to move,
 churp and break through last night. So am keen to gethome this evening to see thier progress!
Other than that the rain was fairly persistent and restricted us to indoors for most of the weekend. We did however have a big clean out and tidy of the shed… it’s amazing how much room is in there now!
And I successfully made 2 loaves of Sourdough! Funnily enough all I did was stick to the recipe. So here it is.

My starter is now in a lidded/sealed container, this is much better than the mixing bowl and clingfilm- as this had started to show signs of mould around the lip. It definitely has its own distinctive aroma now, much like brewing cider. They say every batch smells and is different as it is made up of the cutlures unique to its environment... not sure what that says about us!

Anyway, I now keep my starter (in its new, more hygienic container) in the fridge. So I have to remove it the 2 nights before I need it, so that I may activate it and prepare the "sponge". So on removal from the fridge I “fed it” to activate it- ½ cup of flour.

Then the night before I I want to make the bread I prepare the “Sponge” by mixing 650ml warm water, 500g strong bread flour and a ladleful of starter. This is best done by hand, and is a little messy. This is then left over night (covered)

When the bread is nearly ready, place a bakestone in the top of the oven, and an oven dish with 1cm of hot water in the bottom-heat for at least 10 minutes at 250°. Turn down to 180°, and then transfer the bread on to some well floured bake proof paper and on to the bake stone. Bake for about 40 minutes.
Then the following day I begin the bread by mixing the Sponge with 600g strong bread flour and 25g salt. You will want extra flour for dusting (surface and your hands). This then has to be kneaded (until smooth) and then form a round and place in a bowl and left for an hour (covered). You then repeat the kneading/ covering twice more. On the final time you divide it into 2 or 3 loaves and shape. Place on a well floured board and cover with a plastic bag to prove for 1-4 hours (til its doubled in size).

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