Sunday, May 20, 2018

English muffins

Baked 100% whole wheat English muffin
I've been making many batches of English muffins, trying to find a way to make them out of 100% whole wheat flour while fitting making them in around the workweek, housework-filled weekends, etc.  I think I've got it.  I started with the recipe in King Arthur Flour's Baker's Companion book, which doesn't seem to be currently posted on their website.  With extensive modification, here's the recipe I came up with.

We grind our own whole wheat flour from hard, red wheat berries in a Wolfgang Supreme wheat grinder.  We also bake a lot of bread, so tend to be able to use small amounts of yeast and still have breads rise well in our kitchen.

If I make the starter on Thursday evening, I have batter ready to bake on Saturday morning.

Whole wheat English muffin recipe

First evening, make starter:
Mix together:
1-1/2 c. (6.25 ounces) freshly ground whole wheat flour
1/8 tsp. yeast

Stir in:
3/4 c. water

Cover and let stand overnight (or as long as 24 hours or so).

The next evening, make the dough:

Put into a large mixing bowl:
All the starter
1-3/4 c. (7.25 ounces) 100% freshly ground whole wheat flour
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. agave syrup (or honey)
2 tbsp. melted butter
3/4 c. whole milk

Mix thoroughly until a very soft, rather wet battery-dough is formed.  Cover and let stand overnight (or as long as 24 hours or so.)

The next day, bake the muffins:
Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; lightly grease English muffin rings; I use this recipe to make 8 muffins, but they're rather big--I think you could make 10 or more smaller ones.  Put the rings on the baking sheet, and fill with the batter.  Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and put another baking sheet on top.  Let stand at least 30 min., or until they're filling the rings in a bit.  If you use more rings and let them stand for longer, they should have larger holes in them.

Put in the oven (still with the parchment paper & top baking sheet on them) and bake for about 25 min.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Felted pocketbook

I've been going over some of the projects that I finished last year, and I'm enjoying this little purse far more than I thought I would--it's very handy for heading out with wallet, phone, pen, lip gloss--just a few bare essentials.

The bag part of the pattern is Felted Pocketbook by Bev Galeskas, and then the flap is from Flaps, by Laura Kochevar, both in the book Bags: a Knitter's Dozen.  After knitting the strap, I didn't like the look of it with the little bag, so used the leather strap salvaged from another project, and the button was one from my button stash.  I cut a pocket from a worn out coat and used some leftover fabric with a zipper (again from my stash of leftover supplies) to make the pockets inside:

The colors in the bag come from using up some yarns in my stash--I stranded some lovely, fire-toned handspun with the leftover Meridian Jacobs 2-ply silver, with the red on the bottom of the bag being leftover Rowan Harris Chunky.

 A very satisfying stashbusting project that resulted in an item that's far more pleasing and useful than I thought it would be!

Friday, April 29, 2016


After using up most of my leftover yarn in the blanket, I needed to start some more projects to use up stash, and also generate some more leftover yarn to finish my blanket!  This winter I fell in love with vests.  I hadn't worn vests for decades, but had just the right amount of cotton yarn to make the Peace vest by Kim Hargreaves:

I found that I wore it all the time--it's a great added layer.

Paul then started thinking about having a vest, and liked the Adrienne Vittadini Martina yarn in my stash, and the Red Cross Pattern for a Man's V-Neck Vest--I can't praise this pattern enough!  It worked up easily and well, and fits beautifully:

Next, for colder winter days, I worked up some Peruvian Highland Chunky yarn that had been a gift into the Patons' Button Front Crew Neck Vest.  I altered the pattern a little by making the buttonholes smaller (only one yarnover instead of two) to accommodate smaller buttons:

This pattern was also wonderful to work up--very well written, and I'd recommend it for beginners since it's written so clearly and even includes illustrations.

Now, of course, I've generated a lot more spare yarn for my Mondrian-inspired scraps blanket, but I do need a little purse, I'm using some of my stash for Bev Galeskas' Felted Pocketbook:

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blanket progress

Although I've worked up a few small projects in the meantime, I've made great progress on my Mondrian-inspired scraps blanket:

(Photo by Paul)
I'm not only happy to be using up so many spare skeins and partial skeins, but am delighted in how it's looking--it's so much fun picking out the colors, and I'm enjoying the surprise of how they look together, and how the black borders set off the colors.  There is also the joy of remembering the projects that used the rest of the yarn--the lavender was a vest, the bright orange baby pants and a baby sweater, the dark brown a hat for a friend...

Happy memories, happy knitting, and much stash reduction!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mondrian-inspired scraps blanket

I have lots of odd skeins and partial skeins of yarn, and had begun to think about doing a scraps blanket.  We could use another blanket, and while thinking about how I might go about creating a scraps blanket, I came across some of the Mondrian-inspired projects on Ravelry--dresses, pillows, and, of course, blankets.

But could I create a Mondrian-inspired blanket without buying yarn?  This is a concern, since I'm enthusiastically participating in the Lord of the Rings Group's StashQuest to work down my stash.  So could I create a scraps blanket out of different weight yarns, of differing colors, and differing fibers?

I had a brainstorm:  what have I got to lose?  If I don't like it, I can frog it and start over.  If I like it, then I'll have a blanket!  I pulled out all the candidate yarns, selected the blue wool, and knitted horizontally, putting in a black stripe of cotton, then choosing the green wool...then the red cotton...then I picked up along the long edge, knit more black, and used the white wool (the black stitches at the bottom are all live, on a string of yarn serving as a stitch-holder).  So far, it's a long strip, and I like it!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Homemade Graham Crackers

Photo by Paul
Homemade graham crackers are faster to make than we had imagined and so very delicious!  We adapted the recipe from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book: we found that recipe too sweet, so omitted the sugar but kept in the syrup.  We also go ahead and melt the butter rather than mixing it in softened.  We use fresh ground whole wheat flour, so don't need to the flour the counter to roll out the crackers.

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg, well beaten
4 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups graham flour (or 6-1/2 ounces fresh ground whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup (3.5 ounces) white flour

Oven at 350F.

Combine the melted butter and honey or agave, and beat well with a whisk; add the egg, and beat well.  Dissolve the baking soda in the water and then add to the mixture.  Add the salt and flours to the mixture, and blend thoroughly.  If the dough is too tacky to handle, add a little more flour.

Roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch (flour the counter if necessary).  Cut into squares or rectangles, about 2 inches wide.  Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet, and prick with a fork.  Bake for 8 minutes on one side, then turn over and bake for 7 minutes more.  Remove from the oven and cool on racks.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Georgian dinner

We've long been fans of Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's cookbook Seductions of Rice, but we just got their Flatbreads and Flavors--I'm so glad we did!  The first recipe we tried was fenugreek and corn bread, and it was delicious--we were having a busy weekend, and we followed the recipe almost exactly and they were fantastic.  The only thing we did different from the recipe was baking the breads on a stone in our oven rather than on an oiled baking sheet.

So last weekend, when we had more time, Paul closed his eyes and wiggled a finger into the cookbook to choose a recipe at random: potato and herb filled bread (khachapuri ossetinski) from Georgia.  We decided to make walnut and eggplant roll-ups (badrigiani, also from Georgia) to go with it.  It was an incredible meal--absolutely delicious:

It was our first time making these breads, and I've never seen any person, so we kind of winged it:

We also cooked these breads directly on our baking stone in the oven, rather than on oiled cookie sheets, and they were great!

We did have leftover potato and herb filling, which we had for breakfast the next day; we mixed it up with a beaten egg into a patty, fried it, and had it with egg on top--delicious!