Today I went out to my finished compost pile. My plan for the day was to make it go away so I could start a new pile in its place. It’s not much of a pile anymore. Just a hump in the back pasture. I was thinking I could sift enough to fill the tractor bucket and maybe have another wheelbarrow or two full. But I completely forgot the First Law of Piles which states, “Any given pile of stuff has at least four times the volume as what you think.”
I sifted a tractor bucket full, and still had over ¾ of the pile left. So instead of driving down my row of tree holes (still waiting on those trees) and dumping a couple shovelfuls into each of my 37 holes, I spread it out on the herb bed in the front yard and called it a day. I really was much too tired to grapple with the psychology of a pile of dirt today. And if you’ve ever moved a pile of anything from point A to point B, you know there is a LOT of psychology in a pile.
Because of the weariness that was upon me today, I spent most of the day doing domestic goddess stuff. Laundry, vacuuming, and bread baking. I am pleased to report I have gotten the knack of using my baker’s peel and can get a loaf in the oven and onto a hot stone without slapping the loaf onto the back wall of the oven. I also now have a sourdough starter (biga, levain, whatever word you want to use for it) that will raise a loaf entirely on its own – no yeast needed. How cool is that?
My current recipe is very simple:
1 cup of starter
3 cups of white flour
½ cup of whole wheat flour
¼ cup of rye flour
2 tsp of salt
1 ¼ cup of water
Mix with wet hands to combine. Let rest for 20-30 minutes and then knead for about 7 minutes. Let rise for about 4 hours or overnight in the fridge. Shape into a ball and place on a floured napkin in a colander. Let rise for 2 hours. Invert onto peel and slash. Bake at 425 for 35 minutes.
It’s not the greatest tasting bread I’ve ever made, in fact, it’s rather ordinary and not much of a sourdough taste. Very serviceable though. Substantial enough to mop up soups and delicate enough for a really good grilled cheese.
Now that I’ve got the proportions, rising and baking time/temperature down, it’s time to start experimenting with the fun stuff – flax seed, millet, almond flour, oats, buckwheat, barley.