Knit the Dog

[...because if I ever run out of yarn--- I can just knit the dogs.]

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Woeful toe

Not sure how it got to be March. Our daffys are all coming out at once, leaves popping on the trees, and the dogs are sneezing and rubbing their ears so it's spring for sure. I'm laid up with a busted toe, thanks to a spectacular and graceless fall in the shower. At least I had finished the shower so was clean when I went to urgent care and then the orthopedic guy. Did you know that doctors refer to one's footal digits as the "great and lesser toes'? This here is a right-hand great toe, it's pretty well crunched, and that means no driving for a couple of weeks and wearing das boot all day and to sleep in. Ha-ha. Just very happy it wasn't a leg.

On the upside I am knitting the following:
---Second small pink sweater, this one for Cate who thought the first one [see pic], for grand-bebe#2, was hers-- I just need to block the little one & get snap tape for the closure;
---top-down raglan in cotton for me;
---couple of crocheted blankets; and I might finish some UFOs.
Waiting in the wings are a ruffled scarf and a lace cardi. So there will be lots to do while the Great Toe heals.

Made raisin bread tonight with the no-knead bread recipe that has made the rounds for a few years. It has been published in New York Times and by Mark Bittman among others. This bread is as easy as falling off a wall, and amazingly flexible.

My current version:
Mix three cups flour (I use 1 C whole wheat to 2C bread flour, and add a little wheat gluten or wheat germ or ground oatmeal) with a teaspoon of sugar and 1.75 tsp salt. Dissolve 1/2 tsp instant yeast, or really any dry yeast, in one cup warm water; throw into the bowl with the flour, then add another 5/8 C warm water (use it to rinse what you dissolved the yeast in.) ---for a total of 1 5/8 cup water. You may need a little more if the flour is very dry.
Mix all this together into a wettish, rough dough. That's it. Put the bowl in a warm place, covered with a dishtowel, for at least a few hours. When it has risen about double, stir it down and let it rise again for a few hours. Before it climbs out of the bowl, stir it down again and turn it out onto a floured surface. A good-sized cookie sheet with a rim works great and contains the mess. Cover the soft, floppy dough with a light layer of flour and fold it over gently a few times. Make it into a nice neat mound and let it sit while you heat your oven to 450 degrees. Yes, that hot. Put a cast iron dutch oven, or an oven proof pot with a tight lid, into the oven to heat as well. When the oven reaches temp, plop the dough into the heated pot (be careful of your fingers!) and cover. Bake 30 minutes, turn down to 400 degrees and take off the cover, and bake another 20 or so minutes until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when you rap on the bottom. Butter liberally and stuff yourself.
This bread has a thick, chewy crust and is moist inside. It's best eaten in two days. The texture depends on the flour you use. I've added Parmesan cheese and herbs; raisins soaked in Marsala; and various grain additions. I've raised it overnight, or for only a few hours. Basically I've abused the recipe every which way and the only loaf I didn't like was the one where I added a cup of soy flour in an effort to increase the protein content--- resulting in a very, very odd object that got composted.
I will say that I have a distinct advantage when it comes to keeping yeasties happy, because my oven has a "proof" setting that holds at exactly 100 degrees and they love it. As they say, your results may differ. But definitely give this a try. Googling "no-knead bread" will turn up lots of info.