What’s going on ’round here…

May 14, 2010

Well, let’s see.

I’ve been busy lately – nothing too crazy to report, but having a good time.  A couple of weeks ago I took a breadmaking class that came at the perfect time for me.  I had been baking bread on and off mostly using the no-knead recipe provided by Pátzcuaro resident Tancho at Rancho Canyon Cookbook.  My results were usually edible but I didn’t feel I had the kind of control I wanted, so I knew I wanted to learn more about the topic.  I’d had a couple of conversations, too, about the difficulties people had with the low gluten flour that is the only kind available here in Mazatlán. That’s cranberry raisin cinnamon at the top.

Low gluten flour is a challenge for bread bakers because the gluten is what gives bread the elasticity it needs to be able to rise properly.  Before I had gone to San Francisco in April I had mail ordered sourdough starter, wanting to see what I could do with sourdough, too.  I also bought some semolina and  wheat gluten flour to bring home, the semolina as an additive to my pizza dough and the wheat gluten flour to be used in some vegetarian sausages I intend to make. (Yes, I also mail-ordered vegetarian sausage casings, and bought a quantity of fennel seeds, too)

The bread making class was great – it was taught by Hector of Molika.  We made starter using red grapes.  We made many loaves of bread, regular white bread, multi-grain, rolls, and sourdough.  We learned how it should look and feel at various stages, and basically learned to relax and enjoy the process.  We learned to become good breadmakers we need to practice, and pay attention, and probably make a lot of mediocre bread before we can reliably make great bread.

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Whole Wheat

I‘ve been pretty successful… my best was a lovely whole wheat, but the cranberry-raisin-cinnamon was delicious and made wonderful French toast last weekend.  I have been keeping my starter alive just fine, and am having a lot of fun baking – and then eating my beautiful bread.

I brought back some yarn from my trip to the US in April, and I didn’t waste any time getting busy with it.  The first thing I started was a jacket-vest for our granddaughter, Consuelo.  It is so fun to make things for a little one – the projects go quickly because they are small!  The front and then back are below:

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Then I decided to start a new shawl.  I could hardly resist, once I saw this pattern on Knitty.  It’s a pattern that has a lot going on but once you’ve gone through it a few times it is pretty easy.  I am loving it so far.

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The yarn is a beautiful silk-bamboo-linen blend

 

Maybe I am saving the best news for last!  I got a bike!  Isn’t it great?  I just love it.  Disk brakes, shocks on the front, 27 speeds!  Why didn’t I get a bike when we first moved here?  It is a blast to explore the city on a sleepy Sunday morning and the rest of the week get some endorphins going zooming up and down the malecón every day.  I am having an absolute blast.  I have always enjoyed walking on the malecón, the 7 mile long path that follows the shore from Olas Altas to the Golden Zone, but the fun of riding up and down is even better!

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I’ll have fun outfitting it, too.  I think I need a basket on the front and a water bottle thing.  Gotta run now, just looking at that picture makes me want to go for a ride.  See ya!

 

More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in Mazatlán, México.

8 Comments
    1. Looks lovely and yeasty with that good chew and just a touch of crust at the edges. did I just describe myself or your bread photos?

      Love the bike with the enthusiasm tucked away in the panniers. Bike on!

      1. Zoe, you are a funny gal! Thanks for a smile.

    1. Wow, the bread looks yummy!

      Nancy, where did you get your bike? I’m bike shopping and not having a lot of luck. I want used but in good enough condition. Don’t need a lot of speeds anymore.

      What fun, the malecon will be here too. Yours is longer and better tho.

    1. Bread looks great. I have heard other people complaining about bread baking and the flours here; but I have had no problems baking bread, buns and pizza dough with the flour here. I bake some probably 3 times a week or so all winter long.
      Bike looks like fun, enjoy.

    1. The Capt and I were talking about making bread just last night! Now here you are to inspire me. Can’t wait to try that red grape starter. Maybe I’ll pick Brenda’s brain since she’s having no trouble with the flour. But I have noticed Mexican bread in general has a different texture, maybe that’s the lack of gluten.

      The shawl pattern looks beautiful. Good idea to have a shawl with some openwork in it, for these breezy but not really cold evenings when you don’t want to wrap up like a tamale but just need a little something. Hope you’ll model it when you’re done.

    1. The moon must be in some breadmaking cycle. Seems like everyone is giving it a try. I have been having good luck with several breads but the last one I have tried didn’t work out. I talked to King Arthur Flour and they tried to help me trouble shoot. It might be the non-fat dry milk powder that I used. It is best to use heat treated milk powder instead of just de-hydrated powder. So I tried their recipe without milk powder and had a problem with it yesterday but think I know what is wrong. Your cranberry bread looks fabulous. I sure wish someone here would teach a class.
      Billie

      1. Billie, I think you’re right, as I know a lot of people who have been baking bread recently, too. The class was great, Hector is a master baker and a fun guy. I haven’t made a lot of bread with milk but I will keep your words in mind when I do. The only decent flour I can get here is Tres Estrellas, no King Arthur. Oh well! I have enjoyed watching your bread efforts, too.

        Bliss, Maybe it’s blogger bread thing? Funny! I love the shawl, too. Plus I wanted something different, and it certainly is that!

        Brenda, We have a blogger bread theme going! Ha Ha! What brand of flour do you buy?

        Mexican Trailrunner, I bought the bike at Kelly’s bike shop. He has been in business here for more than 20 years and has some used bikes available. Unfortunately they didn’t have any that would fit me, so I ended up with a new one. I would think there’d be lots to choose from in Guadalajara- is that not the case? How long with the malecon be there when it is completed?

    1. Sorry I didn’t come back and answer you Nancy.
      I usually use La Rosa brand flour; but have used a few different brands with much the same results. I am not sure why people have trouble with the flour, it is definately different than flour NOB but seems to work fine for me. Bread, buns, pizza dough, cinnamon buns, etc. all seem to come out fine.
      What yeast do you use when not using a starter?

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