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RisenPhoenix

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2 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

And also I'm still really shit new at boundaries.  And still also really shit at in the beginning stages of communicating them.

FTFY. If someone talked about me that way, you'd defend me, so I'm defending you when someone talks about you that way, even when that someone is you and even if I use diplomacy as the defense.

 

Seriously, you are better at boundaries than you think, and are growing wicked* fast compared to a lot of people who start out setting boundaries.

 

 

*If you can say y'all I can use wicked as a modifier. 

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On 5/20/2020 at 11:09 AM, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

*If you can say y'all I can use wicked as a modifier. 

 

What can I say, I had six years of Texan rub off on me a bit.

 

---------

 

Last couple of days have been mostly uneventful.  Still some mild anxiety hanging around, but markedly less than I have been dealing with.  Still trying to take things easy, not throwing myself in front of moving freight trains of empath investment.  The only major work thing that can cause anxiety right now is trying to figure out what and when I'll be getting back in the lab.  It'll be soon, and for now it looks like mostly needed grunt work.  Not thrilled about it, but it needs to get done.  But also my boss has fully admitted that right now he's liking my role as more strategy-thinking-science planning than lab grunt, which is a step in the right direction that'll help in the future.  Mainly because its saving him time.  Which, you know, is the entire point of having a team is to delegate to do that and he's just figuring that out. 

 

And in GOOD Boss news, apparently my repeated beatings of "People have lives, you need to take that into account" have slowly wormed into his brain.  While he mentioned people maybe going into the lab on Monday (Memorial Day holiday), when I pointed out that the Chief Science Officer said "Yes, work if needed but still take that day somewhere," he quickly amended to "Yes, if people need to go in it would be only for 30 minutes to do the small thing and then leave."  Which is a massive step up, since he historically would have done the "Well if you're in already you should set up ALL THESE THINGS" and make people stay for hours.  Even his first report who's been working with him for years was shocked.

 

Workout-wise I hit November Project on Wednesday and this morning, plus I did Yoga Wednesday afternoon and last night.  My back is a little tight, so that's making things tricky/annoying, but otherwise I am less sore than I was expecting from NP.  Food has been okay, though not great.  Definitely a lot of bread and butter, some sweets.  A chunk of fatty things.  I weighed myself this morning and I was a bit high (214), but not unexpectedly so.  Even my quick stomach measurement of 35.75-36" was pretty much expected.  Between the food and the lack of workouts this last week, just some gain made sense.  I'll try to pare back the sweets this coming week.

 

This weekend I want to try making biscotti.  It's been on my list of things to try for a long time now, I have cream and chocolate so I can create dipped versions, and it lets me try making some not-typical cookies.  Granted, I'm not drinking coffee much these days, buuuuuuut I wanna make them anyway.  I also will probably try another yeast-bread attempt this weekend for no reason other than I want to.  I also read an Alton Brown banana oatmeal bread that I really want to try, too.  These are some of the many reasons I shifted to IF and also try sharing with my neighbor.

 

Plans for this weekend are completely chill and hermity.  The weather is supposed to be beautiful, so I'll go hiking, and might even try going to some trails north of the city or even lower New Hampshire.  If I do a legit mountain climb I wouldn't even need the ruck!  So maybe that'll be an option.  Also I expect I'll do a bunch of Animal Crossing because I'm clearly addicted now.  I played a bit last night with friends and visited their island.  It was more fun than I expected.  So apparently I'll be doing that now in the future.  Hopefully I'll get to a point where I can make my island prettier, though.  Right now it's a mess if people visit.

 

Anyway, time to shower and get that work thing going.  Bunch to do today.

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Glad you had a good time visiting your friend and that the boss seems to be starting to pick up on that whole work-life boundary thing. 😆

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6 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

And in GOOD Boss news, apparently my repeated beatings of "People have lives, you need to take that into account" have slowly wormed into his brain.  While he mentioned people maybe going into the lab on Monday (Memorial Day holiday), when I pointed out that the Chief Science Officer said "Yes, work if needed but still take that day somewhere," he quickly amended to "Yes, if people need to go in it would be only for 30 minutes to do the small thing and then leave."  Which is a massive step up, since he historically would have done the "Well if you're in already you should set up ALL THESE THINGS" and make people stay for hours.  Even his first report who's been working with him for years was shocked.

You are gonna be a LEGEND to all your coworkers.

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Yes, what Tank said.

 

Good for you on setting boundaries and taking steps to move your career in the direction you want. That is HUGE.

 

Biscotti sounds like a fun project. I'm considering yeast dough pastries to make since Dumbledore is making bread all the time. I think my next project is kolache. I used to get these from a bakery near campus when I was an undergrad. I've never made them. Should be interesting. I'd like to get more poppy seeds to make filling, but those have been missing from the stores for weeks. I wonder if that is a demand issue with everyone baking, or a supply chain issue?

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Liking the thread! I have been there with the crazy boss, glad that’s starting to go better.

 

If you wind up wanting any help with the yeasted bread, I might be able to help a little, I’ve been baking off and on for a year or so and have a little bit of a library of books on bread. Do you know what went wrong with the last attempt?

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21 hours ago, raptron said:

Glad you had a good time visiting your friend and that the boss seems to be starting to pick up on that whole work-life boundary thing. 😆


Thanks! And I miss you! Hopefully things get sorted soon and we can organize a nerd hike with the usual group. Also just saying the NP Zoom workouts are going well.... Often there’s an @AgentsSka as well. Just saying.....

 

18 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

You are gonna be a LEGEND to all your coworkers.

 

I’m trying SO HARD to not go yelling the fact from the rafters. I’m slightly working on the “public unity, private beatings disagreements” philosophy. I’m treading the line with one of his peers, but a combination of she was part of the department I was originally in and working closely with my boss means she understands. 
 

15 hours ago, Mistr said:

Yes, what Tank said.

 

Good for you on setting boundaries and taking steps to move your career in the direction you want. That is HUGE.


Work boundaries have been historically easy for me post-grad school. If things are on fire/have a deadline/a small push from me can make the group have great data I’ll work as long as needed. But my baselite became I’m in the building from 0830-1730. I’m  good with my time, give me tasks, I’ll get them done. But I’ve worked hard to get hobbies and a life (ish) post grad school and I will require more money to drop them. 

 

Quote

Biscotti sounds like a fun project. I'm considering yeast dough pastries to make since Dumbledore is making bread all the time. I think my next project is kolache. I used to get these from a bakery near campus when I was an undergrad. I've never made them. Should be interesting. I'd like to get more poppy seeds to make filling, but those have been missing from the stores for weeks. I wonder if that is a demand issue with everyone baking, or a supply chain issue?


I won’t lie, one big loss about never going to Texas again is the fact they had Kolache Factory stores everywhere and I loved them. Was not uncommon to sleep late and then grab some sausage and ehh place in the morning in visits. So if you manage to make them let me know so I can try!! And I bet the poppy seed thing is kind of a little of column a and little of column b thing. I am setting for more often in stores, which is nice though. 

 

 The biscotti are going to be attempted this afternoon. Little worried about creaming butter and sugar by hand but I’ll survive.  This morning’s early task was attempting a rosemary olive oil bread. It’s currently rising as I type. Results TBD. 

 

11 hours ago, PaulG said:

Liking the thread! I have been there with the crazy boss, glad that’s starting to go better.

 

If you wind up wanting any help with the yeasted bread, I might be able to help a little, I’ve been baking off and on for a year or so and have a little bit of a library of books on bread. Do you know what went wrong with the last attempt?

 

Thanks! I had been planning on actual challenges for this year but..... Life. At some point I should transition to my battle log or start a new one, but I guess this keeps me slightly grounded for now.

 

I had actually meant to reply to @Mistr a while back about things I knew went wrong (Don’t forget in an Assay Dev guy, Mistr. I also analyze where all the things go wrong always 😉). I definitely did not add enough flour the first go around. So the dough when I turned out was less ball, more sticky globby mess.  I course corrected but that was issue one. Second issue would potentially be the kneading, which is technique and also having a dough that’s not a sticky globby mess. Third would be the pan used, as well as the parchment paper I had on the pan. Fourth would be slightly over flouring the top of the loaves before they went in the oven. They rose fine, but seemed to deflate in the oven. Finally it could be the oven itself. 
 

So of these I can’t do anything about the pan and oven. (I mean I guess I could go buy a new pan but I’d rather avoid buying more things that I have serviceable option if for now. And I could go buy an oven thermometer to check the temp that way, but I’m okay trusting my oven since it’s been okay.)
 

Today’s rosemary bread I tried to correct the first issue. Before I turned out the dough I made sure it was a well incorporated ball. I’m still not sure how concerned I should be about over mixing at this point, which is most of my problem. I did as best as I could but I did also have to add so much more flour than the recipe called for, which makes sense as I added slightly more oil and the fresh rosemary was Dani from washing and added some water. Also I added a lot of rosemary. I did turn it or, try kneading, saw the inside was extra sticky, put it back in the bowl to add more flour, and mixed some more. Plus some more while kneading as, uh, needed. Dough after that seemed pretty content and bouncy when poked. Just snuck a look at the dough and it seems to be rising well after an hour. Going to give it another 30 minutes just to let the year do their thing. Since I was storing them in the fridge they are probably slightly slightly sleepy (I should look up the generation time of year. I’d guess something like 30-40 minutes, but that’s based more on my bacterial background. Yeast being more complex could take much longer, but they do certainly grow faster than other nuclear cell types. There’sa reason they became a model system.)

 

 So far, so good. The recipe I’m using says to create one loaf from all this, which I could do, but I am going to split the dough and make two. The instructions from the last recipe included how  to make loss and loaves so I have a good idea on how to split, flatten, and roll the loaves as needed. This is all because I owe my neighbor some bread after she gave me some amazing garlic and onion focaccia last week. And to get some bread out of the house. And because if this works well I’m  doomed since I buy this type of bread whenever I can. And with my hands I can add even more rosemary. Mwa hahahahaha!

 

 Some RP Brain/anxiety stuff behind the spoiler to spare people my ramblings:

Spoiler

My anxiety was oddly high this morning while I was making the bread. Usually when I’m working with my hands it’s fairly easy to ignore, but it kept creeping in. On top of that my brain really just kept floating to my Ex (Ha, autocorrect has learned to capitalize it). Over really small triggers and thoughts, too, so not something I was actively really looking for  and for the life of me I could not figure out why the hell my brain could not let go and was retreading very old ground  and then it dawned on me  

 

Today is her birthday. 
 

So that made me kind of sad thinking and reminiscing slightly about the things we would do to celebrate in the past. And then things we did for my birthday. And how they aren’t going to happen ever again.
 

Logically I know I’ll find someone new. And I’ll do those things with them. And it’ll be just as amazing and borderline insane as the last few years have been. But right now it still fucking hurts more than I was expecting. Maybe if the no contact thing had give gone according to plan this wouldn’t be quite as mentally rough in me. But there were some logistical things she needed to figure out from me so that was broken much earlier than I expected/anticipated/wanted. Still not talking regularly at all, but that crack hasn’t helped the very freshly poured concrete. So now I’m torn on if I ignore today or do the mature thing of wish her a happy birthday. Especially considering it was around this time last year this saga of The  breakup really did start bubbling.

 

 So yea brain is being dumb and filled with a lot of feels  I really preferred being the hermiting robot I think. Welp. Too late to go back now I guess. Stupid Feels.

 

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Mistakes on bread update: Lightly dusted loaves with flour while the oven preheat. Did not slice immediately. Transferred the loaves to rest on top of oven. When the oven Beeped went to slice with my Very Sharp Knife. Top of the loaves was tough and didn’t want to slice. Probably because the dusted flour had pulled enough liquid to make the top tough. When I finally managed SOME slices, on loaf seemed to immediately deflate. 
 

Welp. Next time I might not try to slice these loaves because they looked beautiful before. Or if I do I’ll dust and then immediately slice. 
 

Progress. 
 

Edit to add:

 

House smells wonderful. But the loaves are cooked but still not beautifully browned.
 

At this point I suspect it’s the flour on top. The next time I bake I won’t use it. The soda bread loaf doesn’t have that problem, but since it has direct contact with the loaf pan it makes sense. But even the top of that when I cover it with oats gets a nice color. I’d assume they would also block things, but maybe the pan and the residual heat from the sides helps crisp the top. 
 

The other option I realized might be the fact my oven rack that I use is the second highest setting. So maybe it’s a matter of having the loaves in a hotter, drier location than a lower rack. 
 

Going to let these loaves cool a smidge before I try cutting into them. A little worried if I go too early they will end up getting stale, so letting that water stick around a bit to get locked before I try them. 
 

But oh my god the house smells amazing and filled with bread and rosemary. 

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52 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Mistakes on bread update: Lightly dusted loaves with flour while the oven preheat. Did not slice immediately. Transferred the loaves to rest on top of oven. When the oven Beeped went to slice with my Very Sharp Knife. Top of the loaves was tough and didn’t want to slice. Probably because the dusted flour had pulled enough liquid to make the top tough. When I finally managed SOME slices, on loaf seemed to immediately deflate. 
 

Welp. Next time I might not try to slice these loaves because they looked beautiful before. Or if I do I’ll dust and then immediately slice. 
 

Progress. 


Hard to tell what went wrong here without photos / a recipe. When you say slicing, were you slicing the bread post-bake? Or do you mean that you were scoring the loaves to prep them for the oven?

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28 minutes ago, PaulG said:

Hard to tell what went wrong here without photos / a recipe. When you say slicing, were you slicing the bread post-bake? Or do you mean that you were scoring the loaves to prep them for the oven?

 

Definitely meant scoring the bread.  Only time the knife touched it after the dough split and the cutting into after it baked.

 

As for the rest:

 

The recipe used today is this: ROSEMARY OLIVE OIL BREAD

 

The few alterations I made: I only have All Purpose flour (which would also explain The Flattening a bit, given it'll have less protein/gluten than proper bread flour), I added a smidge more oil, and about 1.5 times the fresh rosemary.  And I skipped the egg wash for the biscotti that need the eggs later today.  Also the recipe calls for making a single, circular loaf.   I could have done that really easily, but since I wanted to give some to my neighbor I did not.  Otherwise I was following things closely.  Which I guess means I was not really following things closely.  (Look, I'm solidly an R&D Scientist, which means I let a lot of wobble happen as long as I can document where the wobbles happening happen and I can reasonably explain any variance that might occur.  Also I will blame aikido and say it's me going with the flow when weird things happen.  Yea.  Yea that.) 

 

Photos:

 

Spoiler

 

Dough post-kneading and rising (1.5h rise)

100494218_10100454554356697_919443177841

 

Loaves made once I punched down and split the dough, post rise (~55 minutes)

99358431_10100454554381647_5731392865897

 

Fresh out of the 400F oven (~25 minutes):

99095868_10100454554406597_8679113519112

 

Cooled and sliced into bread:

99103617_10100454554431547_2088535823157

 

 

Like, over all it isn't terrible at all.  This would make a great dipping bread.  It has a solid crust, a nice soft interior, and tastes pretty damn good.  It can be BETTER.  But also not a total flaming pile of dung.

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3 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Loaves made once I punched down and split the dough, post rise (~55 minutes)


I have a couple things that might be helpful but don’t quite have time to type up yet. There are several reasons for the lack of browning (it’s not the flour though). But just real quick, to help narrow down what you need, are you leaving the dough to rise a second time once you de-gas (punch down) and split it? Or are you throwing it straight in the oven?

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19 minutes ago, PaulG said:


I have a couple things that might be helpful but don’t quite have time to type up yet. There are several reasons for the lack of browning (it’s not the flour though). But just real quick, to help narrow down what you need, are you leaving the dough to rise a second time once you de-gas (punch down) and split it? Or are you throwing it straight in the oven?


I let it have a second rise. And it does get a pretty good second rise. 
 

———

 

Unrelated to the bread, I went grocery shopping and they had almost the entire frozen veggie section stocked for the first time in nearly 3 months. So I took the opportunity to stock up on all the frozen veggies I had dwindled down to nothing on my freezer. 
 

Also when I got home I started to make the biscotti. We’ll see how they turn out, but they at least also smell great. 

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3 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

What the hell am I, chopped liver? 

;) 

 

Not chopped liver, just someone with a small human. ;)

 

Also Update on the Biscotti:

 

98447534_10100454687584707_6165756845710

 

FUCKING AMAZING.

 

I am very pleased with myself.  Pleased enough that I dared make a small cup of coffee for dunking purposes.  I honestly think, now having tried both with and without coffee that I prefer the non-chocolate one.  Just a really nice almond flavor and consistency.  The chocolate ones aren't bad, but just the chocolate is a bit distracting.  If I wanted to make them chocolate, I think I'll just add cocoa powder to them instead.  But otherwise.... this is a recipe I will be playing with for a while.

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Those biscotti look great!

 

10 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

I definitely did not add enough flour the first go around. So the dough when I turned out was less ball, more sticky globby mess.  I course corrected but that was issue one. Second issue would potentially be the kneading, which is technique and also having a dough that’s not a sticky globby mess.


Since you mentioned you’re a scientist who likes grams, hopefully you’ll appreciate that I’m about to do kind of a data dump here. Fingers crossed!

 

The first thing I noticed that often causes issues for folks, is the recipe calls for you to keep working flour into the dough as you knead. It’s doing that primarily to make up for the fact that the recipe is making you measure by volume rather than weight; since flour compacts very well in measuring cups, measuring it by volume will yield inconsistent amounts. That will make the hydration level of your bread inconsistent. Which matters because it affects the bread a lot: a high-hydration dough, like focaccia (about 78-80%), has a light, airy crumb with tons of big bubbles. A low-hydration dough, like a bagel (about 48-50%), has a very tight, dense crumb. The recipe compounds that issue by then having you work in a random amount of flour based on how the dough feels: unless you’ve been making that particular recipe for months or years on end, and you know exactly how it’s supposed to feel as you work it, it’s a tough way to work. Because of those issues, most bakers have moved to measuring ingredients by weight in fixed quantities.

 

To keep the hydration stable, it’s also often best to knead without adding any flour. You’re right that it always looks like a horrible, sticky mess at first — that’s because the flour has barely absorbed any water yet. Dough often looks incredibly wet and sticky, or incredibly dry, when you first start kneading. But if you set aside your fears and just start kneading the sticky mess, you’ll usually find it turning into a smooth, cohesive dough after a few minutes.

 

Generally, the wetter the dough is, the more difficult it is to work. Your recipe’s starting levels of flour and water make a very high-hydration starting dough, about 80%. It’s difficult to knead such wet doughs (most bakers use special techniques to do it), so you’re likely working in a bunch of additional flour and bringing it down into a relatively low range — which is why the consistency of your bread is a little bit tight and dense. If you like it that way, certainly feel free to keep going with it; but if you want something airier and closer to artisan French-style rosemary bread, you could also aim for a hydration level of 65-70% at the get-go and just knead without extra flour. Say, 350g flour and 230g water; the rest of the recipe would be exactly the same.
 

You don’t need to be worried about over-mixing by the way. Most beginning bakers worry about over-mixing, and they under-mix as a result. It’s very, very difficult to over-mix a dough when you’re working by hand.

 

As far as your crust, I promise it’s not your flour. If you click through some photos of bread, you’ll find that a dusting of uncooked flour on baked bread is fairly common, and that your loaf can still come out well browned. The issue of crust paleness and toughness usually comes down to one big thing: home ovens. Commercial deck ovens bake their bread on big metal decks or baking stones, and they inject steam into the oven during the first part of the bake. The decks/stones provide a huge wallop of heat to the dough, causing the gas inside to immediately expand and puff up the bread; then steam is injected, which gelatinizes the starch on the outside of the dough. Gelatinized starch browns much better than loose, unhydrated flour. The steam also keeps the crust pliable, allowing the bread to puff and keep an open crumb until the crust sets and begins to brown.
 

Without a hot baking surface or steam, the dough’s crust dries and forms a skin too quickly, preventing the dough from expanding. Any scores in the top won’t open, and because the crust hasn’t gelatinized properly, it hardens without ever turning very brown.

 

Of course, in a home oven we have neither decks nor steam injection. But the best way to solve both issues at once is to bake your bread in an oven-safe pot that’s been preheating inside the oven at a very high heat, like 450-500F. Do you have a cast iron Dutch oven, or pot or skillet? If so, that’s the best material, as iron has a large specific heat capacity (providing that wallop) and the enclosed space of a pot will trap steam from the dough itself. If you don’t have cast iron, most oven-safe pots will do — I baked my first loaf in a stainless steel saucepan with the lid on.

 

If you’re interested in taking a look at how baking bread this way works — from someone who’s better at writing about it than me — Serious Eats has a great article, complete with recipe, that takes you through the process with minimal fuss. Sorry to take up so much space on your thread, hopefully this is of some help with your next loaf. It probably looks like a lot of info, but if you focus on nothing other than kneading without flour and baking in a preheated pot, I think you’ll see a big change next time you bake.

 

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11 hours ago, PaulG said:

Those biscotti look great!

 

They taste even better. This is the recipe for record keeping. Small changes of I used presliced almonds, my brown sugar was a substitute of white sugar + Maple syrup (15mL per 200g white sugar), and I zested a mandarin orange since I had no lemon and probably like it better that way. 

 

Quote

 Sorry to take up so much space on your thread, hopefully this is of some help with your next loaf. It probably looks like a lot of info, but if you focus on nothing other than kneading without flour and baking in a preheated pot, I think you’ll see a big change next time you bake.


Dude, that is all amazing. Thank you!!

 

The first loaf I attempted did have the cup of water trick to create steam in the oven, but those loaves were ghosts. Maybe the parchment paper I used is to blame for blocking things. And I’ll see what I can do for pre heated things. I don’t really have an oven-capable pot, so I may have to get some heavier duty pans to work with. Also I’ll try to transfer things to whatever preheated vessel after the second rise.
 

 As for kneading the globby mess, should I just really mix well with a spoon and let it sit a bit  before turning it out? I don’t have a super great space for kneading so I use my table and just wondering how to not make a massive mess everywhere. If that’s possible. With the extra flour I can survive. But a higher hydration bread might be tricky. Also should I still flour the surface lightly?

 

 Good luck Paul. You’ll not have to deal with all my technical pokes. :P

 

—————

 

I decided that I’m going to go on a hike at a new reservation today. It’ll be a Rick because it’s mostly level it seems, so the added weight will be nice. It’ll be warmer tomorrow, but I figure this way there will be less people around, hopefully. But my visit from last weekend did score me a real mark, so I can use that rather than an NP buff. Makes things easier, especially when I try and take it off when no one is around. 
 

Also weighed myself just to see. 211.4. Down, which makes sense, and with my eating plans the next week planned to be a smidge tighter, I should get down again. Also I’ll be heading into work again starting this week (as needed, mission critical things only for now), which will probably take me from 0700-1300 with literally no food possible. So that might actually help. Also there’s potential now that in the next few weeks the dojo will open for weapons practices as kata. Might pitch that at the board meeting next weekend. That’ll make things tricky with IF, but I’ll figure it out. 
 

Really my biggest concern is given how things are, I may end up working very long hours for the next few weeks depending on what mentions I need to be a part of now. So that’ll be interesting based on meetings + lab work. 
 

Anyway. Gonna go buy some turnips in Animal crossing and then head to the woods. 

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Getting out of doors?! Sounds awesome. In the Seattle area, the state parks seem to be a sea of people, tough to navigate. You’re giving me hope that it may be possible to actually see a tree.
 

4 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

The first loaf I attempted did have the cup of water trick to create steam in the oven, but those loaves were ghosts. Maybe the parchment paper I used is to blame for blocking things.

 

Probably not the parchment paper’s fault, it’s too thin to inhibit much. More likely it’s the sheet pan itself. Aluminum is a good conductor of heat, but has a low specific heat capacity so it doesn’t store much energy; that means even if you preheated the pan it doesn’t have much to give. Oven air functions similarly, it’s a poor heat conductor. This means to give that wallop of heat, you need a lot of high heat capacity material as close to your bread as possible. This is why you hear about home bakers loading up their ovens with cast iron, baking stones/steels, even big chains and lava rocks to store as much heat as possible, so it radiates to the bread quickly.
 

That, and the water; the cup of water trick doesn’t work with all ovens (gas ovens have to vent for safety reasons so they won’t hold steam). Even in an electric oven, you have to generate enough steam to fill that interior cubic footage and actually effect the bread, that means lots of water that’s already boiling when it goes into the oven (since oven air is ALSO a poor heat conductor, you can’t count on it to heat water effectively). Most bakers that use that trick preheat a baking stone on one rack, and then keep a half-sheet pan or roasting pan on a rack below the stone. When everything’s preheated and they load the bread into the oven, they also pour a bunch of boiling water into the pan.
 

I hesitate to recommend this method because 1. It’s dangerous, lots of moving pieces for you to potentially burn yourself on, and it risks you scalding yourself if you forget about all that steam and open the oven to check your bake; 2. owning big stones you have to load and unload from your oven is a PITA; and 3. it doesn’t work as well as the pot method. The pot not only traps steam, it also has the advantage of storing lots of heat energy and transferring it very quickly to your bread via radiation. You are essentially creating a tiny, very efficient commercial oven inside your normal one.

 

4 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

I don’t really have an oven-capable pot, so I may have to get some heavier duty pans to work with.


You might be surprised what’s oven-safe. My first pot I baked bread in was this POS. It didn’t store a ton of heat but it did just fine trapping steam. Even if a pot isn’t great, as long as it’s not Teflon and doesn’t have any plastic or wood materials, you can probably throw it in the oven.

 

If you want to throw money at the problem, you can do it pretty cheap. Cast iron Dutch ovens work. For my bread, I eventually settled on a Lodge cast iron combo cooker: nice and heavy, and you can load your bread onto the lid portion without risking burning your hands, then throw it all into the oven lid side down. They were $35-40 before covid; I think Amazon is trying to upsell them now. But I think Target still sells them and hasn’t changed their price.

 

4 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

As for kneading the globby mess, should I just really mix well with a spoon and let it sit a bit  before turning it out? I don’t have a super great space for kneading so I use my table and just wondering how to not make a massive mess everywhere. If that’s possible. With the extra flour I can survive. But a higher hydration bread might be tricky. Also should I still flour the surface lightly?


You want an unfloured surface. (Good rule of thumb: flour doesn’t become okay to use to prevent sticking until after the first rise, once you’re ready to divide and/or shape the loaves.)
 

You can use a spoon and let it sit a bit. A lot of bakers mix, then let the dough hang out for 20 minutes before kneading. They call this stage “autolyse”, but really it’s just a way to let the flour hydrate and become a little easier to work with. 
 

You can also mix with a spatula, or your hands. I eventually got tired of washing dough off things and now I use one hand. I have one wet hand to mix (read: get covered in) the dough, one dry hand (that never touches the dough) to keep my mixing bowl steady, and I have a $3 dough scraper to scrape the dough off my wet hand and throw it back in the bowl.
 

Once you’re ready to knead, you can turn out the dough onto an unfloured counter or table, but you can also just knead the dough in its bowl. It will start very sticky, but your goal is to knead until it becomes much smoother and stops giving you trouble. It will happen, promise. I encourage you to take a look at those links I gave you to kneading videos above; the guy in them just works the dough, scraping it off his fingers when he needs to, and the dough eventually goes smooth. That’s what you want.

 

Dough is always kind of sticky by the way, which is why bakers develop a way of handling it where they work quickly and mainly use their fingertips.

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6 hours ago, PaulG said:

Getting out of doors?! Sounds awesome. In the Seattle area, the state parks seem to be a sea of people, tough to navigate. You’re giving me hope that it may be possible to actually see a tree.

 

The Boston hadn’t done the full lock down, so I’ve been able to get out nearly every weekend to ruck some woods. For the most part people have been fairly well behaved. 
 

The hike I went on today.... eh. It was okay. Lots more people than I like to deal with and the trail was okay but nothing I had to work at. I went to this new place at the recommendation of my friend and I realized  about half way through the home that he and I look for drastically different things in trails. Mainly I’m insane and want to push myself hard. 
 

Some nice views, and I’m sure there could be some tougher sections, but it’s clearly super popular so I’ll probably avoid it in the future. Win some and lose some. Wish I had packed the extra bricks @Kishi used for our ruck years ago (yes I moved houses and kept the bricks).

 

Quote

You might be surprised what’s oven-safe. My first pot I baked bread in was this POS. It didn’t store a ton of heat but it did just fine trapping steam. Even if a pot isn’t great, as long as it’s not Teflon and doesn’t have any plastic or wood materials, you can probably throw it in the oven.

 

If you want to throw money at the problem, you can do it pretty cheap. Cast iron Dutch ovens work. For my bread, I eventually settled on a Lodge cast iron combo cooker: nice and heavy, and you can load your bread onto the lid portion without risking burning your hands, then throw it all into the oven lid side down. They were $35-40 before covid; I think Amazon is trying to upsell them now. But I think Target still sells them and hasn’t changed their price.


So the one pot and lid I have are only good up to 350F. Well, the lid is in any case, since that’s the weak spot. So for now I may just have to make due with What I got. But I have eyed that Lodge combo many times in the past. If I don’t get a proper Dutch oven then I’m definitely go that route. 
 

———————

 

Speaking is cooking implements, I went to Home Depot on the fly and bought a grill. Small thing, two burner, propane. Tomorrow I shall make burgers on it. And I say I went in the fly, but really I’ve been planning on doing this for weeks and going back and forth about the practicality/how terrible am I for putting a grill on my porch. Not supposed to have grills quite this close to the house, officially, but also I realized that growing up we had a huge grill much closer to the house. Mine just also is thirty feet higher than that. But whatever. I did also buy tools, a grill mat, and a spare for extinguisher to be extra safe. Put it together and am quite pleased. 
 

Also while at Home Depot I think I found the patio furniture I am going to buy for getting the porch more comfortable. Right now it only has folding chairs (though one is a folding rocking chair). The set is actually comfortable to sit in, the single chair I saw is a rocking chair with an ottoman, and there’s a matching table if I want it. Was not expecting to find something like that, or find something I like and think is comfy, so now I’m playing money shuffling to figure out how to get it. My company ESPP pays out this well, so I may use some of those funds for that rather than putting it all into my emergency fund like I was planning on. I’m bad at spending money on myself, even for large quality of like improvers. Too much time as a grad student or being unemployed where every dollar was precious and luxuries weren’t allowed unless I budgeted very long term for them.  But I liked that stuff, and I guess functionally the ESPP acts as a long term savings plan anyway for me. So I should actually enjoy my money for once rather than being a Scrooge McDuck. Though I’d kill for a giant pool of swimmable coins...

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Today is my first day back in my work building since March 13th. 
 

I also had a long bout of insomnia last night. 
 

I also need to fit two experiments in along with two back to back morning meetings. 
 

And I need to be out of the building by 1PM. 
 

Today is starting a bit rough. 

 

 

Yesterday I fed to not care about my IF schedule. Partially since my new work hours mean I might not get home until 1:30 in the afternoon now when I’m in the lab, partially because my biscotti were starting me in the face. 
 

Also yesterday I bought all the patio furniture and cleaned up some of my spare spaces. The patio furniture cost a pretty penny, but will drastically improve my quality of like this summer once it arrives and I put it together. The fact I’ll have a porch couch I can lay down on again is great. I predict many afternoon naps. 
 

And last night was my inaugural grill usage! I didn’t blow up my house! I bought some buns and burgers and pickles and sweet potato fries. Made bacon, sliced some smoky gouda. Also offered to make a burger for my downstairs neighbor who was working on the porch directly under me. She produced sliced tomatoes, Home grown lettuce, avocado, and wine. We proceeded to talk on my porch over dinner and wine for something like 2 or 3 hours. This resulted in me drinking more wine than I expected and may have contributed to the insomnia. But it was fun. I suspect that’ll happen more with the summer approaching and the new patio furniture. 
 

Hokay. Enough avoiding it. Time to get ready for work. 
 

Wearing real pants again is going to be word. But I at least know I fit into them. (I know because I checked yesterday to be safe.)

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5 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Also offered to make a burger for my downstairs neighbor who was working on the porch directly under me. She produced sliced tomatoes, Home grown lettuce, avocado, and wine

 

 

I fully expect a dumbwaiter system to be installed soon to facilitate futher summertime culinary sharings with downstairs neighbor.

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57 minutes ago, bigm141414 said:

I fully expect a dumbwaiter system to be installed soon to facilitate futher summertime culinary sharings with downstairs neighbor.

 

Oh.  Hm.  Could do.

 

Or she could just walk up the stairs to my porch.  Which is what happened.  And is easier.

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7 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Also offered to make a burger for my downstairs neighbor who was working on the porch directly under me. She produced sliced tomatoes, Home grown lettuce, avocado, and wine. We proceeded to talk on my porch over dinner and wine for something like 2 or 3 hours.

I'm trying very, very hard not to read too much into this.

 

 

I hope work went ok. I realize as I type this it's roughly the time you said you had to be out of the building.

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53 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

I'm trying very, very hard not to read too much into this.

 

Ha.  Fair.  But really, don't need to.  She and I are both on the recent Breakup Bus, live alone, and are in similar fields.  And then we started doing a bake share to not eat all of our creations. Last night was a rare combination of I was pleased to use my grill for the first time and wanting to show off, had a lot of food, and also would have felt super guilty to cook literally above her head while not offering anything.

 

Sometimes I can be neighborly.  It has been known to happen.  Did this a bunch with my last neighbor, too. 

 

53 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

I hope work went ok. I realize as I type this it's roughly the time you said you had to be out of the building.

 

Mostly went fine.  The best thing about my unemployment history is it has given me the ability to just get back in the lab and go.  Apparently most other people have been having issues with the lack of being in the lab.  I just... walked in and started.  Most of my delays were having to make things I thought were already pre-made before the pandemic and having to get stuff from someone else.  Plus a few equipment hunts.

 

Downside is my boss is having a meeting with me at 4:30 this afternoon.  Which means I'm working a long day.  Because I can't really just shut off most of the time between a few other things.  Brain needs to keep moving, otherwise I just do a FULL shut down.  And I got stuffs to do.  Ah well.  I did throw together some more bread while I made lunch, though.  Should be good for lunches the rest of the week...

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I am currently drinking a cup of coffee.

 

It's not quite the first cup in a month (I had some while visiting my friend), but it IS the first cup I've had during the week in nearly a month.  I'm a little concerned about how my body will handle it, but my brain needed a boost.  And a biscotti.

 

This week has been weird for me.  Besides being a four day work week, I also have this as my first "back in the lab" week.  Tuesday morning started with me being at work at 0700 to collect and gather things.  Wednesday I got to stay home.  This morning I was in for 5 more hours.  Tomorrow I'll stay home again.  Part of me is trying to figure out how to scedule myself now.  I am a morning person, but I could use lab work to zen out.  When my brain gave up on paperwork, I'd usually find some task in the lab to fill some time.  So my early morning was usualy planning, mid morning to early afternoon lab work, then more paperwork and incidental lab work.  I'm not allowed to do that now.  I'm given access to the building between 07:00 and 13:00.  If I want more time, I have to come in earlier.  I don't mind earlier, but I am finding it tricky to get myself back to task when I get home. 

 

Also this week my body just feels off.  Not sure if it's the long weekend, or the going back in, allergies, crappy eating, some alcohol, or what.  Yesterday, I skipped NP because a night of insomnia.  During lunch I did yoga, but afterwards my body and brain just full-out stopped.  I actually passed out on my couch and only woke up because of the alarm on my phone I had set for the now-postponed SpaceX flight.  If I hadn't done that I probably would have slept for many, many hours.  I also slept fine last night, which means I really was feeling off to not have the nap screw things up.  I'm supposed to do yoga tonight, it's been warned as a Hard Class, and there's a part of me that wants to skip it for some of my own gentle stretching/mobility.  Only for me to screw it up tomorrow morning with NP.

 

Dunno.  Just feeling off and I can't quite put my finger on it.  Anxiety is there but lessened, so I guess going into the lab was somewhat helpful.  My IF cycle I had to shift from 12-8 to 1-9, given I'm going to be in the lab at least that late, but that's going well.  I'm eating better (currently making pulled chili chicken and brining chicken in pickle juice to be grilled later), more or less, and trying to watch how many junky carbs I'm taking in.  Veggies are actually not getting rationed since the store trip had many, many veggies I could stock up on again.  Just.... meh.  Brains are dumb.  Bodies are dumb.  And I really can't wait for the weekend.

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