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A hot day at Tekniska, meeting friends. 

Rained a lot, but 5 km away was dry. Very strange cloud. 

How does Laleh come up with some of the stuff? Simple, sometimes sounding not even finished, but effective and unique. 

I met a person who ran a marathon and did 300 km biking. Props!

 

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Here is the basic recipe:

The measures are in baker’s %

Levain:

95 bread flour

5 medium rye flour

50 water

80 starter

Mix and leave 12 hours at room temperature

 

To make the dough:

40 bread flour

60 whole wheat flour

76.6 water

0.16 instant yeast

2.53 salt

40 levain

 

Method:

  1. mix
  2. ferment for 2 hours
  3. preshape
  4. rest for 30 min
  5. shape
  6. proof for 1 to 1 1/2 hours
  7. bake for 35 min at 235C – adjust depending on altitude

 

 

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image

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This time it went a bit on overload. It got slightly out of hand.

4 kilograms of dough. Hm. Had to divide it in two batches, and mix it with an hour difference, because wont fit in the oven.

It is a nice San Francisco sourdough recipe, though, with 72% hydration and with a levain starter.

Levain:

365 flour

185 water

300 stiff starter

And here is the final dough:

2.1 kg flour

1.55 kg water

55 g salt

levain from above

Nice. but I misread a bit the instructions, so the actual baking time is calculated for 5 am tomorrow morning. The cat wakes me up at 5 am anyway, so tomorrow i will wake up just on time. :)

Here are some pictures of the dough during the resting process.

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Fast baguette. Advanced baking and pastry.

Ok, this was a few days ago. My first take on a fast 70% hydration baguette.

525g flour

370 water

½ tsp yeast

10g salt

 

It looks like boobs, I know. For a first try, it was quite nice. I just didn’t have the baguette tray at the time, so I ended up baking the baguette in a round pan. Hahaha.

What I learned is that:

  • it is very important to avoid the temptation to put more flour, even if the dough seems wet. It gets better after the floor time.
  • it is important to keep an eye on the temperature – 23C is more than enough for the dough to raise well; before I used to put much warmer water, and the result was an uncontrollably fast raising dough and a big loss of flavor.
  • it is important how the final dough is shaped and how firmly it is rolled.

 

 

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Have you ever wondered what a toddler can teach you?

It is true that you can teach a toddler a thing or two, or at least you can try. But the lessons you get from a toddler are priceless.

 

Here are some lessons, beyond the usual ‘sleep is priceless’ crap. It is true, though, that after having a kid, one starts wondering ‘what the heck was I doing with all the time i had before I had the kid’. But it is too late to wonder now, eh? :)

Lesson 1:  tantrums experience

Yea, yea, tantrums. Tons of literature, of course, everyone has their opinion on how to deal with them. Not a pretty sight at all. Right?

Well, wait a second. Look around your world and start counting the tantrums the grown-ups have. ‘I don’t want to do that’, ‘I don’t like this food’, ‘I am too tired’… in reality, the truth is, that grown-ups have not learned how to deal with tantrums, but have learned how to ignore them.

Well. This does not fly with a toddler. In a toddler tantrum situation you can’t ignore it – can’t really walk away, cant say ‘deal with it!’ and you can’t just do nothing. The only thing to remember is that you as a grown up have 20 – 30 more years of experience of throwing tantrums than your toddler. Good luck with that. Throwing a tantrum over a tantrum does not work. Repeat: does not work.

Lesson 2:  master of distraction

‘Oh, dear. You are playing with my phone. Oh look – a birdie! (gimme that thing NOW!)’.

Ha, good one. Mastering the art of coming up with distractions is crucial. Hundreds of times a day distractions will come handy. And sometimes they would wear off. So the set of distractions has to be carefully maintained, filtered, renewed.

But wait, this is not something you learn from a toddler. Distractions are a very common event in our lives. Whether it is us distracting ourselves from something important or unimportant, whether it is a distraction called to avoid another person’s opinion.. it is all there. Toddlers are probably a year away from mastering the art of distractions themselves.

Lesson 3: ‘do not trick the baby’, they say

Cheap trickery with babies is not always cheap. Let’s take this example of a toddler not wanting to eat. There you sit, with a spoon full of food – who knows what tasteless mush it is, anyway – and a toddler nodding their head in all directions. There are a few options, but you choose to find a way and shove the spoon in the toddler’s mouth somehow. Guess what’s next:

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaapppppchoeeeewwwwwwww!

And the food flies around and sticks to everything. You laugh like a madman. The baby wins the battle.

 

Lesson 4:  poo smells, farts are a bliss

It is what it is: the essence of human nature. Some even say it’s the meaning of life. In reality, toddlers are honest about it.  There is nothing wrong with going around farting. For all I know, i have seen toddlers propelled by farts and this way crawling or walking faster because of them.

Farts are fun, but every funny thing has to come to some grand finale. Poo smells. I wonder why does it have to. Wouldn’t it have been so much better if it could smell nice, or if it could be used as a fuel to take your car to work and back? But no, instead, it has to be a pile of useless crap. I protest! (And, for the record, i didn’t learn this from a toddler either. Mine smells way worse, but that is a whole different story.)

Lesson 5: if you didn’t know what that button does

It turns out that electronics have much more functionality than expected (probably more than even mentioned in the manual), and toddlers are there to show you. Every once in a while i find myself slapping myself on the forehead and saying ‘ha, i didn’t know this button turns on this feature of my tv! Nice!’. Or the phone. Or the washing machine.

Quite useful, really. Listen to the toddler. They may not be able to talk, but will certainly show you the way forward.

———————

Time to sleep now. Who has time for blogging…

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When I think about it – I have always been interested in food. Even in the old days of cheese, bread and beans, I was still loitering around the kitchen, trying to see what’s cooking.

Now when I think about it – about 10 years ago I really got into cooking actively, and tried to produce edible results. Most of it was failure, but there was always someone who was around to test my food.

Sometime in mid 2000’s I got into baking. Buying my first bread machine was fun: I sent an email to someone on Craig’s list about their bread machine and we agreed to meet in the afternoon in front of a local restaurant. As I went there and sat on a bench waiting, I started observing the people. It took a while, I think I waited about half an hour or so, and no one came with a bread machine. Eventually I noticed an old lady sitting on another bench waiting patiently. Eventually I went and asked if she had a bread machine for sale. She looked at me very puzzled, with a lot of mistrust and asked how I knew about it. I said it was me who was interested in it, and she said she expected another old lady, not a guy in his 20’s. I got the machine, and went home, a bit puzzled myself.

My parent’s reaction wasn’t really far off. After all, “cooking + men = trouble” kind of mentality was widely spread in their generation. It took about 5 years to change, anyway.

So, I started with a very simple bread machine. It was 1 litter, not who knows how good, but it was producing edible bread.

Eventually, after a few years I got another one – a Tefal XXL – it was much better, and it was getting great results.

Then I got interested in what the secret was of making this soft and great-smelling bread. I started reading on bread making, and I was confused for a very long time, before I decided to take on a half-automated way of making bread. I bought a fairly cheap but OK standup mixer and started using it for kneading the dough.

I found a nice manual online about sourdough – a very old-looking site by Mike Avery called sourdoughhome.com. Mike has great advice on baking and he explains the process in detail. He used to own bakeries and has a great deal of experience in bread making.

Anther book I use is “Beard on bread” – a great manual on how to make variety of breads with yeast.

Then I found another site, which is absolutely brilliant – weekendbakery.com. It even has videos on how to do certain parts of the baking process.

Only then I started making bread by hand – from start to finish.

Nowadays, it seems quite fun to bake with all kinds of mixes and to experiment with the ingredients and to control the taste…

It did take almost 10 years, though. No idea if the 10,000 hour rule is valid or not, but it took about this much to get consistent results.

If anyone wants a bread, drop me a line. :)

 

Category: Cooking  One Comment

There are two main zones of influence in the world nowadays: government influence and charity influence.

The reality is bluntly obvious: we have government sponsored gun production  (if you can think of a country which does not produce guns and ammunitions, let me know), and on the other hand we have charity organizations which try to do good by collecting pennies off the streets and by pouring them into areas which need it.

Something here does not make sense. The governments (I am not only talking about US, it is pretty much any government) have almost unlimited access to tax payers money to invest into the war industry, and the return of investment is known to be quite big. It has been known for ages that war makes money and gives people something to do, so the money spins in a natural way. War gives an immediate profit; education takes time and gives a greater but delayed profit.

Charities, on the other hand, no matter how popular and powerful they are (and I am not talking only about Gates organization, it is pretty much any charity) have much smaller access to resources, compared to the governments.

So here is the clash of realities: one side pours huge funds into wars because they are profitable, the other side pours money into building infrastructure and educating people in war zones because they present it as to be the right thing to do.

One of the rules of contemporary economy is that in order for something to happen, all that is need are resources in the hands of someone who thinks it is extremely profitable to them.

And there you have it: as long as all the conflict points are profitable, they will remain conflict points; regardless of how much money the charities pour into the same conflict points to make them more livable.

Think of it this way: you have a broken sewage pipe and bacteria thrives on all the crap that leaks out (the bacteria has unlimited resources to thrive). You can pour a lot of money to install an air filtering system, a ground cleaning system, and this is all good but does not fix the sewage leak at all: it just gives the impression to release the pressure of the bacteria and the smell, but as long as the leaking pipe is not fixed, there will still be thriving bacteria. You get the idea.

This is why charities are fairly useless: charities work on the ability of people to show empathy and donate funds. (At least these charities are not mandatory.) People donate and the money gets poured in a black hole and at the end of the black hole there are the mandatory charities – the governments, to which we contribute whether we want it or not – and our mandatory contributions are partially used to fuel the war industry.

And the more empathy there is, the more money pours. The more money pours, the more there is to destroy.

Why are the war zones still a war zones? Because no one who has enough funds thinks it would be more profitable for them to be the opposite. (The wars at least feed entire states and countries… )

 

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I had never won a sports medal in my life. Until yesterday.

I was just curious how it would feel to win a medal. A wile back I found the perfect event: Kistaloppet. On their site they announced that it is the 5th year jubilee, and they were giving Fat Medals and a goodie bag.

More importantly, they announced that they wait indefinitely for people to finish the race. Good deal, it seemed.

I am about 100 kg, so taking my time is kinda my thing. Then again, doing things by myself didn’t seem to offer that much fun, so I asked a friend of mine to join as well. He is about 200 kg, and he likes to take his time as well. Luckily for us, a another friend joined. A trained runner, Miss Q.

So, the day of the event comes, and we meet at the food court of the local mall where the race would start. We sit at the local Chinese joint and they sip on noodle soup, and I take some Pad Thai.

The race starts and we decide to run at least across the start line.

And then people start applauding. I realize that we are into something special.

After the start race, the route goes about 1 km around the block, and then crosses the actual mall, and then goes through the city. Because of this, the mall is all marked by ribbons and the regular customers are having hard time jumping from shop to shop. Every one is waiting for the race participants to pass.

So, the moment we get to the mall, everyone starts applauding again, and the race security surrounds us to escort us. Of course, they were quickly taking off all the ribbons 1 meter after us, and this gave us the awesome feeling of something biblical and crucially important.

By this time Miss Q’s reason to refuse to register for the race was confirmed: she didn’t want to have a record of a very slow time, since she is a regular runner of such events.

For me personally wasn’t about the time, not about the winning. It was about the experience and about the Fat Medal.

And so far, in the first 20 minutes of the race, we had probably gotten more attention than the person heading the race. It felt nice and in a way great for the confidence.

We go out of the mall, and thus we freed the shoppers from the sticky tapes.

And then we continued. All kinds of people kept cheering us by saying ‘Keep going! Good job!’.

Miss Q was walking couple meters in front of us and keeping up the tempo. I guess we were good at keeping 5 km/h.

After 1 hour or so we had reached the 5km mark.

And then we continued. Next to some more trees, next to some farm. There was some wedding with a very loud PA system.

And then we got back to the urban area. At some point, a guy from the staff of the race saw us, picked up his phone and reported: “I saw them. They are OK. “.

This was a good sign – I guess we were expected at the finish line.

An hour later we arrived. The staff waited for us at the finish line! It was amazing. They had actually waited! There was a PA system waiting for us and our arrival was announced!

Of course, about 5 seconds after that, they started dismantling the PA system, since people have been patiently waiting to go home for a while, but nevertheless – it was an amazing gesture to wait for us.

The biggest winners.

Here is how we crossed the finish line, and the Fat Medals were waiting for us.

And this is how I won my first sports medal.

I am very thankful for all the support – I got much  more support than I thought I would get.

It means a lot to me.

 

03
Apr

This is so awesome  – I just saw a guy on the train who has two tattoos. One on each of his hands, on top, right between the thumb and the pointing finher. The left one states “Allt ordnar sig” and the right “Här och nu”.
So cooooool.
Judging by myself,i should ge those as well; it is so easy to get carried away sometimes and to forget what is important.
Good one.

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