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I fully admit I’m not a huge fan of rye breads. They are usually heavy and since I don’t love the taste of caraway seeds I’ve just never tried a lot of recipes. However the Year of Bread was meant to push me to try breads I don’t typically make so rye fit that bill perfectly.
I did decide to make baby steps when it came to making rye and picked a recipe that promised me a soft sandwich rye but with an interesting surprise ingredient. Once again I searched the King Arthur Flour recipe archive (they also have a killer cinnamon roll recipe btw) and found Sandwich Rye Bread.
What grabbed my attention when searching for rye recipes was the secret ingredient…dill pickle juice.
I wasn’t sure what the pickle juice would do and since I had just tossed the remaining juice from my homemade dill pickled zucchini (made last summer) I had to rely on storebought pickles. I feared the juice would give the bread an unpleasant sour flavor but maybe it’s because the rye, caraway and mustard held their own. I did ease up on the amount of caraway seeds called for and eliminated the dill seeds completely since I didn’t have any. I also couldn’t find any pumpernickel so substituted organic dark rye instead.
The end result was a soft rye bread that isn’t too assertive so it wouldn’t be limited to just traditional rye bread combos. I had a couple slices with a creamy broccoli soup. Tasty.
I got to use one of my new 2lb loaf pans that I picked up in Bath during my trip to the UK (lets not dwell on how I visited a kitchen store when I could have been sightseeing). I definitely don’t have a shortage of pans but I loved how the new ones are slightly shorter and taller than the typical US loaf pans. I ended up with a lovely tall loaf that looked so much better than my previous loaf pan breads.
Well ok technically Damson was finished in Dec 2009 but it’s taken me this long to photograph it. I can’t wait till Spring shows up and I can actually see that unfamilar yellow ball in the sky again.
3 skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino in Turqiouse bought at Little Knits right before Seasocks 2008. 450yards of lovely bright blue dk weight yarn just wallowing in stash before I could decide on what to make. Then along comes Damson and while the original pattern used fingering weight I wanted to see if I could ‘make it work’.
I came close.
I realized quickly that I was going to run out of yarn if I knit to the original pattern so I stopped at row 63 and with some creative math I smushed the lace pattern to fit the stitches I had. It involved starting on row 3 of the lace pattern and after the double decreases in that row I added a k2tog. I probably could have made a triple decrease but honestly it didn’t occur to me until afterwards to do that.
I happily knit along until once again I realized that even with my mods I was still going to run out of yarn. Sigh. So I cast off about 5 rows early instead of finishing the entire chart. There was no way the loopy edging was going to happen. I had less than a yard of yarn leftover.
Thankfully despite the mods the heavier yarn still makes this a good sized shawl, 4 skeins would have been better but 3 skeins with modifications are still a pleasing result. Damson made the trip to London with me this month and held up well to being bundled underneath my jacket for my long walks around town.
Now for Damson project #2.
Doesn’t it look lovely?
If you recall I started this project of Damson Liqueur back in August 2009. Once the plums, sugar and alcohol were bottled up I stored them in a dark corner of the garage. I had originally planned for the liquer to steep till just before Christmas but I kind of forgot about them.
The plums quickly took on a creepy wrinkled look as they infused the alcohol, I’ve read some posts about how people keep the shriveled plums for another batch or to cook with but I decided to toss them. There really wasn’t any flesh left on mine and I couldn’t really see the point in keeping wrinkly plum pits.
It’s a stunning garnet color and quite delicious. I ended up making 3 jars with vodka and 1 with gin to see if there was a flavor difference.
A bottle is heading over to Jenny while I might just hoard the rest for myself.
February’s personal bread challenge was a pretty open one, Jenny and I both decided we wanted something simple because of our schedules so we settled on pizza.
I’ve made thin crust pizzas before but never attempted a deep dish style so after getting confirmation that others would eat one I picked out the King Arthur Flour Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza recipe. Since I don’t own a large deep dish pizza pan a 12″ cake pan worked as a substitute plus I had enough dough leftover for a small 6″ mini pizza.
The addition of cornmeal to the crust added a great crunch to the dough without having to bake the pizza forever plus the combination of olive oil and butter gave the crust a nice flavor.
Of course no deep dish pizza would be complete without toppings. I loaded mine up with pepperoni, sweet italian sausage, onions, mushrooms and lots and lots of mozzarella. Lots of mozzarella.