Over The Mountain And Through The Woods

After a busy holiday weekend filled with family, food and travel, it’s difficult to pick out only a few key pictures to tell the tale.  Plus, I’m NOT in love with this batch of pictures because I am still playing with my new pocket digital camera – an Olympus SZ-10.  This camera has some really cool features that my old pocket camera did not have: 18X wide angle optical zoom; not only macro, but super macro (my favorite features); in-camera panorama that will automatically stitch together 3 images (see Hogback Mtn. image above); you can choose your ISO; AF-tracking will automatically take a picture when your pet or child faces the lens; two self-timer modes;  three continuous shooting modes; three video modes; plus a ton of other features.  These small cameras are approaching (and surpassing) the capability of my SLR and interchangeable lenses…

Not to diminish how much we enjoyed spending time with our family and friends this past week, but what stands out for Scott and I is how proud we are of our dogs.  Silly?  I think not.  The majority of their life is spent on this land, off-leash, with minimal interaction with other dogs.  But this holiday weekend we dragged them all over the place – long car rides, a long hike on-leash, different houses, new people and dogs, one cat, new smells and food everywhere.  Thanksgiving alone there were 13 people and 4 dogs in one house – THANK YOU David & Kyra for not only allowing our babies to join us, but for trusting that all the dogs would get along in your house.  And THANK YOU to Ben & Abby for leading our boys through the woods (or was it the other way around?!).  Scott and I were able to remain relaxed but Acadia and Denali are still recouping from all the excitement.

Yield: 2 loaves

Day 1 – Make the Starter
1/4 oz fresh yeast
6 Tbs. lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour

Into a non-reactive bowl (wood, glass, pyrex), mix the yeast with the water and  then add the flour and mix well to form a firm dough.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Return to the bowl and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap.  Allow to rise in a warm place for 8-10 hours or overnight.

Day 2 – Make the Dough
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 cups unbleached wheat flour
2 tsp. salt
1/2 oz. fresh yeast
1 tsp. sugar
Generous 1 cup lukewarm water
5 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped black olives**

In a large bowl sift together the flours and salt.  In another large bowl mix the yeast, water and sugar, then with clean hands, work in the starter.  Next, work in the flour mixture a little at a time.  Finally, work in the olive oil and olives to form a soft dough.  Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 2+ hours, or until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and split in half.  Turn out each half on to a lightly floured surface and gently pull out the edges of the dough and turn under to form a nice round boule.  Return each half to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 2+ hours, or until doubled in size.

I baked my bread in the Community Oven, but for the home baker, place a baking stone in the oven and preheat to 450°F.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the base.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

**This Italian, open-textured, soft-crumb bread is delicious, but next time, I will use stronger flavored olives, such as kalamata or oil cured.

3 thoughts on “Over The Mountain And Through The Woods

  1. i LOVE the photos! and loved spending time with you and scott and your adorable boys. YES! they were amazing! sweet, well-behaved, handsome! the crisp, bread,and relishes you brought were all scrumptious! wish there had been more time for catching up. xx!

    • Well Kyra… we now know how close and easy it was to visit. Let’s do it again soon! Please make the trip – we’d love to have you here. And Scott and I would love to return and explore downtown – we only got a quick glimpse, but it looks like the town has a lot to offer…

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