Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Success and surprise

Both my guys love sourdough bread. I bought a package of Danish Rye Sourdough starter years ago and decided last month to see if I could resurrect it, even though it was past its 'use by' date. It took a few days, but then I started seeing signs of life.

With slightly cooler weather Monday, I decided it was time to brave this new-to-me bread frontier. I wanted to use as much whole wheat flour as possible since white flour has little nutritional value, and found this site that gives percentages and results. I mixed the ingredients and faithfully 'stretched and folded,' but the dough hadn't done much by bedtime. I threw a tea towel over the mixing bowl and left it on the counter overnight. Tuesday morning, I had a BOWLful!

Because I had a Tuesday lunch commitment I ran out of time to finesse the loaves before baking, so the end result isn't picture-perfect. No matter, it is palette-pleasing, and I see regular batches in my future – much to Brian's delight. Mine, too; my new favorite lunch is sourdough with hummus and sliced cucumber.

So that's my success story; now for the surprise.

I've been telling myself that I need to get the ewe lambs' fleeces picked clean(er) and get coats on them, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. This morning after chores, I sat down to check email, etc. and heard Bling. Ooops! I had served her alfalfa pellets in the aisleway outside the Sheep Sheraton and she was still in there quietly eating when I finished chores and walked up to the house, forgetting all about her. Now she was running around hollering for me in the middle pasture, which is full of nasty dried foxtail awns. Welp, cleaning up at least ONE lamb fleece instantly moved to the top of the 'to-do' list, as I couldn't leave those awns to burrow through her fleece and into her skin. And "in for a penny, in for a pound;" I might as well do the job thoroughly enough to warrant putting a coat on her, so I did; trimmed her toes, too.
What's the surprise, you ask? While cleaning up her fleece, I made a startling discovery. Her fleece is coming in a dark steel gray at the skin!

This, my friends, is a genetic conundrum. Gray is a dominant pattern in sheep (and horses); it doesn't 'hide' under other patterns or colors (except in extension-dominant sheep, but that trait isn't in my flock). Bling's sire is JET black, and her dam is a black gulmoget, so where is this graying coming from? Very curious; I intend to ask more experienced Shetland breeders in online forums, but haven't had the chance yet.

Keeping it interesting at . . .


Mama Pea said...

Count my husband as another lover of sourdough bread. Sadly, I have yet to master the art of producing a good loaf. Maybe this winter? I'm encouraged by your success. (Get goin' on it, Mama Pea!)

Michelle said...

Like so many things for me, it's just a matter of making myself take those first steps, Mama Pea. It wasn't hard, but lots of unfamiliar steps in the process. I'm sure it will become second nature after awhile.

Retired Knitter said...

Sourdough is my favorite as well. But I don’t make my own.

Fat Dormouse said...

Lovely to catch up on your news and photos after we've been away on holiday. Mr FD is the bread maker in our house (although he hasn't made any for a while) but he's not tried sour dough. The bakers in the village make a really good loaf, called a Petrisane, so we usually just buy that.

The sheep & lambs look in fine fettle, as do Poppie and Chuckie. Our cats are generally susceptible to dried cat nip, and some of their toys get very well mauled. We also grow something called "Cat Grass" which is very popular too. Jasper will follow us onto the balcony mewing for us to pick some for him. We can't have it anywhere accessible because he will just gorge on it, and then vomit copiously. Nice!!

A :-) said...

Don't some of your other sheep's coats change colors? Could her hogget fleece be parti-colored? My sourdough experiment last year was a bust - my starter grew and then conked out.

Michelle said...

It's a lot like having a house pet, Elaine!

Nice to have an in-house baker, Alison!

Yes, A, some sheep do change color, but there is nothing in Bling's genetics that would allow for this. We're pretty sure that it's caused by a copper deficiency; I need to bug Rick again about testing her.

Florida Farm Girl said...

I tell myself that I'm going to make some bread one of these days but somehow it doesn't get done. I don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen for anything these days. Good fresh sourdough would be wonderful.

Jeanne said...

I hope your sourdough projects turned out well. My sister loves sourdough bread. She doesn't make it herself - just goes to Safeway and buys it. She lives alone. Did you just make loaves of bread? Or rolls?