This is a bread technique I’ve wanted to try for some time. I actually like kneading. I started doing this in January when I moved into an apartment with a kitchenette and almost no counter space. I have wanted to own a dutch oven for a long time too.
Yeast: Unless otherwise stated, I used Fleischmann’s Traditional Active Dry Yeast. I didn’t proof it before using.
Salt: Fine sea salt or kosher salt.
Water: Room temp distilled water or room temp boiled tap water. I didn’t measure my water as I would always just pour enough to get a sticky dough.
Proofing: My first rise was usually 18 hours or more, but due to my schedule, I’d often have a very short second rise for about an hour. I found no significant difference with a longer second rise.
Non-stick Grain: I experimented with flour, wheat bran, cornmeal, oats, and polenta. Plain or WW flour was best because cutting made a mess of the others.
Dutch Oven: Lagostina 4-qt round dutch oven from Canadian Tire. I could not afford a Staub or Le Creuset yet; I would have to order a Lodge one online. The Lagostina is enameled on the inside unlike the Kitchen Aid and it had the dimpled lid (perfect for steam) unlike the Cuisinart. The only downside is that it’s a bit wider than I like and not 4″ high, but that’s alright for now.
Lid: I usually covered the bread for about 15-20 mins and uncovered for another 10-15.
I started this 1970 time travel novel on the day of “Mad Men”’s 7B premiere. This book does excel in its details about 1882 New York City. It was an interesting historical novel to read about 1970 as written by a writer of that time. It had some interesting moments about how someone would think about it. There was even a line about “seeing Negroes… and I prevented myself from going over there to tell them I had liked Martin Luther King Jr.”
The plot and characters were alright. Neither aspect was exceptional. I thought the protagonist and most of the characters were decently drawn out. I understood their motivations. At times, I was a bit irked that for a man trained by a government time travel programme, he made a number of historical gaffes in the past. The plot prodded along. I did no find it very compelling and not much actually happened until the last quarter.
I found the actual time travel method used in the book to be a bit silly. Maybe it was the style at the time, but there was no technology or magic involved. It was never explained in detail. The author just wanted the character to go back to 1882 more than anything.
The ending was interesting. I will no spoil it, but there is a paradox involved. It is not annoying because I think for the purposes of character and plot development, I liked the ending. However, if you have read or watched even a couple of time travel books, shows, and movies, you’d realize the paradox.
Not a bad novel. I recommend it to New Yorkers since if I lived there I’d love to find time and explore the city as the characters did.
Read April 5-6, 2015.
This was such a simply yet nicely written memoirs. There is such a deep humbleness to Hadfield even though he admits to being an overachiever.
He is very self-aware about life and goal setting. There was a big emphasis on being prepared while enjoying the journey. At times, it felt like a good self-help book does. I wanted to emulate this man. I definitely admire him more so now after reading the book.
I also think his message and the writing about his life is not over the top or pushy. He seems to be grateful and happy with his life. He’s also worked hard and had struggles. As another optimist, I liked that. Good read.
Read April 3, 2015.
Robinson’s Gilead was one of my favourite novels of the last decade. I found it had some of the best prose of modern literary works. I knew I had to read Robinson’s other works.
When I started this novel, I had a feeling I would not love it quite as much as Gilead which is a tall order for any modern novel. I did really enjoy the writing though. Robinson’s unique storytelling and voice runs through this more darker and somber novel.
There was an ethereal quality to it that reminded me of fantasy novels by Neil Gaiman. The characters in this novel are not exactly the most relateable for me, but Ruth the narrator is a character the reader can sympathize with.
All in all, I enjoyed the prose immensely, but I would not recommend this novel for those who dislike literary fiction or who do not already like Gilead.
Read March 28-29, 2015.
I’ve had this in my library pile for awhile. I am not sure why I put off reading it because it’s a novella more than a novel.
The only other time I’ve read Tóibín was his translation of Beowulf. With that and this novel, I can’t deny he is talented and writes well. However, he is one of those authors whose prose I respect and deem talented, but I don’t find his characters particularly engaging.
I did like this book more as I read it because I’ve had an affinity for Mary since I was a child in Catholic school. I was not there long nor am I Catholic, but Mary’s always been a comforting and fascinating person from religion.
Since reading this book over a week, it’s left a better impression than when I read it. I think reinterpreting Biblical works is a great source for literary exploration. I support it especially by good writers such as Tóibín.
Read March 28, 2015.