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Ladka

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There will come a time in the future when you may want to make "art" yarn and wish you could do the uneven spinning again. It takes a bit of unlearning once you get there. ;)
I regret to say the day has already come :( I can not spin uneven thick yarn, and my finer yarns are overtwisted here and there. But I can even produce certain lengths of evenly spun thin yarn that I ply.
 
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Kiti Williams

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I regret to say the day has already come :( I cant spin uneven thick yarn, and my finer yarns are overtwisted here and there. But I can even produce certain lengths of evenly spun thin yarn that I ply.
I am a ply-er as well. My yarns have gone to super fine, because I got some Flax and got good with the long draw. If I need a thicker yarn, I just ply as many as I need. My first ever spinning both wheel and spindle was Pima long staple cotton. When I got my first fleece to spin - WOW! - was it a game changer. I even un ply and separate commercial yarns that I don't have the suitable weight for. Then I put the ply back in and off I go. I love that there are no spi police!

I use my spinning time as my focus and re-charge time. The whole process is just so Zen!
 

Ladka

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I use my spinning time as my focus and re-charge time. The whole process is just so Zen!
I had a small group of women who watched me spin when I was demonstrating spinning who just stood there and watched me in silence. I asked what was going on and they told me they were just so calmed by the evenly repetitive movement of my hands.
 

Kiti Williams

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I had a small group of women who watched me spin when I was demonstrating spinning who just stood there and watched me in silence. I asked what was going on and they told me they were just so calmed by the evenly repetitive movement of my hands.

I can relate. I did a demo for an elementary school. The boys were more impressed than the girls.
 

amd

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I have no hobbies. I used to read, and sporadically pick that up again. I guess I could call drinking craft beer a hobby, although as much as I drink it's probably more of a lifestyle... Is NetFlix a hobby? That seems to be what I do most when I'm not at work, making soap, or sleeping...
 

Tara_H

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I got one off Etsy, it’s great and includes a soap planer. I’m a little worried I’m going to slice off a chunk of my hand which would really spoil the soap...
When I started reading I thought you were saying your swift included a soap planer and I was impressed and a little concerned...
 

Tara_H

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I also enjoy canning...jams, pickles, tomato sauce from the garden...
Ooh, me too :)
Although my preserve shelves are under serious pressure these days from soap and soap-adjacent items, we have plans for a proper pantry that I think we're going to need to start work on sooner rather than later before we're entirely overrun!
 

Jersey Girl

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Ooh, me too :)
Although my preserve shelves are under serious pressure these days from soap and soap-adjacent items, we have plans for a proper pantry that I think we're going to need to start work on sooner rather than later before we're entirely overrun!
I have a major space shortage issue as well. I have jams and soaps under the bed. Lol
 

soaplady30

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Since being home more I have taken up indoor hydroponic and aeroponic gardening. So much to learn but my diet is better for it. I have dwarf tomatoes that are 285 days old and still producing. Have grown all my own smoothie greens since the pandemic started, my lettuce as well. I am definitely not a gardener and can't grow a thing but am learning to do this indoor gardening. It is so calming watching my greens grow. I actually started with doing microgreens and read what others posted.
 

pennym

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Wow--what a handy, creative group of folks! I am a sourdough baker and enjoy all kinds of baking and cooking. I also have a pretty large garden, but it sits idle for 6 months of the year under snow! High altitude (9000ft) gardening is challenging!
I started playing with sourdough in the last few months. I think the fact that I live at sea level (well 54 ft above) and less than a mile from the ocean is messing with my attempts. But I am persistent and I am close!
 

jcandleattic

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Hobbies - okay, let's see
Soapmaking - I also sell, so not sure I can still call this a hobby even though I do still enjoy it. I also make candles, wax melts, lotions, bath bombs, and fragrance sprays.
Just recently (almost a year now) I've started making resin art, and alcohol ink art.
Non-craft hobbies would include reading when I can (which is incredibly rare these days) and collecting Irish memorabilia. I'm in 3 Irish subscription boxes. LOL
 

maryloucb

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I started playing with sourdough in the last few months. I think the fact that I live at sea level (well 54 ft above) and less than a mile from the ocean is messing with my attempts. But I am persistent and I am close!
Are you having trouble with it rising? It could be humidity more than elevation.
 

Skylantern

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I started playing with sourdough in the last few months. I think the fact that I live at sea level (well 54 ft above) and less than a mile from the ocean is messing with my attempts. But I am persistent and I am close!
Being a sourdough parent can be a little nerve wracking in the early days but two things I've done that helped tremendously were to add pineapple juice to my new starter to create an acidic environment to help it fight off the baddies and use only 100% Rye. Sourdough *loves* Rye.

My process is 30g Rye to 30g water after it's been established. I use a small deli container currently but when it is young I'll start it off in jelly jar with a canning lid over a coffee filter to let it breathe. I live in a very warm and humid environment so my starter goes in the fridge until the day before I'm ready to bake and then I'll do two feedings several hours apart to wake it up. By putting "Rye Breadbury" in the fridge I can control the level of sourness and off flavors and stretch the feedings. It'll also allow it to feed slower and this gives it a better flavor.

A healthy sourdough should smell a little fruity, slightly banana-y. An unhappy sourdough will smell like bad cheese or boozy when it's starving. Both can be saved. When I do a feeding I put everything in another container (I save my discard for pancakes or quick breads) so that there is only what is left clinging to the container. You don't want there to be too many little yeasties competing for food.

Lastly, it took my current sourdough about a year to get a true full rise that doubled in size. Until then I would add a pinch of commercial yeast to the full amount of sourdough to help my rise. So hang in there, it does take a little while for it to be fully active and the more feedings the better it will do. I hope this helps. Let us know how it goes :)
 
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Skylantern

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Hobbies have been my anchor to sanity after I decided to go back to school. I had started this degree in 1997 and after life did a whole of interfering I'm back in 2021 to finish what a younger me started. It is perhaps, not the right degree for me. There have been a number of changes since my first BASIC class, but overwhelming or not, I'm here for it. However, because of school I'm able to learn and try new hobbies which after raising a family and working I never had the time to do. So it works out :)

So my sanity saving devices are: Candle making, Perfume mixing, Cosmetic Chemistry, Stained Glass, Fermentation, Sewing, Needle Punching, Polymer Clay, Herbalism, Wildcrafting, Foraging, and data hoarding all the amazing information you can find on Archive.Org.

I spend hours going through old recipes from old household receipts and Druggists catalogs to learn how to make lotions, brilliantines, and cosmetics. I like trying to figure out ways to adapt old recipes into new ones like changing out spermaceti with jojoba, adding preservatives to face creams, switching out borax & beeswax for modern emulsifiers. I've actually been thinking about sharing some of my finds from the vault because I find them genuinely fascinating and it's so interesting and often disturbing to see how often lead and formaldehyde and other highly toxic ingredients were in such common usage.
 
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pennym

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Are you having trouble with it rising? It could be humidity more than elevation.
I think it's more just an experience thing. Humidity level is around 40-50% in the house. I am having issues with it being a bit gummy. Internal cooked temperature is fine and it's not over proofed. I think that it has to do with not letting it bulk ferment (rise) long enough. While a store bought yeast rises within expected times, my sourdough doesn't rise within expected times. I have been told by a friend that has been making sourdough for a very long time that I just need to let it go until it's the right size and not worry about timing so much. Next one will be timed to allow it to go overnight.
 

maryloucb

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I think it's more just an experience thing. Humidity level is around 40-50% in the house. I am having issues with it being a bit gummy. Internal cooked temperature is fine and it's not over proofed. I think that it has to do with not letting it bulk ferment (rise) long enough. While a store bought yeast rises within expected times, my sourdough doesn't rise within expected times. I have been told by a friend that has been making sourdough for a very long time that I just need to let it go until it's the right size and not worry about timing so much. Next one will be timed to allow it to go overnight.
Great idea! I regularly use a no knead recipe that rises overnight in the fridge. It generally takes longer to rise than what instructions may say, but that is also partially because my house is cold in the winter.
 

Skylantern

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I think it's more just an experience thing. Humidity level is around 40-50% in the house. I am having issues with it being a bit gummy. Internal cooked temperature is fine and it's not over proofed. I think that it has to do with not letting it bulk ferment (rise) long enough. While a store bought yeast rises within expected times, my sourdough doesn't rise within expected times. I have been told by a friend that has been making sourdough for a very long time that I just need to let it go until it's the right size and not worry about timing so much. Next one will be timed to allow it to go overnight.
Ah, yeah, it'll take it's sweet time. On average it takes my sourdough 10 - 14hrs to double on the first rise and around 2hrs once shaped for the second rise. On the second rise you can create a hot box by adding in moisture and heat. I do this by boiling water in a large mug for 4 minutes and putting my pans (I use lodge cast iron sandwich bread pans) in the microwave (microwave is NOT running during this time, it's just to hold in moisture and heat) with the mug that is still steaming. It takes about 2 hours for them to rise above the edge.

Visual cues: On the first bulk rise you'll want it to double in size. It should jiggle like a firm water bed. If you stick your finger in, it should not immediately fill back in. On the second rise you'll want it be above the sides of the pan, again shake it to see if it wobbles a bit. It shouldn't feel tight or resistant. It actually takes a lot to overproof your dough, most people underproof.

Create steam: When you go to bake, crank that oven up to max. Get ready several ice cubes in a bowl. Put your pans in, and toss your ice cubes into the bottom of the oven (this is dangerous, you can skip this but it really helps), and then quickly shut the oven door. Now turn the oven down to your reg temp, I usually bake at 400 degrees. This is to increase oven spring and professional bakers have steam injected ovens to accomplish the same thing.

Looking for a hollow thud: When your time is up, for sandwich loaves it's around 45 minutes for me, I take one of the pans out and turn out the bread with oven mitts, then take off the mitt not holding the bread and flick or tap the bottom of the loaf. I'm looking for a hollow sound. If it's still gummy in the middle it'll sound dense. But when it's done, you can actually hear the change in sound. This works for me better than thermometers and is my preferred method.

This is all a bit different if you're using dutch oven but the hollow thud still works here too.
 
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KimW

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Sourdough - Keys to my eventual success in Sourdough, and making a soft sourdough loaf with a soft chew:
1.) Feeding starter at same time everyday and finding the right storage spot (a spot with a consistent environment of temp, humidity, etc, throughout the day/night). Turned out a kitchen drawer was the best spot in my house.
2.) Feeding my starter at least twice, with an hour or so between feedings, before making bread.
3.) Using the right amount and right types of fat. Can't find the article now, but there was a study done, I think in the 1940s, which showed an equal amount of solid fat and liquid fat up to total of 3% Baker's Percentage, provided the most rise.
4.) Preferment. Half the flour, all the water and all the starter of recipe. Mix well, cover. Allow to sit it the same location of the starter (in my case the drawer) until it at least doubles. This can take anywhere from 2-4 hours. Mix in remaining flour and other ingredients.
5.) I stopped using other people's recipes. LOL
ETA: These loaves are 100% sourdough - no commercial/store-bought yeast. I made a store-bought yeasted bread for the first time ever the other week. I used the same method I use for Sourdough, and the bread was so soft as to not be desirable. Too funny!
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