Archive for January, 2012

Braids

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Not too sure where my day went. I recently switched to washing my hair with baking soda and lemon, which I’ve meant to do for over a year. The basic formula is very simple; you begin by dissolving 1 T. baking soda with 1 cup water for washing, and 1 T. [acidic substance] with 1 cup water for conditioning/rinsing. From there, you experiment with quantities to find the most effective mix. The most common acid is apple cider vinegar, which I quickly discovered made my hair very oily. The Internet solved this problem; lemon/lime juice is much more suitable for blondes in general; especially those with straight hair.

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 My most recent baking soda wash left my hair frizzy, so today (two days later) I rinsed with lemon on honey. Honey softens hair, but unfortunately it seems I did not rinse it out so well. I felt a little sticky and did not want to leave my hair down, so I devised a braid.

What amazes me is how much cleaner I feel using baking soda to wash my hair. I’m used to the feel of foam building up in my hair, so it took a few weeks to adjust to using slippery “water” to clean myself. Instead of becoming oily, my hair stays clean and soft for most of a week. Chemically, alkaline baking soda cleans the hair and helps remove oils. The scalp is naturally acidic, so the vinegar/citrus rinse restores biological conditions and closes the cuticles of the hair strands.

<:3 )~

Sourdough Bagels

Friday, January 27th, 2012

I’ve always believed without exception that bagels should be made with a sourdough base. In reality these are exceedingly difficult to find…outside my kitchen. Next time I complain about the inconvenience of my needy pet yeast, please slap me. (Or just demand bagels.)

I used this recipe, converting all measurements from volume to grams. Because I was using sourdough starter (I keep mine at around 60% hydration), I started with 200 grams of starter and adjusted the other quantities to preserve the given hydration percentage. So far I’ve chosen to use regular baker’s yeast on top of the sourdough; once I perfect my technique I’ll experiment with letting my yeast to do all the work. I think I deserve some street cred in the baking world due to the continual presence of dried barley malt in my Flours & Seeds cupboard.

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I used the traditional shaping method, which is to divide your dough and roll it into snakes. The ends are then joined to form a ring. I love the diagonal splits this produces in the finished bagel.

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 One adjustment I made was to alkalize the water using 1 T. baking soda.

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In case you couldn’t tell, we have a mutual favorite bagel topping in this apartment. (Er…ignore my little green kitchen friend. She’s harmless, and provides entertainment during slow moments.)

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 Post-baking gloriousness.

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I still have some adjustments (and recipes) to try, but if I never improve on this result I may actually be content.

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Next week I should receive my new supply of rennet and some cultures in the mail, at which point I can add cream cheese to my repertoire.

<:3 )~