Bread and timpani

I’ve been battling with the percussion parts on Carrion Comfort for a good couple of months now. First I didn’t know what percussion was available, and then I had to face the fact that very few of the instruments on the list matched up with the soundworld I had in my head and I’ve been wrestling with this disconnect ever since. Finally I decided to just write for the sounds in my head (mostly timpani, which aren’t on the list) and then see if I can convert those to something similar which IS on the list. So now, after much procrastination since making that decision, I have a timpani part, and I think I’m pretty pleased with it. It’s shaping and drawing together the rest of the music in the way I imagined it would (or in Finale it is anyway 🙂 ) but now there’s a big challenge: how will it work for three tom-toms (high, medium, low) instead of neatly tuned timpani? Will the smaller drums have the resonance I’m after? If not, what’s best to do. These are questions I need to answer in the coming week.

In the meantime, however, I was too late to go out to the bakery yesterday and so decided to take the plunge and use up some of the assorted bread flour which has been lurking in the cupboard for far too long. Also to try out the River Cottage Bread Handbook which I bought on a cranky-day a few months ago. Well, gentle reader, if I may say so, it was frickin’ fantastic. Absolutely and by a country mile the best bread I’ve ever cooked. I ended up using 1/3 wholegrain spelt flour, 1/3 normal strong white flour and 1/3 wholemeal strong flour and it’s turned out brilliantly. The recipe freaked me out a bit because unlike every other bread recipe I’ve ever seen, this one has no sugar in it – just flour, yeast, salt, water and a tiny bit of oil – but it rose perfectly, and the quantity was great too. The recipe made three medium-sized loaves, which is perfect for storing spares in the freezer and hopefully will get me through the next week. I can probably make time to bake bread once a week, at least while I’m freelance, but more often than that would be a stretch. Guess I should be glad that D’s really only eating white bread at the moment, although he did taste it when it was fresh out of the oven and pronounced it ‘orgasmic’, which I was rather pleased with.

My only criticism of it is that between the wholegrain spelt and the wholemeal flour, it’s REALLY fibre-packed. I’m glad the white flour was there because I think 70% wholemeal would have been too much. I’m going to test out an assortment of flours and combinations over the next few batches. Ideally I’d like to make a good mixed-wholegrain loaf. I love spotty bread. The other thing is that – probably due to the oven in this flat being rubbish – setting the oven temperature to 250C was a little high and the first loaf browned VERY quickly. I liked how the recipe gave 3 different temperatures to turn down to after the first 10 minutes, depending on how quickly it was browning, but I did dial it down a little for the next two, which made a big difference but they still turned out great.

And it worked well as Vegemite toast this morning, and even better as a slim cheese sandwich for lunch today. Mmmmm. Bread…

'Orgasmic' bread

Today’s very own achievement was not so grand, but worthwhile. It’s been bugging me for ages that since I moved the featured piece on the caitlinrowley.com homepage into the central section and started using the SoundCloud widget, the blog post has been bumped way down the page and is almost guaranteed to be below the fold on all but the largest (or portrait-oriented) screens. It’s also been bugging me why I’m not getting new signups for that website’s email list, and I came to the conclusion that having the Twitter, etc. links in the same space was distracting, so I’ve moved the social media links to the bottom of the page, cleared them out of the email list box, changed the heading and intro line, and moved the blog post to the right column, under the (shortened) email box. So now at least headlines should be visible above the fold and I think the whole page looks more interesting and magaziney. Now to wait and see what happens with the stats…

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