Sourdough Bread – Pain de Campagne

Modified from the recipe in Ken Forkish’s book “Flour Water Salt Yeast“.

The part I disliked most about the original recipe was how much starter I was throwing away, and that it used commercial yeast. If I’m going to bother with starters and levains, I don’t want to use commercial yeast. So I modified it to make half the amount of levain, all of which goes into the main dough.

Feed Your Starter the Night Before

If you bake once a week like I do and not every day, you’ll need to refresh your starter that’s been sleeping in the fridge.

  1. Mix well with a metal spoon
  2. Throw out all but 3/4 of a cup or so
  3. Add 100 grams of ~90 degree Fahrenheit water and 100 grams flour
  4. Put into the oven with the oven light on
  5. Leave until the next morning.

Make Your Levain

The next morning, around 8 or 9 am:

  1. Get a medium bowl and add and mix together the following:
  2. 50g or your starter
  3. 200g of white / all-purpose flour
  4. 50g of whole wheat or rye flour
  5. 200g of 85 to 90 degree Fahrenheit water
  6. Cover and put in your same oven with the oven light on (or some other warm place)

Autolyse the Main Dough

Around seven hours later (3pm if you started at 8am), get a bigger bowl and add the following:

  1. 740g white / all-purpose flour
  2. 60g whole wheat or rye flour
  3. 620g 85-90 degree Fahrenheit water
  4. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes

Add Starter and Salt to Main Dough

After the 30 minutes are up and the flour is nice and autolysed:

  1. Add all the Levain
  2. Add 21g of salt
  3. Mix (using the pincer technique) .

Stretch and Fold

Do three or four “stretch and folds” every 30 minutes or so, then let sit covered on the counter until it is a little more than doubled in size.

Divide the dough into whatever you’re making

I always make Boules. So I cut my dough in half, form into tight balls, and put into proofing baskets. Cover the baskets and then put them into the fridge for 12 hours or so (i.e. overnight and into the next morning).

Bake the Bread

The next morning or afternoon, set the oven to 450, put a dutch oven in there, and let both come up to temperature, and then stay up to temp for another 20-30 minutes to let everything get good and hot.


  1. Take one of your bread dough baskets out of the oven, flip it upside down to get it out of the proofing basket and onto the counter
  2. Take the dutch oven out of the oven, place it on top of the stove, and remove the lid (carefully!)
  3. Put the dough in to the dutch oven, replace the lid, and put the whole thing back into the oven.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes
  5. Remove the dutch oven lid and bake for another 20 minutes, or longer if you want darker/crispier/thicker crust.
  6. Remove the dutch oven from the oven, take out your loaf of sourdough, and put on a cooling rack.
  7. Resit the urge to cut into it right away and instead let it cool on the rack.
  8. If you have more dough put the dutch oven back into the oven for 5-10 minute to let it re-heat and then do your next loaf.

Dream – 2021-09-09

  • In firefight.
  • 2 person team with “Leader” who has on ghillie suit with sniper rifle.
  • Underground complex
  • Under a lake
  • Setting up ambush for enemy in tunnels
  • No good cover where I am
  • Move to new spot higher
  • Hear charges go off
  • Think we got em
  • See shadows of tons of dudes marching towards us
  • Leader says maybe check on objective 1.2
  • Run to exit to next objective and exit
  • Cut off! There are more dudes coming down another passage
  • Climb a nearby ladder into control room
  • Video screens and computers everywhere
  • Glass wall windows looking down into big room below, like a giant hangar or maybe turbine room of a dam.
  • Leader says, “Fuck this, we’re going out right! Let’s crank some tunes!”
  • What should we play?
  • “Blues.” he says.
  • Leader goes over to a control panel and starts hitting buttons. Finally an old blues song plays cranked on speakers in room and the entire complex outside the windows as enemy moves in to the control tower.
  • Can see enemy getting close on monitors.
  • We set a self-destruct timer for two minutes.
  • Voice counting down.

Sweet Vidalia Onion Chicken Thighs

This is a super easy recipe that tastes great!


  • 4 Chicken Thighs, with excess fat trimmed off
  • 1 Large Vidalia Onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Thyme
  • Orange Juice
  • Deli Mustard
  • Flour + Water Slurry (for optional gravy thickening)
  • Chicken broth / bullion (maybe need it for sauce)


  • Trim the excess fat off the chicken thighs,
  • Season the 4 chicken thighs on all sides with salt, pepper, and thyme (or any other spices/herbs you think might go well)
  • Heat a large skillet or cast iron pan over high heat to get it nice and hot (but not all the way to smoking in the case of cast iron). The pan will be going into the oven, so keep that in mind. If you don’t have an oven-safe pan then you could use a baking dish or whatever.
  • Place the 4 chicken thighs into the pan, skin side down
  • While the chicken thighs brown, cut the onion into 4 large slices like you’re making large onion rings, but keep them together in one piece.
  • When the chicken thighs are browned, remove them from the pan, place the 4 onion rounds into the pan, and then place a chicken thigh, skin side up, on each. (you can also do this without having to remove the chicken from the pan bu stacking them all together and working your way around the pan building the onion+chicken stacks – I always save creating a dirty dish when I can!).
  • While the chicken and onions cook, start some rice.
  • Remove the chicken when it reaches whatever temperature you like your chicken at (165 degrees fahrenheight is the official temp, but I usually go a tad higher since my gauge might be in a weird spot, and chicken thighs are much more forgiving to a little more heat than breasts).
  • Place the chicken and onion rounds (carefully! They will want to fall apart) on a plate under some foil to let it rest / stay warm).

Pan Sauce / Gravy

  • Place the pan the chicken was in back on the stove with high heat. It should have plenty of juices and fat from the chicken.
  • Add about a cup of orange juice and a tablespoon of mustard (this is relative, the actual amounts will depend on how much juice you have in the pan).
  • Mix these together and then taste it. You may have to:
    • Add more salt and pepper
    • Add more orange juice or mustard if one or the other is overpowering
    • Add some chicken bouillon / broth if there’s not enough chicken flavor.
  • When it tastes right you can now optionally add some flour/water slurry to thicken it up, or leave it the way it is.


I like to serve it on a bed of rice, then the chicken, topped with one of the onion rounds, with sauce over the top. You can also go rice > onion > chicken > sauce if you want to show off the chicken more and make sure the skin stays crispier, but in my experience both will result in the skin not staying “crispy”, so why not put the large onion slice on top since it’s really almost more of a feature of this recipe – it’s the thing that’s “a little different”.

Serve with a side salad, or whatever vegetables you want.

Dream – 2019-10-07

  • Build large wooden boat, square rig
  • Launch and outfit
  • Sail out on maiden voyage and run into storm
  • Feel like we are taking on water, turn towards a harbor, straight downwind. Sails and mast groan.
  • Go below and look while dad stays at helm
  • See water streaming in from some fitting up at the bow
  • Follow water “river” aft and see that it’s almost up to the first floorboards
  • Run back up as fast as I can
  • We are now in a harbor
  • Boat is visibly low in water
  • Hit bottom at one point but are able to get through. Muddy.
  • Tie up to dock
  • It’s some sort of summer spot that is closed now. Rides, stores, etc.

Dream – 2019-09-28

My dad, some other people, and I were on a trans-Atlantic crossing in the 48 foot sailboat the Betty Ann, a boat we’ve sailed many times before.  We were out in the middle of the Atlantic when some huge waves appeared on the horizon. As the waves got closer we could see that they were easily 100 feet tall, and were about to break.  “We’re screwed” someone said.

Unknown to us we had stumbled upon a part of the ocean where it was only 20 feet deep, some undiscovered mid-Atlantic shoals, and these giant ocean swells were being kicked up into huge beasts.  When the first wave was a few hundred feet off our bow, and our capsize imminent, a part appeared in the wave’s base. The wave turned into an arch, a half doughnut of water connected by a wall of water at both ends, and we sailed right through it. 

We all stared at each other in disbelief. We had no time to wait though because the next wave was already upon us. And the same thing happened.

This repeated a few more times as this unnaturally large set of waves came through, and each time we were amazed as we looked up and saw the arch of water pass well over our mast and then re-form into a wave behind us. Only one of the waves, a smaller one thankfully, did not do the arch thing and we had to ride up its face and then down the backside. It was tricky, but we handled it.

Later on in the trip we were sitting in the Betty Ann’s cockpit talking about the amazing arch-waves when I looked up and saw a red stoplight ahead with tons of cars parked on a road.  I realized we had full sail set, and were also motoring at cruise throttle.  I jumped up off the seat and ran to the wheel which was on auto-pilot.  I shifted into reverse and pinned the throttle. The engine screamed, and the prop cavitated, but just in time the boat came to a stop right at the end of a large traffic jam of cars on a road.

The whole crew got out and walked around (since were on dry ground now) trying to figure out what was going on and how this could happen? How does the open ocean and nothing in sight except the horizon suddenly turn into a road full of stopped cars?  Then I saw it it.  A large sign on the side of the road proclaimed:  Welcome to Massachusetts.

Starter Bread Experiment – April 14, 2019

Starter Bread


IngredientAmountBakers Percentage
Starter (50 / 50)100g (50g flour)
Bread Flour100g
Total Flour150g100%
Water121g water
(117 + 2 oops, +2 “seems dry”)


Day Before

  • Day before woke up starter, fed twice

2018-04-13 – 2:00 PM

  • Mix ingredients
  • Stretch and fold
  • Short rest
  • Add salt that I forgot
  • Stretch and fold
Rested after first stretch and fold

2018-04-13 – 2:20 PM

  • Cover and rest

2018-04-13 – 4:10 PM

  • Stretch and fold #3
  • Form ball
  • Cover with oil and plastic wrap
  • Put into oven with light on to wake up since it seems sluggish
Consistency at this stage

2019-04-13 – 5:10 PM

  • Into the fridge to slow rise overnight.
After oven-light rise, and on its way to the fridge

Dream – Night of 2019-03-12

  • Me and my brother are in some sort of fairgrounds / village / castle / cliffs
  • We find these flying machines we can use and start flying around this map, going in and out of gullies, up to the tops of waterfalls, etc
  • We find another place that rents the same thing and try those out too
  • My brother asks if these have the super-speed button like the other ones did and the operators says that they do.
  • These new ones are launched off a ramp at the top of a cliff. We launch and fly around some more.
  • After, we get together with a bunch of friends and are discussing the day’s events
  • At this point in the dream I realize I’m dreaming, and that the conversation is really good dialog
  • “This whole thing is going to make such a great story” I think to myself in the dream.
  • Then I get worried that I will wake up before the dream ends. I don’t want that to happen because this is such a cool dream.
  • And THEN I get worried that having that thought in the dream will make me wake up (which it usually does)
  • But I don’t wake up. We leave this restaurant or whatever it is we’re at and me, my brother, and some other guy decide to have a flying competition back down to where we started
  • I again get worried, this time that I won’t be able to fly since I usually can’t if I’m aware I’m dreaming
  • But I can. I am able to keep up with the other guy who is going super fast through small alleys
  • We have to go way up high to go over some arch which is part of the course, and then race down to the finish line
  • I end up just a tiny bit after him in second place.
  • I think “Ok, I guess I can wake up now.”

Which I do, and think, “I need to write that down”. But instead I end up falling back to sleep

  • I’m in a new dream now, writing down the previous dream.
  • I’m amazed at all the detail I am able to bring back.
  • I read back over what I wrote. It’s a printed copy and it’s perfect. The dialog is exactly as I remember it.

Then I wake up again and think, oh man, I can’t believe I was able to get it all that close! I seriously need to write that down…and then I fall asleep again…

  • Dreaming again and I go back to read my transcription. It’s completely illegible now. The text has a single word written over and over again except for people’s names.
  • “No!” I think, I’ll never get all those details back.

Then I wake up a final time and it’s 9:00am, which is when I should normally leave for work, not get up. So I have to run into the shower.

Dream – Night of 2018-10-22

  • In an old house with my mother and father
  • I’m playing around with new painting software on the computer
  • I realize the software can paint whatever I’m thinking
  • As I touch the stylus pen to the screen, the part of the image that I’m thinking appears
  • I create a house, windows, a shingled roof, tress outside, a red sunset behind it.
  • I use another tool in the software menu and the image morphs into something completely different.  I use undo and the original image appears. I realize I can navigate between images using the undo and redo menus items.
  • The computer monitor gets bigger and bigger, and soon completely envelops me and everyone in the room.
  • My mother and father are with me inside this image that I’ve created. It’s a completely new reality.
  • We decide to let the images do whatever they want, to see where they go.
  • Every few seconds a new scene appears, and it gets more and more real.  I realize there are other elements you can control by touching things in certain scenes.  It’s like a video game.  Touching a rock in one scene activates the “Undo” feature and brings back the scene before it. We realize that with enough time would could learn how to navigate back and forth between scenes / realities.
  • At one point we are sitting in a cafe, outside is a city street like in one of those cyberpunk rainy city images:Image result for cyberpunk city photo rain
  •  We walk outside and there is a wall of tv screens each playing a different possible scene.
  • My dad points at one and a white neon line appears around it, the others dim.
  • The scene envelops us and becomes the new reality.
  • We watch as a young boy is playing video games in his bedroom.
  • His mother calls from somewhere else in the house, “You you like your new video game?”
  • “No, it’s scary.” the boy replies.
  • Behind the boy is the tv the game was being played on.  A grim reaper in ragged black clothes appears on the screen, comes half way out of the TV, grabs the boy and drags him backwards into the TV.

    Image result for grim reaper
    Was not as scary as this, but this is the closest image I could find. The one in the dream was shrouded more in a ragged cloth cape/tunic.
  •  The two disappear.  We hear the boy crying for help and wailing that “This isn’t fair.” The last thing we see is the reaper flying from left to right across the screen, carrying the boy underneath him.
  • We dive into the tv screen to go save the boy.

Dream – Night of 2018-10-15

  • Running down a road to go do laps a the park I normally run at in the mornings
  • Foggy out and I think how it would make a good photograph the way the fog is flowing through the trees
  • I keep running down the trail and start to get worried that nothing looks familiar
  • I was carrying something and wanted to put it down on the benches that were normally about half way into this park, but the benches were gone.
  • I run past a boat launch that is dilapidated, and then another angled roadway covered in brown slippery mud.  I slide down it as I try to run across. Other people are around now.
  • I finally get to a park at the end of a peninsula where there are lots of people, a lighthouse, and the ocean beyond.  A steep set of steps goes down around the base of the lighthouse to the edge of the water.  I run down through here and then up the other side.
  • At the top of the other side of the hill I find a place to rent small powered boats, so I get one.
  • I drive the boat down canals that are at first empty, but soon get crowded with other boat traffic. Some boats are small like mine, some large.  It’s like a street in India with the mass of cars going every direction.
  • I get to an opening where I stop and meet some friends.  Just past where we stopped the waterway opens up into a  large bay which I realize is Newport.
  • But it’s getting late and we have to get back.
  • I jump on someone else’s smaller boat that’s more like a motorcycle, and she begins riding fast back up the canal through the heavy boat traffic, weaving around other boats and narrowly missing head-on collisions.
  • We stop at a large marina and water park where there are more people I know.
  • We stay there for a while eating and drinking but I get separated from my group.
  • When I can’t find them and I realize it’s almost time to leave, I sneak onto a large boat that docked there.
  • Soon after I crouch down on a set of benches on top of the boat, a cover starts coming down over the top.  I am nearly crushed when I see a girl to my right who is operating the controls on this weird fiberglass cover that’s covering the whole top of the boat.  She is right next to me so I don’t understand how she will get out either.
  • “I’m sorry, I snuck on and I’d like to get out now, but I’m stuck.” I say.
  • “No, you are not,” she says.  “Turn around.”
  • I turn and realize that by my feet there is an opening which I go through and she follows.
  • I talk with her as the boat makes its way back out into the canal and up through other canals that I didn’t know about.
  • It makes its way into a city and we pass bridges, buildings, fields with people playing games.
  • Finally the boat stops again and I realize the girl I was talking with is gone.  I look around and see she is down on the bow of the ship which is flooding with water. The entire ship is settling deeper into the water and the bow is going under.
  • I run to find someone and point out what’s happening.  I am afraid she’ll drown, or be swept off the ship since the water coming over the railing is so strong.
  • I find another, older woman and point out what’s happening.
  • “Just watch” she says.
  • Two more girls join the girl at the bow.  The ship moves in front of three tubes, they look like the opening to a waterslide, but a strong current of water is entering them, filling them completely with rushing water.
  • When the ship is finally in front of them.  The three girls walk up to the tubes, and dive in head first.
  • I look around for where the exit of the tubes might be, but I cannot find it.
  • I turn to the woman next to me, “Where do they exit?”
  • “Back at the start.” is her reply.
  • I don’t understand at first and then realize she means the water park where we were docked hours ago.  I think back on how far the ship traveled to get to this spot from there.  It’s miles!  “They will drown!” I say.
  • “Perhaps.  They are ready, we must go to them if they are to live.”
  • The boat turns and begins its way back down the canals.  We pass the same places on the way out as on the way in.  At one of the fields there are people playing with these balls that are illuminated from the inside from some sort of power source.  They kick them at people on the ship and they are kicked or swatted back like a vollyball.  I can’t tell if this is a friendly game or the people on the ship are being taunted.
  • On the way the woman explains to me that while the girls who make the journey through the water tubes train for it, there is more.  She is their mother, and she must get to the exit tubes before sunset or the girls will be lost forever.
  • I begin to notice that I do not recognize where we are, the ship is going a different way.
  • “There are those who would like to see us fail, and they have blocked the way for the ship.” the woman says, “We are going to have to swim also.”
  • The ship begins to flood itself again to bring the bow under water.  I am taken with the woman to a forward compartment.  I can hear the water outside surround the compartment as the ship sinks further.
  • “How long am I going to have to hold my breath?” I ask.  “I’m not one of you.”
  • The woman looks at me, smiles, but says nothing.
  • I am waiting for the water to come rushing in, or to be spat out of the ship underwater like a torpedo, but it never happens. The sound of water fades and I realize the ship is surfacing.
  • “You said we were going to swim!” I say to the woman.
  • “The ship swims too.”
  • We go back to the top of the ship and we are docked next to a set of stairs that lead up and around an old building. I realize that the ship must have descended under the water and gone through some underwater passages to get here because this is a completely different part of the city.   There are high metal fences around the buildings and the edge of the waterway where we are docked.
  • I follow the mother and a few other people up the stairs.  I sense they are worried.  I look up at the sky and see that the clouds have turned a fire-red.  Sunset is almost here.
  • We take a brisk pace up and around a series of steps, the sound of water running becomes louder.  We must be nearing the exit of the tubes where the girls will be.
  • After another turn we come to a gate.  It is locked, and there is no way around.  The fences are too tall and too strong to get past.
  • On the locked gate door is a sticker that I recognize to be from the local mayor, who is generally regarded to be evil.  he has locked this gate to make sure that we will not be able to get in, and that the girls will die.
  • “We must find another way!” the woman says with some panic.
  • We run back down the steps and take another path.  We exit onto a beach and find some bicycles.  Everyone in the group grabs a bike and begins riding off down the beach towards the tube exits.
  • I am about to leave as well and then notice a pair of dive flippers.  Thinking that there might be more swimming I take them.

[this is where the dream ended, but I’m thinking something like:]

  • We all ride down the beach.  We turn a corner and the tube exits are visible, but are surrounded by a large lake / pond.  We will have to swim the last leg, and get to the tube exits before sunset which is rapidly approaching.
  • I will put on the dive flippers which makes me faster than everyone else, even though the other people in this group are all part of this “Swimmers” race.  Maybe they’re all older and have made “the swim” earlier in their lives but now they’re not as good.  In any case, having the dive flippers makes me faster and I get there first, just before the last bit of sun falls under the horizon.
  • Maybe the woman will have realized this was the outcome, and earlier in the story gave me a “gift” which is really some sort of amulet that I need to use to open the tube exits and get the girls out.
  • I use the amulet, the girls appear out of the water that is rushing out of the tube exits.
  • The last of the sun falls below the horizon.