Archive for August, 2008

Young, Dumb, and Liberal –

30 August 08

I watched an interview of a college girl this morning. Enlightening. I think, ah, it’s like, … like, well – you know, my family is Democrat.

Would you ever vote for McCain?

(I’ll skip all the likes, ahs, you knows). No – he’s too old. We’re modern, he’s not.

Knock, knock, knock. Hello!! Anyone home?? By her logic experience does not count. Knowledge does not count. Mature judgment does not count. Just youth and being “modern”. By her logic Obama is more qualified because he is young and inexperienced. Does that make a baby more qualified to vote than she is?

What about Obama’s 20 year association with Jeremiah Wright? This guy is a kook. If Wright were white and saying what he has been he would have been dismissed as a racially bigoted kook and any candidate associated with him would have been laughed and sneered and jeered from the scene. But, he is not white so he gets by with this crap, as does Obama. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can certainly listen to a couple of any preacher’s sermons and pretty well figure out where he comes from. Is Obama asleep during the sermons or that dense or what? Yeah, I know that he has distanced himself from Wright lately, but people – 20 years?

The same bunch of starry-eyed college kids stated that Wright had told Obama that Obama would have to distance himself from Wright and didn’t seem to think that Obama should be held responsible for being affiliated with the man for 20 years. What was that about birds of a feather?

I’m beginning to think that we should raise the voting age to 30 and require that only taxpayers be eligible. That’s not necessarily as far out as it sounds. Developmentally the human brain, as measured by EEG does not fully mature until between 24 and 28. Interestingly enough the last area to develop fully is that of judgment. Non-taxpayers are not paying the fiddler. They are likely to vote themselves bread and circuses every time. As my mother used to say – he who pays the fiddler calls the tune. Go figure.

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A Little Gun History Lesson

27 August 08
  1. In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  2. In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  3. Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated
  4. China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  5. Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  6. Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  7. Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million ‘educated’ people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now in:

Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent

Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent

Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!

In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!

It will never happen here? I bet the Aussies said that too!

While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.

There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.

You won’t see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.

Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.

Take note my fellow Americans, before it’s too late!

The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind him of this history lesson.

With Guns…………We Are ‘Citizens’.

Without Them……..We Are ‘Subjects’.

During WWII the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!

Note: Admiral Yamamoto who crafted the attack on Pearl Harbor had attended Harvard U 1919-1921 & was Naval Attaché to the US 1925-28. Most of our Navy Ships were destroyed at Pearl Harbor & our Army had been deprived of funding & were ill prepared to defend the country.

It was reported that when asked why Japan did not follow up the Pearl Harbor attack with an invasion of the U. S. Mainland, his reply was that he had lived in the U. S. & knew that almost all households had guns.

Draw your own conclusions.

Herself Sez: Yeah, and Switzerland has a totally armed citizenry. Every adult male in Switzerland is required BY LAW, to maintain a working firearm in his home at all times. You might note that during WW II, Switzerland, which is bordered by France, Germany and Italy, was NOT taken over by Germany, or by Italy, although Germany invaded Austria, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, France and the Soviet Union, and Italy cooperated with Germany against France, Greece, and Yugoslavia. Little Switzerland, located in the center of this fracas, was not invaded, despite the fact that a land-link between Germany and Italy would have been strategically beneficial.

Hmmmmm. An armed citizenry prevents invasion. An armed citizenry keeps violent crime at low levels. And armed citizenry increases the opportunity for preventing violent outcomes of assaults. Gee whillikers.

Used to be, high school ROTCs had guns and competed against other high school ROTCs in gunmanship and target shooting matches. When everyone has a gun, gunmanship lessons and competitions can be offered to the citizenry – and misuse of guns will be reduced to a minimum.

Will it prevent all murders and assaults? Of course not! But it will reduce the number to an irreducible minimum. There are always going to be the violent, antisocial cretins out there. And an armed citizenry will discourage most of them from their more violent antisocial behaviors.

Science and Engineering and Fantasy –

23 August 08

Science is the process of gathering knowledge of the world. A scientist observes and draws conclusions from those observations. A scientist devises experiments to verify his observations. A scientist may or may not have some notion of how he thinks things will turn out, but a true scientist will never bias or falsify data. A true scientist will always honestly report what he observed and the laws which are demonstrated by his data. It is totally unthinkable that any honorable scientist would ever declare unverifiable and unrepeatable data as any kind of proof of anything. He might report the data that was gathered and state clearly and firmly that no conclusion was possible. Actually unverifiable and/or unrepeatable data might be some sort of negative proof, but as every scientist knows, negative proof can be quite tricky.

An engineer takes the information provided by the scientist and devises ways to apply said information to design and implement a solution to a given problem in the physical world. It is not unusual for the scientist and the engineer to be the same individual, but most often they are different people.

A technician takes the designs of the engineer and implements (or repairs) them. A good technician may know more about the particular field than the engineer doing the design, at least as far as actual implementation and hands-on skill. The technician may be the engineer and vice-versa.

I suppose you could think of it as the scientist provides the why, the engineer provides the what, and the technician provides the how. In between and amongst all the above there are business and financial types. Very few good scientists, engineers, or technicians are good business managers. Usually one of the above may have the vision to start a company, but unless someone is around who understands good management and finance the company will probably fail. On the other hand, good business managers frequently do not have the technical vision to know where the future direction of the field that the company practices should go. Oh yeah, I should mention that there had better be some good sales weasels in the mix. That business about the world beating a path to a better mousetrap only works when the world knows about the mousetrap. It takes a good mix of all to make a significant change in our lives. In and among all of the rest there are the investors, who provide the funds for development and implementation of new technologies. It may be a single investor who starts and drives a company, or it may be public funding via the stock offerings that the company makes. Basically, when stock is sold, the company is selling shares to get revenue. The investors have in turn bought a share of the future profits of the company. This model works very well. This model is what built the modern world. It was not any government investing. The problem with government investing is that the incompetent are not allowed to pay the price of their incompetence – failure and termination of existence. There are no government developed technologies which begin to rival those developed by private industry.

The nice thing about this way of development is that it works, and works well. Unfortunately, people now seem to live in some fantasy world and believe that just because they want something to be so – it must be so. Firstly, our people no longer want to study science, engineering, or technology. Our heroes are entertainers of various sorts. Athletes are worshipped. Actors are lionized. Popular musicians are idolized. Their silly ideas are taken seriously and their bad behavior is emulated by the young and foolish. Inner city children spend more time trying to be basketball stars – which the majority cannot achieve – than they do studying science, engineering, technology, or whatever – in which a good many could achieve success. It is a complete waste to eliminate “competitive play” from the schools when the images on the tube encourage bad behavior. We have also allowed the inmates to run the asylum and no longer enforce discipline, correct behavior, and basic learning in our pubic schools. We have so few really studying the important topics that we are importing science and technology and medical types from overseas. Make no mistake, I certainly do not disapprove of good immigrant professionals – indeed, I welcome them. However, we should be growing our own. I suppose this is all of the same fabric as the current notion that the left has forced on us such that we import so much oil instead of getting our own.

All this does apply to our current situation. We have “consensus science” on “global warming”. We have people devoutly and fervently believing that “alternative energy” is really here and the “evil corporations” are hiding it from “the peeeeepul”. We have a Congress that passes laws based on wishful thinking rather than hard facts. We have “the peeeepul” sitting around waiting for “the gummmint” to fix their broken lives. When you hear someone whimpering “the gummint oughta…..” and ask said individual why he doesn’t take control of his own life you will only get a dirty look. Or even worse just a blank stare, since most of the “sheep” have no idea of their individual responsibility for their own lives.

Fantasy is all well and good. I like to read it. I like to see it in movies. But – in the real world I do not wish for my future to be governed by someone else’s deluded fantasy. Drill oil now. The left is fond of saying that we cannot drill out way out. Nonsense. The same day that Bush removed the Presidential embargo on drilling the price on a barrel dropped a damn good bit. This was not even a real lifting of the ban, since the Congress hasn’t gotten off its dead behind. Just the mention of doing out own drilling reduced the price of a barrel!

Is drilling a long term solution? Maybe not. What is the short term? Is it ten years? One hundred? One thousand? No one really knows. However, whatever it is – we need to drill for immediate benefit. Do we need to pursue “alternative energy”? Certainly. In a rational and non-hysterical way. We do not need wishful thinking. We need good science, not junk. We need good engineering, not buildings that will collapse and destroy the people they are supposed to shelter. We need good technicians that can properly implement a viable future. We need finance to drive the next energy revolution. We need competent managers to shepherd companies that can insure that future generations are able to live and work freely and safely. We need finance and financial mangers to provide the funding for the infrastructure to deliver whatever “alternative energy” we come up with. Actors and athletes and other blow-hard entertainers cannot do this. Real technical people who understand math, science, and the real world can. Without educating our youth in science and engineering and technology and business and finance none of this can take place. If we do not get a grip on reality and live in the real world, not the fantasy, we are doomed. When I taught ballroom dancing I quickly realized that some of the people mistook the world of make-believe for the world of reality. Fantasy as entertainment is dandy. I like it. But taking make-believe for reality is dangerous. And too many people are living in the dream world today. If they do not die themselves then they will pass on a doomed world to our descendents.

People, wake up. Reform the schools and start really teaching the kids something besides the cotton candy that is out there now. Congress – wake up and start being statesmen instead of pimps. If you don’t do anything else just get out of the way. Anyone who can look at the Congress now and think that these bozos have even a little concern for anything other than themselves is blind.

Calling Dr Frankenstein –

19 August 08

The most frightening thing about the current energy debate is the Pollyannaish stance of the left. No drilling – there must be alternative sources available now. This is more a mystical belief akin to the ancient fervent beliefs in magic than anything founded on good science and engineering.

There may be – and probably are – good alternatives. The problem is that, since the left denies us the ability to drill our own oil and develop any alternatives in a sound and well researched/tested way, we will be prematurely implementing technologies that are not yet ready for prime time.

Let us consider windmills. They offer a great deal of promise, yet are now being implemented without proper consideration of all possible engineering demands. A case in point – the good, green conscious people of Oregon have proudly implemented one of the foremost wind farms to date. Only this last July they came within a gnat’s whisker of disaster. On Monday, July 7, 2008 there was a large, unpredicted wind gust, far above the ability of the local regulating station’s handling ability. If the wind had gusted just a little bit more, the choice would have been to let the electrical overage burn out a significant part of the Northwestern power grid, or to spill a huge amount of water around the hydroelectric dams supplying the area. Sounds simple, but if too much water is spilled, the local fish population will die in vast numbers. That is not a very green solution. If some really good engineering solutions are not designed and implemented this scenario will occur again.

That is the problem with most of the alternatives at present. They are not totally dependable. What happens to life if the power grid is fried or cut off? Well, most major cities go into food shortage if delivery and storage are interrupted for 3 days. Most of these cities will have serious hunger within 1 week, death from starvation in about 2 weeks. There will be deaths in hospitals when the local hospital generators run out of diesel fuel – most do not have over a 3 day supply.

Now then – solar. To date, solar photovoltaic cells cannot efficiently and dependably provide major power solutions. There is a solar plant in Spain that is a sort of superduper solar hot water heater. It is what is referred to as a concentrating solar power plant. It looks pretty good as it begins service – but at around 2 billion we don’t have the bucks to plop them around for the fun of it. Nor has it got enough of a track record yet. Give it about 3 years, and then – if it really works well – start building. But first – for 2 billion and a good 10 years building – make damn for sure that it really will deliver and is cost effective. We cannot afford a failure just to feel green. If the engineering and construction are rushed because we must have alternative power now, because we are not allowed by the left to use what we know works, we absolutely will have a failure. Whether it is catastrophic or merely a couple of billion dollars wasted is left to your imagination.

Meanwhile, we have to develop our own oil – of which we have a great deal – and we have the delivery method in place. The left whines that we cannot drill our way out of this. Nonsense, another wishful lie. We most certainly can drill responsibly and cut the price at the pump in half. The left lie is, as usual, backwards. Drilling can bring new oil to market in less than 2 years. Just the announcement by Bush that he was lifting the Presidential ban on drilling – which did not include the Congressional ban – served to drop the price significantly. The alternatives – if they exist on a practical scale – will take at least 10 years to develop. And probably longer to bring to full market in a responsible and safe way.

No one with any intelligence at all thinks that we should not investigate other energy possibilities. But anyone with any sense at all does not want to invest in something that will fail us and cause the deaths of millions. Or is that the goal of some of the more radical lefties? Look at the more fervent animal righties and environuts. It appears that many of them would be happier to see humanity die off. At least that appears to be the goal of many of them that hate themselves and this country.

If we are rushed into betting on the wrong energy source, or even the right one without all the proper research and safeguards, the resulting catastrophe can make Dr. Frankenstein’s blunder look like a harmless kiddie joke. Consider the meltdown at Chernobyl. Consider the gas release a Bhopal.  Both were unintentional engineering or maintenance disasters. We could well have a similar consequence if we rush into some promising power source without full and proper research, testing, etc.

Gad-zukes –

16 August 08

The ubiquitous and handy Zucchini can be handled a ton of ways. Here’s a packet cooked variation:

zucchini
thin sliced onion
thick sliced mushrooms
couple of rings of red or orange bell pepper
minced garlic
chopped sweet basil and/or any other herbs you like
blop of olive oil and/or butter
salt, pepper, and other spices you like
bit of bread crumbs dusted over
ice cube – a useful trick in packet cooking – provides steam, but easier to handle than just water

Cut zukes into bite size pieces, place on a square of heavy duty foil. Layer on the other veggies: onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, butter/oil, herbs, spices, ice cube last. Dust well with bread crumbs. That’s optional – come to think of it, everything’s optional in this thing. Wrap it up tight. 450° oven for 30 minutes OR a medium hot grill for 15.

For a far-eastern whang, use some teriyaki sauce or hoisin sauce. For a Vietnamese flavor, add a sprinkle of 5-spice powder, serve over rice with Nuoc Mum sauce. If straight Nuoc Mum is too stout for your taste buds (and/or nose), try adding a bit of fresh squeezed lime juice. The stuff does smell, but damn, it’s good.

Needless to say, nothing fixed in stone on this one. Throw in a bit of ground ham or whatever.

You do know to use true Oriental type rice, not the instant junk, don’t you?

Mostly I Don’t Vote –

12 August 08

– for a candidate. I tend to vote against the candidates with political philosophies that I can’t stand.

I guess I have tended to vote against the Democrat/Liberals for the past 40 years or so. Back in the day I could and would vote for the occasional Democrat – Zell Miller comes to mind.

But lately the Democrats seem to be hell-bent on betraying this country and all we have stood for. The fact that the Republicans are frequently stumble-bums doesn’t take away from the fact that I vote against the Dems more than for the Republicans. The Democrats have always been a bit of a populist party. The fact that the founders of this country had the opportunity to set up a democracy and did not should say something to us. Oh, you thought that this was a democracy? I guess you never read the Constitution or the Federalist papers or any of that stuff. Then you probably had a government education. The fact is – we are not a democracy, we are a republic. There’s a bit of a difference here. Just for starters – you have no Constitutional right to vote in a Presidential election and the popular vote does not mean a thing. The President is chosen by the electoral college. Only the number of electoral votes means a thing. The states are free to choose their electors in any way that they see fit.

The Democrats have chosen to be a party that panders to the lowest denominators in our society. I was in a union for many years as the job I was doing was a union position. I remember the business manager of the local getting up in meetings and beating on the pulpit and yelling “We’ve GOT to elect a Democrat”. Never mind that 99% of the union membership were actually more in line with conservative thought, they voted Democrat to get their special interest perks.

Every non-standard sexual group is pandered to by the liberals. Now the fact is that most of these special group laws are Constitutionally questionable and unnecessary is never considered. They vote Democrat to get special consideration for their group.

The blacks in this country have been seduced by the Democrats for some strange reason, and there is popular myth that the Democrats got the blacks the “rights” of normal Americans. Nonsense. The beloved Saint Jack didn’t give a hoot about the rights of the blacks. It was a Republican minority, led by Everett Dirksen, a Republican, which passed the civil rights legislation which buried Jim Crow over the objection of the Democrats.

The current Democrat liberal view is summed up in the words of Richland County, SC Councilwoman Bernice Scott, who bluntly told the audience “this race is not about race or gender.” Scott said the decision should come down to which candidate can “feed the sheep.”

Feed the sheep? Although I was not around when FDR started the welfare society, I was around when LBJ declared the “War on Poverty”. We have not eliminated the lower class non-performers since we have only given the non-productive money. We have declared that lower class behavior is not to be discouraged and have not educated the lower performers into anything useful. We have fought the war on poverty the liberal way. We lost.

I guess that we have indeed created a nation of sheep who will not take control over their own lives. Nor will people take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. We currently have a situation where the government is being asked to bail out the banks that have made very poor decisions about who they loaned money for housing. Why am I financially responsible for bailing out a corporation that has made bad decisions? Where is the logic in the liberal desire to bail out failing corporations and yet punish corporations that have made good decisions and make a profit? Sounds to me like the libs are consistent in their desire to reward failure and punish success.

Sheep will need more and more nanny government in their lives. This is not what the founders had in mind at all. We see nowhere in the world that socialism has worked, yet the Democrats/Liberals are heading toward that cliff with all the passion of the legendary lemming rush to destruction.

The basic message is still the same – the Democrats/Liberals want the nanny state and want to take care of all you stupid, incompetent people that don’t have enough sense to run your own lives. Of course, that gives them what they want most – power. The conservatives want to provide all you people with the opportunity and tools to make your own success. Of course, this also means that you have the opportunity to make your own failure. But note – it is your own and you retain the dignity of a reasonable, adult human being. You do not have the status of a stupid, vapid, incompetent pet sheep.

I would rather die free than live as a pet. I will continue to hold my nose while I vote against this insanity.

Racism is a myth –

9 August 08

As used by the average American, particularly as a pejorative, this is entirely the wrong word. Racism means the belief that an individual’s abilities are defined and limited by the racial group. This is usually accompanied by an assumption that one’s own racial group is unlimited and therefore superior in some way. When a statement starts “Well, you know all these people…” That would usually stem from a racist perspective.

Most of the people in the world are vaguely uncomfortable with groups different from their own and congregate with people like themselves. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. Where the problem comes is from carrying this to the extreme. This engenders hatred and bigotry. Now comes the fun part. This is a spiraling relationship. It is easy to see this in American black/white society. The blacks were slaves. They were freed. There was distaste and dislike and discrimination on the part of the white, which became part of law and custom. This lasted well into the 1950s, when it began to be redressed/addressed. Any official and 95% of intended discrimination is over. There is still considerable resentment and hurt feelings in the black community. There is more racial bigotry on the black side than the white now. This is not going to go away until the black community starts judging individuals on their own merits, whether black or white. And accepts personal responsibility for their own actions.

If someone cuts you off in traffic and you curse under your breath “You bastard”, that is not bigoted. If you mutter “You black bastard” then you have a problem. We all do this. Not necessarily racial, but the petty putting down of any group that one dislikes as a group calls for some self examination. This is not to say that individuals of that group may not be like or disliked on their own merits.

Back in the early 1970s I worked for a company that had the repair facility and the warehouse/shipping facility in the same building. There were two repair technicians, of which I was one. The warehouse supervisor was a young black man who liked to come into the repair facility when we were working and start talking and joshing. We never said anything ugly to him, but one day he stopped and looked rather thoughtful. He then said “You don’t like me because I am black.” I said “No, black has nothing to do with it. We don’t like you because you’re an asshole.” I don’t think he ever understood that.

It is easier to blame one’s failures and limitations on something outside oneself and beyond one’s control. It is easier for an unsuccessful black man to claim to be the victim of white racism. Never mind that he has rejected a decent education and mocked those who made good grades as “Oreos.” Never mind that he does not think that corporations should look at decent English, civilized manners, and ability in hiring. It is easier to blame whitey. But unless and until that perception changes there will be no change in his life.

When a young black man comes in with his pants halfway down to his knees and his underwear halfway up to his chest, over his shirt, I don’t know what he is thinking. Certainly he will never get a job with any company I am associated with. This has nothing to do with his race, it has to do with his presentation of self. Likewise any kid who is looking for a job with me had better be neat, clean, appropriately dressed, and speak good English. No, I will not hire someone who speaks ghetto Ebonics. Nor will I hire someone who speaks country redneck. I am not talking about a small accent here, after all, I have a fair Southern accent. I am talking about appalling grammar and enunciation.

Now, does this mean that there are no more stupid racial bigots out there. By no means. Stupidity is rampant. Bigotry is alive and healthy. Check some of the stuff posted on the internet. I find it interesting that bigotry and bad grammar seem to go together.

Many years ago there was a wonderful cartoon call “Bloom County”. I don’t remember when it was, but one of the themes that got a week or two worth of gigging was the being offended by this that or the other. The cartoon went on and on about things that offended various people. The final strip in that series concluded that what bothered people the most was “offensensitivity.” And of course, liberals suffer from it terribly. Offensensitivity is the rabid fear of saying or doing anything that anyone would find offensive. I submit that if someone is determined to be offended then you have no power to prevent it. I was in one of these horrible seminars that major corporations put their employees through to make sure that they are “sensitive” and politically correct. Anyway, as part of this we had to tell a story. In the telling I commented that a fellow who was 6’4″ and weighed above 300 lbs. was a huge gorilla. Now the people in this seminar were all professional and middle level management. One of the black women really got on a tear about how all the black people in the place were offended because I’d said that the fellow resembled a gorilla and everybody used to call black people monkeys. Now I must say that she realized that no disparagement or harm was meant. Yet can I, or anyone else live in constant worry that someone will be offended when no harm is meant? I insist that if wrong is meant, the punishment is deserved. Otherwise – people, grow up, get over it. Do not see evil where no evil is meant.

The correct word is bigotry. It means to be intolerant of opinions, lifestyles, or identities differing from one’s own. And all people suffer from it.

Overnight French-Type Bread –

2 August 08

I have written about sourdough to a large extent. What is sourdough in terms of bread? It really is just one of a class of things known as pre-ferments. Generally speaking, pre-ferments are not used in commercial bread baking as they take too long. The fast rise of commercial baker’s yeast is more geared to factory production schedules.

However, for the home baker who is really looking to make a better tasting loaf, pre-ferments offer significant advantages in complexity and depth of taste. The major pre-ferment groups are: sourdough, old dough, biga, and poolish. You will see/hear lots of terms like pâte fermentée, chef, mother, sourdough, levain, madre bianca, and many others. What these are just various terms for pre-ferments.

Most recipes involving pre-ferments come as 3 stage jobbies, with the pre-ferment used to make a sponge, and then the sponge used with the main dough mix.

I have written on sourdough a lot (and will do more). I will also get into other pre-ferments as well, but for right now we will take a look at a nice lazy-man’s poolish. Originally from Poland, around the mid 1800’s, as the name sort of suggests, the method was extensively developed and used in French bread baking. Poolish is a rather wet sponge, as opposed to the drier Italian biga’s. Poolish gives a rather warm and nutty sort of complexity to the flavor of the bread.

Here’s the overnight lazy loaf – about 4 baguettes worth.

First – make the poolish up the night before baking:

315 g bread flour
315 g water
268 mg yeast – just a full pinch

Mix it all up until the flour is all wet and the yeast is well dispersed – don’t knead. Cover with plastic and let it sit for at least 12 hours and up to 16 hours max. This will rise and be sort of soft and puffy looking when it is about right.

The next morning:

637 g bread flour
315 g water
18 g salt
4.0 g yeast (about 1.25 tsp)
all Poolish

Mix on 1st speed for 3 minutes. Mix on second speed 3 minutes.

Place in a lubed rising bowl for 1 hour.

Stretch and fold.

Return to rising bowl for 1 hour.

For baguettes, divide into 12 to 16 ounce portions, let rest for a few minutes, shape, place into a floured baker’s couche. For other shapes, treat as you please.

Let rise for 1 to 1.5 hours.

Slash as is appropriate to the shape. Bake at 460°F in a well-steamed oven. You know the sprayer trick? Well, get a spray bottle, fill with clean water and spray the oven heavily as you load the bread, spray again after a couple of minutes. Baguettes get about 26 minutes in my oven. Rounds or ovals about 30 minutes. You want the temperature appropriate for your area of the country. At Atlanta elevation, that’s about 207°F, sea level might be higher, high altitude might be lower. Do the thump test when the crust looks dark golden and crunchy, then take the temp with an insertion thermometer to see what is properly done for your elevation. Then you can just use an insertion thermometer with a properly set alarm and never worry about watching things again.

Please notice that if you time things right, you can make up the poolish just before or after dinner and leave it overnight. Then make up the dough either before or after breakfast, do the risings and shapings before lunch, bake after lunch, and have nice, fresh bread for dinner. Rather leisurely when you time it all right. Also notice that if you are using the packaged yeast (I do), that you can get 2 batches out of one package by using just about half a pack for each batch.


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