Sometimes I bake…

Spelt and Polenta Sourdough 


400 gr strong spelt flour

100 gr Instant Polenta (i/o corn flour)

9 gr fine salt

60 gr bubbly spelt sourdough

350 gr warm water

I did 4 stretch-and-folds 30 minutes apart, let it rise for about another 2 hours and then popped it in the fridge over night. 

I fail at shaping, so in the morning I sort of lightly folded it in its bowl with my spatula, then transferred it into a bread baking pan and let it rest for about an hour or a little more. When it looked nicely puffy, I sprinkled it with Polenta, slashed the top (tricky, as very sticky still). Put it in the over at 230C, with another baking pan full of boiling water. Turned the pan by 180 degrees after 20 minutes. After another 20 minutes I removed the bread from the pan and baked it another 5 minutes to crisp up the bottom.

#sourdoughbread #speltsourdough #polenta

Talking about sourdough, this is a German book about baking with sourdough, that is challenging, but good:

Brotbackbuch Nr. 4: Backen mit Sauerteig (hardcover)
by Lutz Geißler

Not a book for beginners in my opinion. When I started baking bread with sourdough about a year and a half ago, this book completely overwhelmed me.

I now use it as a reference for the theory and technique of sourdough baking.

I haven’t really baked many recipes yet, but I plan to remedy that.

Catching up with the Reversereadathon

Good morning! So, I stayed up a little longer last night to catch the beginning of the readathon. Read a few pages in my ebook—not making much headway with it yet—and listened to one of my audiobooks for a bit. Woke up shorty after 9 a.m., lay in bed and listened to my audio for an hour. I felt really knackered, when I finally got up. Still feel knackered, actually.

Puttered around with my tomatoes—a friend thinks they have some kind of illness, so I cut off some of the uglier leafs. No idea. Then I got my sourdough loaf out of the fridge and carefully decanted it into the prepared baking tin. I am useless with the whole shaping thing. My dough is always so soft, if I try to do it, I always end up with a really big mess.

Anyway, books! While I was sleeping, this happened…

Hour 3 – exploring the online bookworld

What are some of your favorite bookish sites online? Do you have any book blogs or booktubers you like to follow for reading suggestions (or just for fun)? Do you have a book blog or other bookish social media site?

You are currently reading my bookblog, I am on Goodreads and I use Netgalley. Sometimes I add bookish photos to my Instagram. In the early days I used Livejournal for blogging. I also used Librarything for a few years and although I was quite active for a while, I eventually found it too chaotic and visually unappealing and moved to GR permanently. I tried some smaller sites, but was never really happy. My favourite buddy reading group is where I spend most of my time there and we did indeed start having the odd Zoom meeting during Covid!

I follow a few bookbloggers via WordPress, but I am crap at keeping up and I am not very persistent or regular. I apologize! I do have a look every now and then! I do not follow any booktubers. Idk, I just find it deeply odd somehow to watch people talking about books.

Hour 5 – the weirdest place you‘ve read

… tell us some of the weirdest places you’ve read! Have you ever gotten any looks or comments about it?

Where haven‘t I read? Brushing my teeth, in the cinema waiting for the film to start, boarding a plane… The oddest one is probably reading a physical book whilst walking. That was before the days of smartphones and audiobooks, obviously. Nowadays I just listen and walk. These days, whenever and whenever I have to wait for something, I read on my smartphone. Which is nothing unusual, half the world stares at a smartphone at any given time. Other places? Anywhere sitting down, really. Mainly with my kindle. I‘ve been know to read in hotel elevators on my way down to the restaurant, where I obviously continue reading. The elevator thing probably garners me odd looks.

Hour 7 – how do you read?

What books are on your TBR for this reverse readathon?

How do I read? Well, mostly on my kindle paperwhite. I always have one audiobook on the go. I read a lot of comics, mainly via kindle app or comixology app on my iPad, so I have a large screen and can zoom in.

Hour 9 – summer book recommendations

I don‘t get this whole summer / winter thing. I read what I read and the weather or season doesn‘t influence my decisions. Do you vary your reading based on the seasons and why?

Hour 11 – hobbies in books

I started sourdough baking during the first lockdown. And yes, I have read some cozy mysteries and romances involving sourdough. For example Sourdough by Robin Sloan. I am open for recommendations!

I recently came across knitting vampires, so there are all kinds of funny themes around… Tomato-growing werewolves? Not yet. Wasn’t there some fierce gardening in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)?

Ok, I think I am caught up enough. I will now return to actually reading something… oh, and I should probably switch on my oven! 😏

Strong against pain: Recipes and exercise for Osteoarthritis and painful joints

Stark gegen Schmerzen: Die besten Rezepte und Übungen gegen Arthrose und Gelenkschmerzen
by Helge Riepenhof,  Holger Stromberg

Rating: 5 out of 5.

(English review is further down)

Ich habe das Buch geholt, nachdem ich die zwei Autoren im Fernsehen gesehen habe, als sie es vorstellten. Wenn eine Ernährungsanpassung dabei hilft, die Schmerzen und Entzündung in meinen Fingergelenken zu reduzieren, bin ich dabei.

Tolle Rezepte. Meistens vegan, mit einigen Rezepten mit etwas Parmesan, Buttermilch oder Lachs … Anscheinend sind Milchprodukte schlecht für mich. Schade, ich liebe Käse.

Gute Einführung in das Thema. Es wird nicht missioniert, der Ton ist entspannt, (nicht zu) einfache Erklärungen mit genügend Details. Gute Zusammenfassungen der wichtigsten Punkte. Die Übungen muß ich noch ausprobieren. 

I got the book after seeing the two authors talking about it on TV. The book is about nutrition and food that helps to reduce inflammation and pain in various joints. If diet adjustment helps reduce the pain in my finger joints (osteoarthritis), I’m all for it. As far as I can see this book is only available in German.

Great recipes. Mostly vegan, with the odd recipe with a little parmesan, buttermilk or salmon… Apparently milk products are bad for me. Bummer, I love cheese.

Good introduction into the topic. Not preachy, relaxed tone, (not too) simple explanations with enough detail. Good summaries of salient points. I still need to try out the exercises.

Translation of the German book blurb:

Over 5 million people in Germany suffer from osteoarthritis. But everyone can do a lot to relieve pain or even to conquer it. The well-known TV doc Dr. Helge Riepenhof and top chef Holger Stromberg want to show osteoarthritis patients the way to a pain-free life with their holistic anti-pain program. How it works? With targeted exercise and the right diet. The two authors complement each other perfectly in their expert knowledge: Holger Stromberg explains why diet has a major impact on the joints and reveals the dos and don’ts of healthy cooking. He has created more than 50 plant-based recipes that are easy to cook and that taste irresistibly good. Top orthopedic surgeon Helge Riepenhof created a tailor-made exercise program for all large joints that requires little effort but is extremely effective. This is how a pain-free life can be achieved – completely without surgery and medication.

Buckwheat and Rye

No, not speculative fiction with a humorous slant. I baked again!

  • 350g strong rye flour
  • 200g strong wheat flour
  • 150g buckwheat flour
  • 50g cracked buckwheat groats
  • 150g active sourdough starter
  • 1 sachet dry instant yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 16g salt
  • 1 tsp bread spice
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil
  • topping: 1 egg white, 1 tbsp cracked buckwheat

Combine wheat, groats and yeast in a bowl.
Add and combine with 175 ml lukewarm water and sourdough.
Add sugar, salt, oil, bread spice and 175 ml water and combine again.

Knead on a floured table top for 10 minutes.
Let rise in a floured and covered bowl for 1 hour.
Take out of the bowl and shape a round loaf. I did two book folds.
Put back in the bowl or a banneton, cover and let rest another hour.

After that you can bake straight away. I put my bowl in the fridge over night. In the morning I took the bowl out of the fridge, transferred the loaf into a floured banneton and let it warm up for two hours.

Pre-heat the oven to 240 C.

Turn the loaf from the banneton onto a baking sheet, lightly cover it with egg white and sprinkle it with cracked buckwheat. Score it with a nice pattern and transfer it with the sheet into your Dutch oven. 

Put the lid on and set the pot on the lowest shelf in the oven.
After 10 minutes turn down the heat to 220 C.
After another 20 minutes take off lid, turn the pot by 180 degrees and bake another 20 minutes openly.
(= a total of 40 minutes at 220 C)

Voila! Let the bread cool for at least an hour, before cutting into it. Ideally wait till it has completely cooled. It‘s better for the crust.

Here it is…


Pretty dense, but the rising time was pretty short. Heavy. Crumbly — most likely due to the buckwheat, which is gluten-free. I like it though. Maybe a longer rising time next and less bread spice. Possibly even more salt… 

Nope. And yes, please!

Pretty Deadly #1
by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Goodreads Author),  Emma Ríos (Illustrator)

Rating: 1 out of 5.

No idea. A weird Western. After 20 pages still absolutely no idea what is going on. Revenge? Absolutely no interest to continue. DNF.

In other news I baked another focaccia on Sunday. I either overproofed it or I could blame the strong flour with some wholegrain in it… something was off. However, I decided to stick it into the oven anyway and my friends at the BBQ really liked it.

Baking time….

Ladies and gentlemen, it‘s another flatish sourdough bread. The crust looks good though and it smells great. It tastes good, too. Come to think of it, sourdough bread bought at a German bakery doesn‘t look all that differently. So I guess I am happy enough with the result.

I roughly followed a recipe by #theclevercarrot.

Yes, I didn‘t only use wheat flour. Therefor, I guess I should not expect the same results regarding the rise. 

This time it was with mystery flour from the local farmer‘s market. Two villages over is a family-owned (I think) mill — when I was at the market yesterday, wanting to buy strong wheat flour, the daughter recommended their „gristmill mix“. It contains wheat, rye and a bran-mix —> the mystery part. More wheat than rye and the bran is clearly visible.

I mixed the water and flour first and let it rest 30ish minutes (autolyze), before adding the starter and salt. Compared to the original recipe, I doubled the starter (100g) and added 60g of sesame seeds as well at this stage. Next time I need to add more sesame seeds, because I barely noticed them just now, when eating my first two slices.

After the four sets of stretch-and-folds I let the dough rest for about 4 more hours. So roughly about 7 hours of bulk rise? The dough looked puffy-ish, I saw some bubbles and it had risen. I plonked it onto my worktop (gently), shaped it, let it bench rest and tried to shape it again — didn‘t manage to flip it. Alas, I still haven‘t bought a bench scraper. It did have a decent consistency though and was definitely better than last time.

I chilled the dough over night in my proofing basket for maybe 10 hours. Unfortunately it did the pancake-thing again, after I moved it into my cast-iron pot. It did rise a little, while I pre-heated the oven, so I was pretty optimistic. Maybe I just have to live with a limited rise with this type of flour?

In the recipe the shaping is done after chilling the dough over night. Something to consider for next time. Maybe that way I can avoid the pancake thing… So far I have had a hard time with shaping my dough, as I have had high hydration doughs so far and the dough is too sticky.

Anyway, bottomline, slowly getting there…

@theclevercarrot #theclevercarrot

Back from the barbecue…

The focaccia was a hit, my friends loved it!


The chili flakes and garlic were a nice touch. Next time I would add more Gorgonzola, we didn‘t really taste that. Or feta could be nice, too. 

There was a small snafu, before I left the house… when I took the focaccia out of the baking pan, I saw that the bottom wasn‘t really done. It was still moist, although the bread was baked through. Probably because there was so much olive oil in the pan! So I switched the oven back on and put the focaccia back inside, bottom side up. I gave it another 10 minutes and it developed a nice crust. So yummy!

I left half of the left-over bread with my friends and rest came back home with me, with a bowl of tzatziki. Looking forward to lunch tomorrow! Actually, I think I am going to have a small piece now… 😃

Baking interlude: Sourdough Focaccia

We have a winner in the focaccia department! I followed this recipe:…

I used 400g AP flour and 100g wholegrain spelt flour.

After four hours of bulk rise and coil folds ever 30 minutes:

I finished the folds last night, so after transferring the dough into the pan, I covered it with clingfilm and a damp towel and placed it in the fridge. This morning:

After two hours of warming up in the oven with the oven light on and a bowl with boiling water placed in the bottom of the oven, I dimpled the dough and decorated with olives, gorgonzola cheese, chili flakes, thyme and rosemary:


After 20 minutes in the oven at 240C, again with a bowl of boiling water in the bottom:


I‘ll take it along to friends tonight for a barbecue. I will let you know afterwards how it tasted! 

Monthly Wrap-up — May 2020

Thanks to a friend I discovered Kindle in Motion, aka kindle books with animated illustrations and small movies/gifs. Fascinating! I downloaded and paged through Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as a kindle in motion and it was really charming…

I am also in the process of listening to various actors etc. reading the book at

Buddy Reads with friends:
– 2020 Rhysling Anthology, SF poetry, ★★★★☆
– Das Joshua-Profil, thriller, ★★☆☆☆, kidnapping, conspiracy, DNF at 36%
– A Hidden Fire, PNR, ★★★☆☆, an almost sparkly vampire and a librarian…
– Network Effect, SF novel, ★★★☆☆, Murderbot fluffed up to novel length
– The Walking Dead, Vol. 9: Here We Remain, comic, ★★★½☆, the survivors gather and start into the unknown.
– The Walking Dead, Vol. 10: What We Become, comic, ★★★★☆, Abraham is a hard guy to like!
– Pandemic, popcorn horror, ★★★☆☆, zombies Down Under.

2020 Hugo Award Finalist / Best Short Story:
– “And Now His Lordship Is Laughing” (Strange Horizons, 9 September 2019) , ★★★☆☆, revenge story set in colonial India.
– As the Last I May Know (, 23 October 2019), ★★★★½, decisions and consequences.
– Blood Is Another Word for Hunger (, 24 July 2019), ★★☆☆☆, a slave girl and her revenge.
– “A Catalog of Storms” (Uncanny Magazine Issue 26: January/February 2019), ★★☆☆☆, climate fic, pretty abstract.
– “Do Not Look Back, My Lion” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #270), ★★★☆☆, war, loss, betrayal, hope.
– “Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island” (Nightmare Magazine, Issue 80), ★★½☆☆, reads like footnotes, about colonialism and feminist cannibals.

Solo reads / comics & manga:
– Paper Girls #1, comic, ★★★★★, Stranger Things meets War of The Worlds?
– Paper Girls, Vol. 1, comic, ★★★★☆
– Gon: Volume 1, manga, ★★★☆☆, cute little T-Rex, b&w, wordless story telling.
– Overwatch #1: Train Hopper, comic, ★★★☆☆, Wild West meets SF.
– The Walking Dead, Vol. 11: Fear the Hunters, comic, ★★★★☆, more shockers…
– The Walking Dead, Vol. 12: Life Among Them, ★★★★☆, Alexandria
– Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins II #1, ★★☆☆☆, very little plot.
– James Bond #1, ★★★☆☆
– What If? Planet Hulk (2007) #1, ★★★☆☆
– Divinity #1 (of 4): Digital Exclusives Edition, ★★☆☆☆

Other solo reads:
– Blast Off to the Moon!, picture book, ★★★★☆, explaining the moon phases…
– Sauerteig: Echtes Brot und mehr, cookbook, ★★★☆☆, complicated and high maintenance, but very pretty…
– Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: Practical Recipes & Techniques for the Home Baker with Almost No Kneading, ★★★★★, very please with this practical, unfussy baking book!
– Feast of Stephen, short story, ★★★★☆, snippet from a series I like.

– lots of Star Trek and Stargate Atlantis from

Blast Off to the Moon! (Dr. Wonderful and Her Dog) by Lauren Gunderson The Walking Dead, Vol. 9 Here We Remain by Robert Kirkman A Hidden Fire (Elemental Mysteries, #1) by Elizabeth Hunter Paper Girls #1 by Brian K. Vaughan Sauerteig Echtes Brot und mehr by Sarah Owens Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries, #5) by Martha Wells Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan Gon Volume 1 (Gon) by Masashi Tanaka The Walking Dead, Vol. 10 What We Become by Robert Kirkman Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling 
As the Last I May Know by S.L. Huang Uncanny Magazine Issue 26 January/February 2019 by Lynne M. Thomas Overwatch #1 Train Hopper by Robert Brooks Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #270 by Scott H. Andrews Nightmare Magazine, Issue 80 (May 2019) by John Joseph Adams The Walking Dead, Vol. 11 Fear the Hunters by Robert Kirkman Critical Role Vox Machina Origins II #1 by Jody Houser Artisan Sourdough Made Simple Practical Recipes & Techniques for the Home Baker with Almost No Kneading by Emilie Raffa Feast of Stephen (A Charm of Magpies, #3.5) by K.J. Charles The Walking Dead, Vol. 12 Life Among Them by Robert Kirkman 
James Bond #1 by Warren Ellis What If? Planet Hulk (2007) #1 by Greg Pak Divinity #1 (of 4) Digital Exclusives Edition by Matt Kindt Das Joshua-Profil by Sebastian Fitzek Pandemic (Plague War #2) by Alister Hodge The 2020 Rhysling Anthology by David C. Kopaska-Merkel 

That was a lot more reading material than I had planned. The comics/manga consist of some shorter issues, so they were very quick reads.

No audiobook this month and I did not miss it. My audible subscription is suspended until July and I keep thinking of cancelling it all together.

I am quite pleased that I decided to read the Hugo nominated short stories, although I did not rate them all that well. Which reminds me to look up the comics finalists again and to check who won the Nebulas…

The sourdough baking book that I didn‘t like so much…

And another excursion into baking with sourdough. I posted about this book already at the beginning of May. Here is an update:

Sauerteig: Echtes Brot und mehr
by Sarah Owens,  Ngoc Minh Ngo (Illustrator)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I used the buckwheat pancake recipe with some light changes and tweaks and liked it.

Right now I used another pancake recipe, for oven-baked pancakes with a fruit filling. It reminded me strongly of Clafoutis. My fruit of choice was rhubarb (which is actually a vegetable, I think) and it was very tasty!


Bread next… because someone over on Goodreads told me that he scales the recipes to fit his needs all the time and it works. I always thought that is a no-go with baking. But ok, I will try it at some point and halve one of the bread baking recipes…

Right now I am a little happier with this book. If the next attempt works as well, I might raise my star rating…

Yes, the wine is just for the cook, it‘s not part of the recipe…