Dave Miller on Baking with 100% Whole Wheat

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My bread baking obsession has fallen into roughly three periods or phases. First came the Nancy Silverton years, when I went through her complex and not always successful recipes. Then came a period when I was too busy to bake much, so I turned to no-knead bread, dominated by Chad Robertson’s first cookbook. Results were better but I was still making white bread.

My new bread baking adventure began this weekend when I took a workshop taught by Chico, California baker Dave Miller. His breads are almost all 100% whole wheat. He mills his own flour from carefully sourced heritage grains. Using a levain (a starter), he creates loaves that foreground the flavor of the grain. In short, he shows that bread can have as much flavor diversity as wine.

Miller is a true master craftsman. He’s also a superb teacher: humble, patient and generous. He’s also convinced me to completely change the way I bake bread. Over the next few months I’m going to adapt his techniques to my home kitchen and I hope to share what I discover. In the meantime, here’s what I learned:

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Saturday Linkages: Elves, Archdruids and Open Source Furniture

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20 Open Source Furniture Designs http://www.shareable.net/blog/20-open-source-furniture-designs …

“The Valley of The Elves” by Ellie Pritts https://elliepritts.exposure.so/the-valley-of-the-elves …

The Archdruid Report: Seven Sustainable Technologies http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/01/seven-sustainable-technologies.html?spref=tw …

Silver Lake stays in step with Rudyard Kipling http://feedly.com/e/2K1ZbhCt 

Leaked: environmental chapter of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty – Boing Boing http://boingboing.net/2014/01/15/leaked-environmental-chapter.html …

When The Economy Stinks, Our Books Get More Depressing http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/when-the-economy-stinks-our-books-get-more-depressing-1498156174 …

Did you miss this last month? : Michael Pollan: How Smart Are Plants? 

Human-powered glider sets flight record in 1937 http://www.dvice.com/2013-3-18/image-day-human-powered-glider-sets-flight-record-1937 …

Presence, Not Praise: How To Cultivate a Healthy Relationship with Achievement | Brain Pickings http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/05/23/stephen-grosz-examined-life/ …

How to Deal With Cabbage Worms

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It happens every year. I forget the gardening lessons of the year before. Take my many failed attempts to grow cabbage, for instance. It always gets decimated by the imported cabbage worm (Pieris rapae), a creature as abundant in Los Angeles as aspiring actors.

There are several strategies I could use to deal with this pest (cabbage worms, that is–I have no problem with actors). I could spray Bacillus thuringiensis but I don’t like the idea of killing non-target species, not to mention the disputed human health effects of BT. I could use row cover, but this winter has been way too warm for even the thinnest material.

The best suggestion comes from the University of Florida. Find resistant alternatives:

Crucifer crops differ is their susceptibility to attack by imported cabbageworm. Chinese cabbage, turnip, mustard, rutabaga, and kale are less preferred than cabbage, collards, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. Some cultivars of certain crops also have moderate levels of resistance to infestation by imported cabbageworm. One resistance character is due to, or correlated with, dark green, glossy leaves. This character imparts resistance to imported cabbageworm and other caterpillars, but increases susceptibility to flea beetle injury (Dickson and Eckenrode 1980).

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I’ve noticed that the huge Franchi “kale” (collard?) that has gone into its second year, seems to be less popular with the cabbage worm than the adjoining Portuguese cabbage. Next year, I’ll skip the cabbage and plant something else. I like mustard better anyways. If I want cabbage I can outsource the growing and pick it up at the farmers market.

Have you had problems with cabbage worms? How have you dealt with it?

How to Plant a Fruit Tree

It’s bare root fruit tree planting season here in California and this video, from the Dave Wilson Nursery, shows you how to plant your trees once they arrive in the mail. One quibble–it’s been proven to be not a good idea to amend soil when you’re planting a tree. Other than that, this is how we’ve planted our trees and they’ve all grown well.

And I wish that I had done the radical pruning you see at the end of the video. Cutting the tree to knee height will give you a shorter, more manageable tree.

You can find more home orcharding videos on the Dave Wilson website.