Challenge Day Nineteen


I knew brioche would take forever, and I still waited until 4:00 to get started on it. I think I had convinced myself that it would be a two-day thing, and so I didn’t scramble and stress about not finishing everything today. Then it was a pleasant surprise when, due to our ridiculous new semi-nocturnal schedule, I had plenty of time to let the dough chill, prove, and bake. It’s a treat when things all work out nicely. See below for the delightful results!

Daily Challenges

Intimate Time
CookingToday’s Menu: instead of brunch, we went to Top Pot and got ourselves some deep-fried dough; I snacked throughout the day on chips and cottage cheese (not together); for dinner, I ate leftover pizza while Guy cooked up a quesadilla; after the brioche was done, I made some scrumptious slices of bread with a bit of the chocolate ganache from last week’s cream puffs.
Reading (Poetry)War” by Witter Bynner is a succinct little poem about how people on all sides of war are children of the same God. I don’t believe in God, but I do believe that all humans are roughly the same, and that war (especially religious-based conflict) is fucking stupid.
Reading (Fiction)I’ve gotten to the point in The Poisonwood Bible where Congo is about to declare independence from Belgium, and I really need to do some research about that so I have more context. So far, the narrators keep referencing “Bingo Bango Bongo” and then that song gets stuck in my head, which is annoying because it’s pretty racist, and also I don’t know many of the words so it’s a very short loop.
Reading (Nonfiction)Today I pulled out Maid and was reminded of the “Barefoot Bandit,” a serial thief here in the Pacific Northwest who became famous nearly a decade ago for stealing a plane and flying it to the Bahamas, when he was only 19 years old. I hadn’t thought about that guy in years, and it was a fun little tidbit to connect me, personally, to the narrative.
MusicToday was not for music what yesterday was for writing; I did take a photo of my hand on the neck of the bass guitar, to show off my matte black fingernail polish. I have such good intentions, and such terrible follow-through.
Postcard Poem
This morning we woke up to This American Life (we slept in late, yes), and today they were talking about Hong Kong, and the protests currently happening there. A good portion of the show focuses on one young woman who gave an inside view into how the protests happen. At one point during their journey, she turned around and went back to get her umbrella, because it was very important. It turns out that umbrellas have a lot of versatile applications—you can listen to the episode for the full story, or get a taste of it from my poem:

“Hong Kong”
– Sarah Reebs
Umbrellas can be used
to channel the rain
of rubber bullets and gas,
to hide the ghostly spray
of canned paint on concrete,
protect from puddle splashes
of blood and vomit.
You can use an umbrella
against the torrential pour
of violence and propaganda,
shield yourself from wave
after wave of cultural genocide,
hide from a sea of eyes
as you transform like Superman
into Clark Kent,
out of your black shirt.
Trash PickupSince we were traveling a regular route on our walk, I took a smaller bag than usual. Next time, I will bring a second one with me in my pocket!

Today’s Challenges

Abs came after stretching (first thing in the day) because I realized, after two weeks now, that if I don’t do my abs challenge in the morning after I stretch, there’s a 50-50 chance that I won’t do it at all. I hate doing the abs before I eat breakfast, but then they’re done, and I don’t have to think about (dread) them anymore. If I’d adopted this mindset sooner, I wouldn’t have had to do them this morning, or for the next three days as well.

The big challenge today was brioche! I followed the recipe for Sophie’s Orange Plaited Brioches, and I think I did okay:

I didn’t have any oranges for zest (because I did not go to the grocery later in the week like I thought I would, and I didn’t have the heart to do it this morning) so I used the rest of the orange extract in our pantry. It wasn’t enough; they smell of orange, but they taste like plain bread, which is delicious and I’m not complaining! I will definitely use fresh zest, if I make these again. They weren’t too horrible, overall, so I might. I also might try something savory, and smaller.

For these baking challenges, I am *so* glad I started with croissants. I think they were the hardest of the challenges I picked and so set the bar (genoise sponge is yet to come) and everything else seems like a breeze by comparison. (I hope I didn’t just curse myself by putting it in writing!) Brioche is supposed to be pretty tricky, but I found it to be a lesson in patience, and actually less work than almost anything else so far. I’m pleased with the outcome, and jazzed to have three and a half more loaves to chow on for the next few days. Success!


  1. Beth says:

    Your brioche looks really good. Congrats on another success!

    1. Keep Right says:

      Thank you!! I’ll have to make you some, next time!

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