A rare event occurred yesterday. New experiences are still out there for us, no matter how old we get. I had one of them yesterday.
Hands-on projects usually provide me with a sense of comfort and personal industry, nothing more, nothing less.
I have mentioned my attempts to get a sourdough starter going, and to bake bread using the starter. The second attempt at creating a sourdough starter included a 1/2 teaspoon of commercial yeast, and from this a yeast colony was founded and evolved. After a week I used half the starter to bake a loaf of bread, including some commercial yeast with my recipe. The loaf rose as expected. Soon afterward I baked another loaf, using no commerical yeast whatsoever, the resulting loaf did not rise on the hearth, but did rise a bit in the oven. A compact, dense loaf resulted. The taste was very good, and the texture, although dense, was soft and chewy. That loaf inspired me to keep going.
Yesterday I decided to gather more information. I found inspiration in the description of Zuurdesem Brood, and altered my rising technique based on the information I read there. I prepared my bread dough by substituting the water called for in my tried-and-true bread recipe with an equal amount of starter, plus additional water to make a soft dough. The dough was prepared as usual in my bread machine, then it was left in the machine to extend the first rise by 1 1/2 hours. After the first rise I punched down the dough, kneaded it, formed a loaf, placed it in a greased loaf pan, oiled the top, placed a towel over the whole thing and set it on the hearth for 5 hours. It did nothing for the first few hours, and then slowly began to rise. It was baked at 400”F for 25 minutes, and smelled so good that I found myself waiting for it to come out of the oven.
As I removed this loaf from the pan, my nose caught a whiff of the wonderful fragrance. I found myself going back to the kitchen counter repeatedly to lift the loaf to my nose, to inhale that aroma. Not able to wait until the loaf was completely cooled, I cut a thin slice from the end of the loaf. A little bit of margarine and a little bit of peach butter were slathered over the soft hot bread.
From the first bite it was mesmerizing. “I think I’m in love,” I thought to myself, “how could I ever eat a slice of any other bread but this”!
This experience was magical, delightful and has given me a profound sense of connectedness.
There is much love at our house. The three sentient beings that reside inside these walls, Attila, Mist and myself, love each other peacefully and respectfully. The atmosphere we create within these walls is something we take from and give to with each word, each movement, and each breath. It is from this air that the natural yeasts in the starter have come.
My bread tastes like love.
|RECIPES :: Cast
Ghost of my past. Familiar building slowly falling into the arms of time.
By the Easy Chair
by Michael Ondaatje
" A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety."
"Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new."
Attibuted to both Ursula Leguin and Og Mandino
Press 102.0 kPa / falling
Visibility 15 km
Dew Point -4.1°C
Wind SSE 17 km/h
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