Where The Hearth Is

Apart from the off-centering impact of too much away food, something else I noticed about traveling is the effect it had on some domestic rhythms, especially baking. The live sourdough starter does best when it’s getting fed twice or thrice weekly, and during my time away it got sad and neglected. A quick feed brought it back, and I’ll bake tomorrow, but it took me a few days to get to it; even the short interruption made the habitual task of feeding and then mixing/kneading/rising/baking seem kind of daunting so that I put it off all weekend. Establishing these sorts of habits takes some practice, and they remain vulnerable to the distractions that constantly conspire to interrupt my progress on so many fronts.

These two loaves are the ones I baked just before I left. No frills, no seeds, nothing fancy. Just bread to tide the family over until my return. Of course, they were not enough; we ate most of the first loaf on the day I baked it and the second one didn’t last much longer. I made a double recipe, and figured it would be fun if they were different shapes so I could practice a bit.

Honestly, there’s not much in the world that’s better to eat than still-warm slices of this bread with good local butter. I have a whole freaking ham hanging mere feet from my face while I eat said bread and butter, and only rarely am I tempted to take it down and carve some off for a sandwich (though when I do, the results are stunningly good, especially with homemade mayo and kimchi). Many recent lunches have been not much more than bread and butter and then an apple or two before I get back to work. And that, mercifully, is a habit that’s hard to break.

And, as always when there’s yeast to spot, a link.

9 comments to Where The Hearth Is

  • SLOW DOWN. I can’t keep up with all your prolificity.

    YeastSpotting sounds like something that afflicts the feminine nether regions. Just sayin’.

  • Sigh. I cannot develop the baking habit.

  • Peter

    Blanche: Kristie already beat you to that joke like six months ago.

    CC: Of course you can. Want me to send you some starter?

  • That doesn’t make it any less awesome.

  • Peter

    Yes, it does. Quite a lot less awesome.

  • Barbara

    Hello Peter,
    Your breads look fabulous…is the recipe available?

  • Peter

    Hi Barbara-

    Here’s how these were made:

    300g white flour (I use a locally grown and milled 00 type that includes all of the germ; if you can’t find something like that try 250g of white and 50g whole wheat)
    110g rye flour
    240g water
    80g live sourdough starter at 100% hydration (equal weights of flour and water)

    Mix dry together, mix wet together. Add wet to dry and combine. Let sit for 20 minutes, covered, Then add 11g salt by sprinkling it on the dough and dissolving it with wet fingers. Knead for 6-8 minutes, then leave somewhere warm, covered, to rise. Doubled in volume is good, overnight can be better depending on ambient temperature. Shape, proof, score, and bake at 500˚.

  • Barbara

    Peter ~ Thank you so much for responding and for the recipe!
    Best wishes,
    Barbara

  • Peter

    Good luck. Those measurements are per loaf. Let me know how they come out.

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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