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.