At a holiday office lunch last week, some of my coworkers complained about women they have blocked on Facebook. Their crime? Posting too many new baby pics. While I understand not wanting to see every minute of a newborn’s life documented in one’s feed, I’m just like these new mothers, except I post pictures of bread not babies. And today I’m subjecting you to my latest loaves—my best ones yet!
I follow (mostly) Michael Pollan’s sourdough bread recipe in his brilliant book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, which I highly recommend. Pollan outlines not only the history of cooking, but also what we gain by performing what today constitutes an act of rebellion: better-tasting, healthier food; improved relationships with our families; decreased dependency on Big Food; stronger communities; more engagement with the natural world; and more.
I produce zero trash when baking this bread. I buy the ingredients in bulk, either filling glass jars or homemade cloth produce/bulk bags, which I always carry with me to the store.
And now for the
baby bread pictures.
My bread was first conceived as a leaven (a larger starter), late one night in my kitchen. Below you see it the morning after.
I added half the leaven to flour (600 grams whole wheat, 150 grams rye, 250 grams white) I had soaked the night before in 700 grams of warm water. After letting this rest for about 20 minutes, I added 25 grams of coarse salt mixed with 50 grams of warm water, resulting in the formless sticky blob below.
As the bread fermented, I turned it every 45 minutes or so over a period of four to five hours. I took the pictures below after the third (or fourth?) and the last turns. Over these hours, the dough gained elasticity and air and felt, well, downright sensual.
When people hear I live (nearly) plastic-free and zero-waste, they may imagine I live a dreary, monkish life of self-deprivation and self-flagellation. It’s just not true. I’m not a huge consumer, so the biggest lifestyle changes have come from the kitchen. Giving up processed “food” isn’t a sacrifice, it’s a blessing. It simply cannot compare with the real food I make myself. And what a pleasure it is to bake, share and eat this bread.
I’m making another leaven tonight, as we polished these loaves off in a few days. I hope tomorrow’s turn out as well. I promise I won’t post pics 🙂