Monday, June 16, 2014
Making Bread as a Window in History: The Platypus Reads Part CCLXVI
Lacking an organic farm or a stone oven limits my undertakings, but I am determined to make some things with my own two hands this summer. To that end, I have some helpful little friends. The first is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. By the power of refrigeration, I now have tasty, tasty loaves on the table everyday via a process that's virtually idiot-proof. I've enjoyed seeing how much can be done with very little (salt, water, and flour), especially the different forms that bread can take from region to region (the picture above and the two below are Couronnes, a type of loaf my book informs me is native to Lyon).
So what am I hoping to learn from all this? I'm not sure yet. Whatever happens, I'm certainly not going "Wendell Berry" any time soon (poor health). I suppose looking at historical recipes and techniques and then comparing them with contemporary methods gives a real idea of how much labor labor-saving devices actually save. It's also impressed upon me the need for absolute faithfulness to routine and organization in sustaining traditional cooking methods. I still have a lot to think about and experiment with, but I'll let you know if I come to any firm conclusions. In the meantime, I have a honey-wheat loaf to enjoy!