I find myself unsure of the sharing etiquette in this weekly kitchen confessional. I like the casual intimacy of writing off the cuff, and think, from your comments, that you like it too, but sometimes I don't know where to draw the line between the bread business and my life. Part of the problem is that in reality, in my day to day, there is no line. The baking is business, obviously, but when the kitchen swallows whole days from waking to sleep, or I bike through town for the pleasure of riding and to scout out fruit trees, or spend a day gleaning and processing fruit to keep me and my pastries through the winter, or pick up an odd job to make up for the bakery's financial shortcomings, or barter at the farmers market for my week's groceries, or work in the garden which feeds me and grows the herbs for my baking, where does the business stop and my personal life begin? How do I choose which parts to share? And why does it feel right to share here moments of joy, inspiration, wonder for the world, but to write worry or sadness feels over-intimate and maudlin?
Ah well. I've been sad this week. You don't need to share my gray mood. More interesting, I have a bread experiment for you! It's a rye bread, in the style of the vollkornbrot and spiced cider rye I've made in the past, but this one is hydrated withChuckanut Brewery's sturdy stout, and along with the sweetness of the usual sprouted rye, has the warmth of toasted farro. I'll have it out for sampling at the market. If I get there in time. I'm late again! Time to grab my rain gear and thermos of tea and go pack the trailer.
See you soon!
I've been slowing down with the encroaching darkness, holding onto sleep, struggling to keep up the energy and slight panic that usually move me productively through my days. I had forgotten, as I always do, how hard it is to wake up in full darkness. Even early mornings in the summer hold the hint of dawn, but now I can easily go into the kitchen before the sun rises, and not emerge till after it's set. To spend whole days without a touch of real light is strange and disorienting.
I've been working on the new recipes I've built over the last few weeks, tweaking and taking notes. They're getting better! Though, as always, I welcome your feedback to improve them further. If you didn't try any last week, come by today to explore my adventures in blue corn. I've made the blue corn nixtamal bread again, as well as the blue corn, almond, and honey poached quince cake.
And to top it off, I'm bring a few air pots of blue corn atole to market. Atole, if you haven't spent time in Mexico, is a hot drink made from masa (or, at least in Oaxaca, any other flour within arms length of the blender, but the Oaxacans will blend anything they can get their hands on, so that may not be true in other regions). It exists half way between the comfort of hot milk and the satisfaction of porridge on a cold morning. If you bring your own cup, I might even give you a taste for free!
See you soon.
I found all sorts of wonderful colors and flavors to play with this week. Kevin, my miller at Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill, just started carrying hard white wheat again. Hard white is the sweet, mild-flavored cousin of the hard red wheat I've been using as the base of my wheat breads.The staple bread (formerly known as Hard Red) at the market stand will now be half red and half white (cleverly named Red & White). It's beautiful, and the flavor, though lighter than when it was made with straight hard red, is more complex.
I also picked up a bag of blue corn. I wish I'd thought to take pictures of the grain, because the color is a showstopper. I nixtemalized* some for a wild Blue Corn Nixtemal bread experiment. This bread puts my past polenta breads to shame. Nixtemalization increases the nutritional availability, color, and flavor of maize. This bread has a serious corn kick!
With the blue cornmeal a friend ground for me, I also made a lovely blue corn, almond, and honey poached quince cake. Unsurprisingly, the cornmeal didn't turn the pastry the vivid blue I was imagining, but I think the vivid orange of the quince more than makes up for the cake's staid color.
*Nixtemalization is the ancient Mesoamerican technique of cooking maize in an alkaline solution to make it easier to grind. The process has the added benefits of increasing niacin availability (thus the terrible plagues of pellagra in parts of Europe when they imported New World maize without importing its cooking technology), mineral content, and decreasing miotoxins.
This promises to be a wild and windy day,
but don't worry, the bread is heavy,
it won't blow away!
The sauerkraut rye is back at market for the moment. If you didn't try it last time, stop by for a taste. It's a hearty (but when are my breads not hearty?) rye/wheat with kraut and caraway, just begging to be made into a meaty sandwich. I've also made you some darling little apple-quince tarts with rye crust. How better to celebrate a blustery weekend?
And check out my new logo (above) by Claudia Art Studio, my occasional across-the-row neighbor at the market. Someday soon I'll be organized enough to get a new stamp made, and then all of you can enjoy it on your bread bags.
See you soon!
It's been another one of those head-long, head-down, tumbles of a week, though perhaps every week is like this and I just manage to forget so I can do it again. If I went into the epic kitchen days remembering the foot-aching, gritty-eyed feel of the end of a fourteen or twenty hour day, I might balk. Better to practice forgetfulness!
I've been playing with whole grain lamination again. Really, I just wanted a format to show off these beautiful honey poached quinces and pears. How better than on flaky, buttery pastry? Tomorrow I'll tackle the other twenty pounds of quince, along with the rest of this week's garden and neighborhood gleanings. I'm thinking membrillo and canned poached quince. Other recipe recommendations? It's such a beautiful, puzzling fruit.
Off to market!
See you in a few hours.