Something bubbling in my kitchen
The windows are wide open during the day, a fresh breeze blows through the house and every surface is coated with a fine dust. Whether this is sand or flour is hard to tell. Before Christmas I waited and waited for a letter that did not come. January arrived and a few weeks in, an envelope covered in colourful stamps was waiting for me on the table. The magic granules from Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, created with flour, water and invisible elements in the atmosphere, had travelled by halfway round the world from Australia. The offspring of Priscilla, christened Prudence by me, was stirred into some more flour and water and started a new life in Dubai.
So in my kitchen this month have been golden, chewy-crusted loaves and the scent of baking; the first steps in my new routine as a regular sourdough bread baker. I started by following Celia’s sourdough 101 guidance then, a couple of overnight loaves. Some have been baked in a Le Creuset cast iron pot, one on a baking tray. With Celia’s straightforward but meticulous guidance, informed by her experience and knowledge, the baking routine has not been arduous at all and the fear factor replaced by curiosity and excitement. Oh, and the bread is very good (don’t judge a book by its cover).
Next I tried a rye loaf, using Dan Lepard’s method from The Handmade Loaf. There are some fantastic passages in the book, I love how inclusive and non-judgemental he is:
The adage here must be to bake with what you have; make the best of what is around you. For some, there is no choice in their minds but to use a natural leaven as the sole ferment within a dough. For others, this is akin to witchcraft, and a madness in an age of convenience. To my mind, a beautiful loaf, wrought with care and consideration, must be the aim;
The dough was like a sticky lump of porridge, impossible to knead or shape properly. The finished loaf was black-tinged, cracked and a bit flattened. It looked dry and overbaked from the outside, but when I cut into it slightly underbaked. However, the taste was sublime, slightly sour, deep and malty. I now have a rye starter (or leaven) in my fridge and I’m looking forward to many more rye loaves in my kitchen… hopefully a bit better looking.
Good bread needs the best cheese, so I’ve been tucking into some English cheeses from the South-West kindly brought back from Devon by Drina of Eaternal Zest. I remembered a sandwich which I used to order from a little Italian deli in Goodge Street and recreated it for lunch. With beautiful ripe tomatoes from the market, basil from the garden and Astraea olive oil I’ve had it two days in a row already.
So with bread baking, veggie teens month of veganism (thanks to Tidjoori for some lovely organic, vegan products including a mayo) and lots more to tell you about in the pipeline, this is a quick look ‘in my kitchen’. All pictures and editing were done with my new iphone 6 plus using Snapseed, Fuzel, Diptic, Over and Letterglow apps (not all at the same time!).
You can gain admittance to many more kitchens through Celia’s monthly event – look for the list in her sidebar. And thank you once again dear Celia, for welcoming me into the fold of your worldwide sourdough baking family.
What’s in your kitchen this February?