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Friday Bread Basket 3/25/22
Squishy breads edition
Welcome to the Wordloaf Friday Bread Basket, a weekly roundup of links and items relating to bread, baking, and grain. This week’s email is a follow-on to Wednesday’s vegan milk bread posts from Gan Chin Lin, since it involves other squishy, smooshy enriched loaves of various kinds.
First up, a bit of self-promotion: A few weeks back, King Arthur Baking published my latest for them, a post on the joys and virtues of porridge breads, along with a recipe for “breakfast porridge” loaf, made with steel-cut oatmeal porridge and many of the mix-ins and flavorings that you’d stir into it if you were serving it for breakfast—orange zest, warm spices, walnuts, and raisins. It’s one of my favorite new formulas and I hope you’ll feel the same.
A good bread tweet
Challah, a metaphor
I loved this wise post from writer Mattie Kahn, all about her developing challah-making practice, which mirrors my own approach to bread baking:
But after 24 months of practice, I have the recipe memorized and the steps streamlined and stripped to their most essential selves. With minimal variation, the loaves come out the same each week—puffed and bronzed, like a B-lister fresh from her dermatologist’s office. I don’t feel like I’m doing it better than I used to. I don’t even feel like I’m doing something different. The results suggest that I’ve just improved. After 100 or so weeks of baking, I’m consistent. I no longer experiment. Someone tells me that her challah is sweetened with coconut sugar, and I just nod. Cool. I will stick with sucrose.
At some point what happened was I paid attention to what worked and kept doing that. I skipped the steps that made things more complicated. I tweaked the ratios and then I stopped tweaking. I learned to trust the process.
Read the whole thing, it is so great.
Another good bread tweet
Thanks to my friend Nicola Miller, I have a new art obsession: Emily Eveleth, who for more than 30 years now has painted enormous, quasi-hallucinogenic, and highly suggestive still-lives of donuts in various states of torpor. You can read more about her work at the Hyperallergic article I linked to below, and see some of the donut paintings in situ on her website. It turns out that Eveleth is local to me, and I have ideas about scoring a studio invite, so stay tuned for that possibility…
That’s it for this week’s Friday Bread Basket. Just a heads-up: I’ll be taking spring break from the newsletter next week in order to finish up a few other projects, so I’ll see you all again on the week of April 4th.
Ps. Do you all know about the new Substack app for iPhone/iPad?
It gives you a dedicated Inbox for my Substack and any others you subscribe to. New posts will never get lost in your email filters, or stuck in spam. Longer posts will never cut-off by your email app. Comments and rich media will all work seamlessly. Overall, it’s a big upgrade to the reading experience.
The Substack app is currently available for iOS. If you don’t have an Apple device, you can join the Android waitlist here.