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.
Thanks for the reference to your Walnut and Raisin Porridge Bread. That’s definitely a next-up (with your four-food levain going into the oven several hours from now). And I loved reading the insights from Mattie Kahn’s blog piece, particularly her response to “no recipe” guy. She highlights the reasonableness of being systematic.
Are your past workshops lost in the cloud? Trying to follow a link from a past posting for your Pizza al taglio one, for instance, returns this error (as well as a couple of others I tried...)
Error 1016 Ray ID: 6f4a1dd8152d1760 • 2022-03-31 15:28:44 UTC
Origin DNS error