Hello! Before we delve into this week’s bread basket, just a gentle reminder that Amy Halloran’s Artisan Grain Collaborative pecan talk is this coming Monday, and you should tune in if you can!
Who Let the Fairies Out?
The transformation that happens to the scores on a loaf of bread after baking has always seemed like magic to me, but did you know that scoring can be literal magic as well? As poet Rebecca Valley writes over at Kitchen Witch, Jennifer Billock’s wonderful newsletter on kitchen sorcery, scoring bread can be an opportunity for more occult conjurings:
Contemporary bakers often use scoring to create intricately decorated loaves. But with that beauty comes the potential for symbolic and supernatural meaning. By embracing the decorative, scientific, and supernatural functions of bread scoring, it is possible to craft a spell that rises with each loaf. Below, I offer four modalities that might guide you as you design your own scoring spell.
I am agnostic about the “reality” of magic, but I have no doubt that approaching any practice with intention and ritual can transform what results from it, and I love the idea of this. And, as Valley mentions, it is not without precedent: the traditional cross incised into a loaf of Irish soda bread is said to be done in order to “let the fairies out”.
-> Kitchen Witch: A Loaf of Spells
A Good Bread Tweet
Let Them Eat Steak
My friend David Tamarkin (former Digital Director at Epicurious and now the Editorial Director of King Arthur Baking) recently published a recipe for “bread steak”, and it briefly broke the internet, as claims about meat-free dishes making satisfying replacements for meats often do:
[M]y carnivore’s palate led me to the Bread Steak. A custard-soaked, Parmesan-crusted chunk of sourdough—essentially savory French toast—that really is decadent in the vein of a rib eye. It’s fatty. It’s salty. And if you do it right, it’s downright meaty.
I haven’t made David’s recipe yet, but all the furore over whether such a dish could be a complete and total replacement for a rib eye is silly. I have no doubt that it is delicious and entirely satisfying all on its own, and even if you don’t give up steak for life, you should give it a try.
-> Bon Appetite: Savory French Toast Is My Vegetarian Steak Swap
That’s it for this week’s bread basket. Hope you all have a peaceful (and firework-free) weekend, see you next week!
i was gifted a copy of the novel, Sourdough, by Robin Sloan. a very fun book in many ways. the loaves baked with the starter within the book were not scored that i could surmise, but the "score" patterns they came out the oven with were unique [and sometimes, if the culture wasnt happy, moody] faces!! what a cool idea!
Breadsteak!! It's totally a thing!! I've made it several times now and it's especially satisfying with a thick slice of Vollkorn Brot (whole grain pan bread). It's a "Savory French Toast" to those who don't like the name.