i've been paring down on these bits, doing my best anyway. i think that if we stop for a moment, quiet ourselves, we soon discover that the sound of our jumbled thoughts really gets in the way of things. this cacophony inhibits us from being present and finding joy, even in the sad little things. if there was no sadness, then we would never be able to understand the value of joy. likewise, with whose measuring stick are you using to quantify your little miseries? just consider for a moment.... yeah. see what i mean?
just be quiet now. still your chattery, self-critical mind. it ain't all so bad. and you really already have all that you need. just breathe and let. it. go.
so, i've been tossing around this thought that rumbled across my head not too long ago: RUSTIC JOY (don't bother, the dot com is already taken). yes, think about it. the whole world is craving it, doubt me and head over to pinterest. have a look-see. all of that architecture using reclaimed this and unearthed that, houses made with wood from stumbled upon outhouses.
we are obsessed with rusticity of late, the world as a whole, really, even the french. yes, the french. i stumbled across a parisian girl's blog post not too long ago, and in it, she was over the moon about having just created a cloche using 'found' sparrow feathers. the real art was in the natural artistry of the bird's plumage rather than the girl's millinery prowess, and it was also likely that the poor bird died an indescribably gruesome death at the mitts of some cat since the pile of feather's was found in what sounded like a paris drain gutter. i was a cheerleader for her little piece of found joy nonetheless. she had hammered together something useful out of a rotten thing. and the craving for such earthy ingenuity is spreading across the net like a great conflagration, hungry to burn out our errant and nugatory ways and set the record straight again.
it seems like droves of us want to swap out our metropolitan landscapes for those more pastoral. we are, many of us, in desperate need of star-strewn skies and the primitive rasp of a cricket's mating call piercing the obsidian night. we want to live in shacks whose floors are paved with dirt. we want to grow things in dirt, manufacture things out of dirt. we are in a tizzy over dirty things. earthy things. the infrastructure of our very lives, after all, has been forged of mineral and clay. we are craving a return to the beginning.
it's all just too much, this world. spinning too fast. crammed too tightly. shouting too loud. and it's far too pretty in a really contrived way. this world. we have laminated it with so much sparkle and shimmer that we are all just hankering for a dirtier brand of joy, one that still has the bran on it, one with a natural bit of chew. we've all had our experiences masticated for us for far too long. and there is promise that this great resurgence to return to our roots could connect us to our higher power, our impetus, and give some greater meaning to the breath that we have been gifted. i can think of no greater way to evolve than to remove those unnecessary parts of ourselves and lay ourselves bare. for it is when we lie unmasked that the truth of our paths are revealed.
alas, we are human, and a year of all that dirty, earthy, hippie living will have us showering and grumbling that it's all just moving too slowly. finicky, we.
speaking of bran and chewing through a more substantial life, my bread today is made of 50% sprouted spelt. and i probably shouldn't put this in print, but my neighbor pirouetted across the courtyard this morning to tell me that she had eaten it for supper with her beau and pronounced it 'orgasmic' with the first bite. such a word for this rustic bread.
of course, anyone who describes my bread so lasciviously gets immediately added to the list of recipients who can have a half-loaf at week's end.
have a look.
i used sprouted spelt from to your health in this formula, a miller that mills their sprouted flours to order. the flavor is beyond compare, as you can imagine. and just so you know, i have been feeding my starters with their sprouted flours, and they are rising at least 25% more than when i use other non-sprouted flours. i seriously recommend using sprouted flours for your health, though they do cost a kings' ransom.
this formula will make one 70% hydration loaf with amazingly evolved, earthy/nutty flavors and a definitive tang, but not overly-so. if you prefer a loaf with less acidity, cut the final proof to 4 hours, refrigerated.
FOR THE LEVAIN, THE NIGHT BEFORE THE BAKE
50g sprouted spelt starter
157g sprouted spelt flour
mix the above t make a paste. ferment overnight, covered, in a bowl.
250g sprouted spelt flour
250g KA organic bread flour
dissolve the levain with the water. mix in the flours. make a cohesive mass (this is an easy to manage loaf), cover and autolyse for 40 minutes. after the autolyse, squish the salt into the dough with your fingers.
4 HOUR BULK FERMENT
for the first two hours of the bulk ferment, perform a series of turns every half hour like this: scoop your hand under the dough mass, pull the bottom over the top, spin the bowl, repeat, then repeat once more. you will do this 4 times in two hours.
for the final two hours of the bulk ferment, pop the dough in the fridge and let it do its thing.
BENCH. SHAPE. PROOF
after the bulk ferment, carefully scrape the dough onto a counter lightly sprinkled with organic brown rice flour. form a loose round. rest on the bench for 15 minutes.
after the rest, shape into a tight boule. sprinkle a linen with rice flour (liberally - ain't nothing like doing all that work to find your dough sticking to a linen that has not been dusted amply), line a bowl with such, pop the dough, smooth side down into the linen. pop in the fridge to proof for at least 4 hours, and up to... let's see, mine proofed overnight for 8 hours an 45 minutes.
one hour before you plan to bake, get a combo cooker into the oven fitted with a baking stone on the middle shelf. preheat to 550 degrees.
pull the dough from the fridge, fit a piece of parchment over the bowl, place a peel on top of the parchmented bowl and invert the bowl.
remove the linen. score (i'm still trying to come up with a signature score for this bread). slide the boule into the shallow end of the combo cooker, parchment and all. cover with the fatty end, slide into the oven, turn down to 475 degrees and bake, covered, for 30 minutes.
after 30 minutes, remove the cover, spin the pan 180 degrees for even baking, turn the oven down to 450 degrees and bake till chestnut brown. mine took another 30 minutes exactly.
crust: good shattery crust, amazingly so. flavor: nutty, earthy flavor. mid-acidity, not too powerful though. crumb structure: lovely, lovely crumb. light, moist, fully gelatinized. the perfect texture.
to the staff of life!
shared with sister susan over at wild yeast blog.