Sunday, July 29, 2012

life is too fast, life is too slow...

we are ornery, selfish, hedonistic beasts, aren't we? we want it, we want it now, we want it all, and we want never to feel anything but bliss.

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.

50% sprouted spelt boule

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.

50% sprouted spelt bread.

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.


50g sprouted spelt starter
157g h2o
157g sprouted spelt flour

mix the above t make a paste. ferment overnight, covered, in a bowl.


364g levain
350g h2o
250g sprouted spelt flour
250g KA organic bread flour
13g salt

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.


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.


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.


  1. Hey! I just discovered this blog after googling Tartine Bread recipes (just hit up Tartine yesterday... I'm moving two blocks away from there which could be a really good or really bad thing) - you have such a beautiful blog, with so much beautiful bread, and such a lovely voice. I really have also noticed this new yearning for more rustic living, and I do feel that impulse as well... I think for me it is mainly the bombardment of technology that overwhelms, that I really want to escape...

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts - will be reading more for sure!

  2. Hi Natalie. I'm glad you found me! I think that you should 1) eat as much Tartine stuff as you can (and have some for me too, especially the tarts) and the croque monsieurs with asparagus) 2) immediately start making your own bread because you feel like a superwoman every time you bake an awesome loaf. cheers and congrats on the move. i miss home (san francisco)!

  3. What a beautiful bread, Francis-Olive! Thank you for posting it. Love the Rustic is the new black motto. So true... Gorgeous pictures too. I have sprouted spelt flour in my fridge back home and I have organic white flour althgough not from KA. I'll get to this as soon as I get back home to the Pacific NW!
    My only issue with the brown rice flour is that it falls off the baked loaf like there is no tomorrow. Have you tried mixing it with whole wheat flour?

    1. MC! i have not tried mixing it with whole wheat flour. does the rice flour fall off? i never noticed. lol. maybe i want it to, and since it does, im grateful deep down inside. im going to try the flour mix. i would like to bake a loaf or two that does not look as though it has been snowed upon. just to see ;) although, i am beginning to think it's my signature. have you noticed that all my loaves of bread look exactly the same? alas, like a good mother, i can tell them apart, even if the world cannot. thank you for stopping by!

  4. Frankie, somehow this dropped off my blog reader and I was only checking your other blog which has been less active--because I see now you've been busy busy baking! I'm so happy to see you are still haunting the 'net and I loved this post! You had me laughing but also reflecting. And I'd love some of that bread too. I haven't done too much exploration with the tartine recipes, but I'm happily baking 2-4 loaves a week--and after reading the recipe again, realized that my loaves were sticking to the bannetons because I was not using the rice-flour/regular-flour mix as recommended. (I remember complaining to you about this). Reading the instructions, who'dve thunk it?

    1. tartine? what's that? lol. i have not made a tartine loaf since that blasted BENCH EXAM post. i think i was done with it then. i was just thinking that i should have probably named my blog something else. it's never too late. tartin-bread means nothing, really. maybe next time you open my page, it'll say something altogether new.

      i bake once a week. one or two loaves. its jut me over here. how funny that you mention the flour thing. look at the thread above started by MC.

      i was just prowling around your blog today. i believe i have pintertested a good number of your goodies recently. im glad you're well sister!

  5. if only I could get hold of sprouted flour... whole-wheat spelt would do too?
    your back stories are really inspired lately. it is a pleasure to read them. rustic, yes, in every food magazine picture lately. that is really what everyone is longing for. sharp to notice it.
    lovely loaf and shots as usual.

    1. thank you my dear. i always look forward to hearing from you. did you see the website for the sprouted flour? here it is. you should have a go with it. i am doing a lovely post later today that uses grains that i actually sprouted myself.



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