Local love in every loaf.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

All the ingredients:

The weather could not have been lovelier today. The sun was sparkling on Megan's herb spiral, which is back in full force, and we were inspired to put lemon balm in our bread. I haven't tasted it yet. Workshop go-er's? Any comments? All of the loaves looked beautiful, and all had original scores--there was a star, a zig-zag, and initials, to name a few. Impressive. I'm very much looking forward to hearing your reactions and feedback. We had new friends and old friends, and a great brainstorming session on and off all day. I learned a lot too: how to extract the most nutrition from flax seeds, how estrogen activity may be linked to breast cancer, about the British invention of "curry," and someone even identified a mystery plant in the garden (it wasn't really a mystery, just a mystery to me). Thank you to everyone who came by throughout the day to bake bread, or just hang out. I had a great time.

If you missed the workshop, stay posted. We will be having another in one month.

And, please take a few minutes to watch this. It may seem unrelated to bread baking, but, in fact, it's related to everything. Elizabeth Cotten's story of how she learned to "play strings" speaks so much to the commitment that we should all bring to whatever we do. She plays with an immense grace: she draws emotion up from a patient well of inner strength.

Elizabeth Cotten's life story is incredible, and a microcosm of it is the story of how she learned to play music. As a child, she would take her brother's banjo off the wall when he went to work. She often broke the strings, and when he came home, she would hide. "Sometimes he wouldn't put the strings on in a long time--think he's punishing me. But I'd play with three strings," she says," four strings. It didn't have to be five. I'd play anyway."

This is the right attitude to take to baking, to our oven, and our neighborhood, our city, and our friends. Take whatever you've got, and make something of it.  The attitude and respect with which you approach someone or something is more important that the quality of the tools you have to work with. Elizabeth Cotten played "upside down," because she was left handed learning on a righthanded guitar. And because no one taught her what to do, she developed her own tunings, which later influenced scores of musicians.

The ingredients? Flour, water, honey, salt, yeast, and love. Obviously.


  1. I loved every minute of it. The bread was absolutely gorgeous, super-fancy and mouth-watering-ly delicious! I have finished half a loaf already. I tried it toasted, with mascarpone and granny smith slices, with almond butter, with hummus and greens. It goes incredible well with everything!

    I am in love with the rosemary-lemon-mint combo flavour in 100% whole wheat. I plan on making a more detailed post later when I get more photos from Michael (maybe...) but here is my photo post for the folks back home: http://estrip.org/articles/tinypliny/51668.html

    Cheers, and thanks for having me!

  2. I just ate some of mine, and I am with you all the way! The lemon is incredible, as is the intense nuttiness of the wheat. Thanks for helping us create a new, delicious recipe. I'll be in touch soon.