I like this bit in ‘English Bread and Yeast Cookery’ by Elizabeth David. It reminds me that a good loaf (or beer) is something to say thanks for, a gift of grace.
“In Chaucer’s England one of the names for yeast or barm was goddisgoode ‘bicause it cometh of the grete grace of God.’These words imply a blessing. To me that is just what it is.It is also mysterious, magical.No matter how familiar its action may become nor how successful the attempts to explain it in terms of chemistry and to manufacture it by the ton, yeast still to a certain extent retains its mystery.”
H___ was hanging out with Benedictine monks for few days so I decided to try and enter into the spirit of things and bake a monastery oat bread, four rises and 1hr’s worth of cooking later this slab appeared from the oven,a heavy and dense bread, like a nutty wheaten.
It doesn’t taste bad but I probably wouldn’t bake it again. Unless I ended up in a monastery or something.
I have been feeling a bit low the last couple of days and sometimes when I feel like that baking bread cheers me up and so I decided that I would try an easy rye loaf recipe from Elizabeth David.
A few things
1 It is like only a 1/6th rye, the rest is strong white flour. Should that even count as rye bread?
2 It was really hard to knead, like tough. On the plus side it didn’t stick to my sideboard which usually puts me in a grumpy mood
3 After I baked it the loaf had the hardest crust in the world, somewhere between cement and brittle granite. Although the recipe did say to put it in a tin, and because I am without tin I just put it on a baking tray. Maybe in a bread tin the crust might have been softer?
4 Elizabeth David just doesn’t agree with me as a cookery writer. I’m not sure why that is. Is it because she seems like a bit of a snob or lacking in humour?
So what we learned from all this was that we won’t be making the easy rye loaf again.The crust was hard (I like my teeth) and it didn’t taste that tasty.