(And we are officially, truly, back in the cooking business.)
The weekend bread baking ritual starts like this.
Friday evening, I settle on the couch with a bread book and a cup of tea. This is the best part, deciding which bread to bake. Something new or old? Sourdough or not? The rest of the weekend is planned around the bread.
Start the soaker and biga after brunch on Saturday. Clean house before, shop for groceries after.
Sunday morning, mix the dough and start the first proof.
Run to the farmer's market for lunch and icecream. Run back.
Shape the loaf. Pre-heat the oven. Practice patience.
Finally! Bread-baking time. The house smells yummy.
An hour later, dinner is served.
Peter Reinhart's recipe for whole grain Struan, a Scottish Harvest bread made with a little bit of all the harvest grains thrown in. That is the true genius of the Struan; you can make it with whatever grains you have on hand. I had barley, steel cut oats and flax seeds.
Served with an Italian chickpea-mushroom soup.
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup canned crushed concentrated tomatoes (or 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped)
a handful of fresh basil and oregano
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and black pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
– If using dried beans, soak them in 4 cups water the night before. Pressure- cook the beans the next day until softened.
– Soak the porcini mushrooms in 1 cup hot water. When softened, chop roughly. Pass the soaking liquid through a fine sieve and reserve.
– Heat the oil in a dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, cumin and sweat the onions until translucent.
– Add the chickpeas with their liquid, tomatoes, mushrooms and their liquid, herbs, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for forty minutes.
– Puree the soup in a blender and return to the pot. Simmer for another ten minutes.
– Stir in the sour cream before serving and top each bowl with parmesan shavings. Serve with crusty bread.