(This post is inspired by my recent bread binge in Vancouver)
Set aside an hour and a half if you want a slice of toast for breakfast in my cabin, that’s if you don’t have to bake the bread first. Cooking on a woodstove verges on the absurd. Using one requires not only extreme patience, but a general lack of interest in the culinary arts. I excel in both categories, which is optimal for true happiness in my more “primitive” log home. I don’t even have a fridge.
For me, the slight thought of baking is a shoulder slumping, sighing nightmare. But I have a love affair with bread. Just imagining the wafting aroma of fresh bread tickling my nostrils starts me salivating. I usually hold onto my desire until I visit the big city, but one day I had a vision of becoming the bread-baking, Iron Chef of Echo Bay.
As usual this started in motion a momentous project. I first had to build a stone oven.
The photos I had seen of puffy, golden loaves of steaming bread, cooling on a flat rock in front of a beautiful stone oven, sparked my unique nerve bundles and parts of my brain responsible for the “crazy” passion I have for primitive ways of the past.
Finding, lugging and stacking the giant boulders and rocks required for the task, made my rational ganglia send to the forefront of my awareness, their all too familiar signals of “Stop Now.” “This is Crazy.” “Why would we do this?”
As usual I ignored the pragmatic advice and grunted on, eventually finding an extra set of muscles to help me. The oven became a masterpiece. Well…a good lookin’ stone oven. My two loaves of baked bread…pathetic.
I not only killed my hundred year old sourdough starter a friend near ceremoniously gifted me, but it took 7 ½ hours to produce the hardest, densest, flattest loaf of bread I have ever eaten. Oh yes, I ate them. I could barely cut them with a knife. In fact, a dear friend was visiting at the time and even he ate them. Such bread could not be wasted. Unfortunately, the only way to consume such stone bread is to toast it!
So round and round I giggle on my search for perfect balance between the worlds of past, present and future.