buttering the sky

19 Dec

pain

On my shopping list:

bread flour (white and whole wheat)

brioche flour

rye, spelt

baskets for proofing: “bannetons”

The dough waited overnight, cradled in a colander lined with a tea towel, ready to be turned into this morning’s loaf. 60/40 brioche/wholemeal flour, 80% hydration, salt.

The kitten alarm clock started meowing as soon as it was light, luckily only 8 a.m. in our grey winter. I fed her with cat biscuits, fed the starter with a handful of flour and some warm water, and preheated the oven. For the first time the loaf had a significant roundness to it – it had a high, proud shape, a sharp edge where it had been scarred. When I sliced it open the crust had a real crackle, the crumb a good spring, variegated holes. It just needed butter to be perfect.

I am far from being religious, but making pain au levain makes me feel a kind of Old Testament awe. I made something from just flour and water and air, a living thing. It might as well have been Adam’s rib for all I feel so proud. I made something from scratch. Flour and water and air, these are my everyday gods.

On my kitchen wall:

Slipping

On my shoes,

Boiling water,

Toasting bread,

Buttering the sky:

That should be enough contact

With God in one day

To make anyone

Crazy.

                                       –Hafiz

4 Responses to “buttering the sky”

  1. Shauna Reid December 19, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    Ahhh! Just beautiful 🙂

  2. Ruth Mitchell December 19, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    I love the way you are using watercolours with your drawings now – the picture of the loaf is beautiful,

    • Frances December 19, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

      Thanks! Just realised that it looks like a sunset!

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