This is what happens when you bake weekly for almost three years. A high rounded loaf just the way you assumed it would come out of the oven. Without support beyond experience, bread is the result of healthy ingredients and practice. That’s the way life goes, I think. We work at it, do the best we can, and we eat what we take from the oven.

About 10″ across and 5″ tall, I “wind up” the dough to shape a loaf without a pan. It was baked in the middle of a flat pizza pan. (Even the Haystack loaves had special pans with short sides providing some support and structure.)

I meant to save this story about baking, but last night I stirred up a preferment of whole wheat flour, water, and a pinch of yeast. When I woke in the middle of the night and had trouble going straight back to sleep, I finished the dough and set it to rise. Punched down after 6am, and we went for our walk and my 2-mile run. Punched down again and formed a loaf. Let rise again. Baked for almost an hour at 375°. Beautiful.

No recipe.

The preferment used almost three cups of whole wheat flour, the last of what I had. Added a bit lesson unbleached bread flour, more water, yeast, salt, and olive oil. Preferment, two rises the way I used to bake in college, shaped and risen again, swiped over a topping of rice flour before shoving it into the oven. That makes the crustiness I loved in the old Haystack Loaves when I worked the old Cannon Beach Bakery in 1979-1980. My loaf obviously has whole wheat flour, but otherwise is tall and round and soft inside with a deeply crusty exterior just like those bakers were putting in the brick oven when I got to work early enough to watch.

I only made one big freeform loaf today and haven’t used a recipe to bake bread for almost two years.

That’s what happens.

You do something often enough and you know what you’re doing. How about that!

My birthday lemon pie. Blind-baked crust, lemon curd, whipped cream. I made it very small so we would not be in trouble eating it in two days.

The “ugly clam” shell I found this morning is anything but ugly. The inside of this wafer is pearlized nacre, iridescent purple on the edges, green in the middle; face down on the sand, it does look more like seagull poop. Pododesmus macrochisma.

I’m not in this photo of the Megler Bridge, but if you look carefully you can see how that “awful hill” rises up from near river level at left. It was foggy.

Today, much of the Pacific NW west of the Cascades, at least, has the worst air quality of anywhere in the United States. Our son says it’s in the purple range, up from red. “Unhealthy.” Mostly, we enjoy “good” air quality, but occasionally, even here on the coast the air has smelled of smoke and rated up to “moderate” air quality. [As I type, air quality index is 142 in Portland, 163 in Seattle, and 67 here, which is about as bad as we have seen.] Speaking of smoke, with air quality warnings all over Oregon and Washington, you have to wonder about the common sense of someone lighting a fire on the beach last night.

We, at least, are looking forward to rain on Friday.

8 thoughts on “FRESH BREAD

    • The chemistry in food today… Don’t even get me started on meat. I visited a hog farm where they were all up in the woods. Today’s meat animals are not anything like what people ate in the nineteenth century! Different genetics, raising, fattening, etc.


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