Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bread with Sorghum

I made some more bread this week. The bread pans and dough hook were still in hiding, but I enjoyed the kneading, and the free-form loaves do look more rustic, even if they are a bit problematic for B. when making his lunch in the mornings.

This time I used a lot less oil and sugar, and for flour I added some oat and sorghum to the mix. Sorghum? I picked up a small bag of the stuff somewhere, sometime, toward the goal of always-increasing variety in the diet. I didn't really know where sorghum comes from, but while the dough was rising I read on the bag that it is a grain. This morning I read more about it online and find that it has been used for a long time by humans, more in other parts of the world than here in the U.S., but is gaining popularity here, too.

When it was time to put the loaves into the oven I quickly tried to think of what styles of decorative cuttings I'd seen on commercial artisan breads, but it was too late to do a good job of being creative in that department. So far, my experiment shows that the simple and traditional architecture is nicer.

I have a dear friend N. who is about my age. Neither of us gets to make bread the way we used to 20 or 30 years ago, when The Tassajara Bread Book was one of our bread bibles. Tonight I talked with her on the phone and told her about making bread twice in one week. She was surprised, and said, "You must be avoiding something you should be doing instead."

That's one way of seeing it, and how wonderful to have a friend who understands me! Another aspect of the phenomenon is that breadmaking is a relatively small and particular task that I know how to do. None of the little decisions about how closely to follow the recipe comes with very many options, and if the whole batch is ruined for some reason it wouldn't have much consequence. Baking a loaf or two of bread takes only a few hours, and makes me feel homey, useful, and accomplished.

The tasks I am "avoiding," on the other hand, consist of three whole rooms, each of which will require at least a day's worth of work, consisting of one hard decision after another about whether to keep one item or who among my friends, or among thrift shops, might want  another one. If I keep it, how will I store it so I can find it? Etc. Everyone knows how that works.

Now how did I end up talking about sorting junk when I started with homemade bread? The subject is like the clutter itself, creeping in when you are busy doing doing good work. This next week is my chance to tackle one of those rooms, where I hope to lodge a wedding guest if I can clear off the bed. And this afternoon I found both my dough hook and my loaf pans, so it's even possible I might be inspired to make bread again, too.


DebD said...

with my scattered thoughts I could easily jump from bread-making to de-cluttering. The bread does look lovely and rustic. I like that look.

I'm still procrastinating with painting the kitchen. I told a friend that I need someone to come from out of town to motivate me.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Your bread is beautiful. I thought I would have a bread-making summer, but it hasn't been the case. Nor have I taken any rooms to task, but I plan to this fall. However, maybe I'll make bread instead. Much nicer!


Gumbo Lily said...

What pretty bread you've made! I just made a few white loaves the other day -- some to eat fresh, some to freeze. After reading your blog and "The Woman and the Wheat" blog, I decided to try Tigerbrood -- a crackly, crunchy topped bread. It's raising now and I can't wait to see the results. I love making bread and my family likes my craft too.

I'm having Grammy Day today so I don't feel pressed to accomplish housework at all. Just playing and puttering.


GretchenJoanna said...

Jody, my first thought this time was to make Tigerbrod, but I didn't have any regular rice flour for the topping. Do you suppose brown rice flour would work?

Arsenios said...

I can sure empathize with baking to avoid the dirty work. While for me avoidance comes through other activities, I do love to bake (usually during vacations since I'm a school teacher). Believe it or not, I have never heard of "The Tassajara Bread Book." I'll have to look for it at the library. The book that really got me going was "Bread Alone" by Daniel Leader. Did the sorghum have a good effect on the bread? (desertseeker)

The dB family said...

Your bread looks delicious! I've never used sorghum before. Now I am wondering where I can find it.

I appreciate knowing that I am not the only one who practices avoidance techniques :o).


Thistle Cove Farm said...

Beautiful bread and the Tassajara Bread Book is a favorite of mine. Now, I usually make bread from my head and forgo formal recipes.
If memory serves me, there's a more recent Tassajara cookbook but I'm not at home and can't check. Those cookbooks are useful for simply reading and adding enjoyment to my day.