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The Theoretical Cook


Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book (1984)

The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book
A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking
1984 by the Blue Mountain Center for Meditation, inc.

This bread bible is the product of over 15 years of bread baking by Laurel and company, thats an estimated 20,000 breads. And they use, take note, whole-grain pre-white flour. No white flour here.
My efforts at bread-making began and ended with banana bread, and I used white flour. Baking is an exact science so my koboy skills in the kitchen dont get me too far in this area. Still, my string of baking failures has not dampened my enthusiasm. Just last weekend, I baked sweet potato muffins. My housemates called them mukies, cause they looked more like cookies. They tasted more of cinnamon than sweet potato.
This weekend Im all set to have another crack at breadmaking. This time, I come armed with the Bread Book. So far, Ive read only the introduction by the author to the joys of breadbaking as well as the chapter on baking your first 'loaf for learning'. Already, Im sold on the idea.
On breadmaking, Laurel has this to say:
"Good breadbaking is much more, though, than just a good outlet. At certain critical junctures, you really have got to block out extraneous goings-on and attend meticulously to small details. Far from being onerous, these are more exacting phases of the baking process can also be the most calming - precisely because they do require such powerful cocnentration. And the very fact that so much of oneself is called upon, in the way of artistry and resourcefulness, makes the whole business that much more gratifying - enhances the quality of life overall. "
It gets more interesting as Laurel convinces the reader to reinstate breadbaking as a home-based activity as it 'changes the home too.' The kitchen then starts to 'exert its own gentle tug,a strong counterforce to the thousand and one pulls that would draw them out and away."
For this Saturday, I shall attempt pp 286 to 287, Potato Bread.


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