Into the Fire

Batch of French rolls

Mixed: 10:30 am

Molded: noon

Baked: 1 pm

Can NOT remember who I shared these rolls with (it was two whole days ago). Now I know I’m getting old!

It’s cold. My husband loves to see how long we can go before we turn the heater on. In coastal Southern California you can get away with never having air conditioning, and you can make it far into fall without adding extra heat to your home. Yet every year my husband seems to want to stretch our No-Heating a wee bit further along the calendar, as if we’re in some sort of wilderness contest. This year, he’s hoping to wait until AFTER Thanksgiving…

Because my preferred temperature range is somewhere between 70 and 80 degrees, I took matters into my own hands the other chilly day and collected firewood from a nearby wood. I hefted several large chunks of broken oak into the trunk, carted it home, cleaned out the fireplace, donned my wool cape, and settled into a chair to do some handiwork in front of the fire. Bread was on the rise.

While I was staring at the flames I thought, how fun to pop some dough into the ashes and see what happens! I’m strange that way. Not always terribly grown up… Playing with fire and dough seemed just the right thing to do!

So, I found a little metal tin, filled it with one of the rolls that was rising,

and into the fire it went.

There was this perfect little tunnel in between the logs.

I covered the tin with foil to keep out the ash

and 25 minutes later the little roll was partially burnt, but all the way baked.

I love trying to do things like maybe they did ages ago. Last January I spent the whole month trying to bake with ingredients and techniques that they might have used in the fifth century–during Saint Brigid’s time. What about you, have you ever tried cooking or baking out of your fireplace. I’d love to hear your stories–they might inspire me to more fire fun… 🙂

Oh, and guess what. My husband’s ears must have been burning. Or maybe he thought 58 degrees in the house was a bit on the chilly side. The heat is on, and I am so TOASTY HAPPY!!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone…


3 thoughts on “Into the Fire

  1. Have you ever seen the DVD series of Tales From The Green Valley ? It puts a team of people back onto a farm with only the livestock and equipment etc available in the 17th century. The episode of how to fire up a wood-burning bread oven was brilliant !

  2. Our neighbors here in Romania are peasant families that have lived on this land for generations. Outside our window is a water-powered mill that they grind corn into animal feed each fall – they simply rechannel the river to run through the mill when they want to grind. Across our street is a very old, large wooden funnel that our neighbors also rechannel the river into and which acts as a “washing machine” (including using detergent that then is dumped back into the river). So all around us people are doing things the old way, but here in our house we can miss that, really miss that, to our regret. (I may not have a clothes dryer, but I have a rice cooker and crock pot, completely superfulous machines that our neighbors would be amazed at and probably scoff at.) Yes, we are forced to do some things the old way…like today’s pumpkin pie had to come from the garden, though I would choose this over the canned route even if I lived in the States. But I think it would do us good to choose organic more often. I remember one Advent season we lost electricity. And we so enjoyed ourselves we thought we might cut the power once a week just to relish in that quiet, close, intimate experience more often (our heat is wood and coal though 🙂 ). I will be thinking more on this in the days to come…thank you for the prodding.

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