You-Can-Do-It Bread!

My parents, who were born and raised on the westside of Los Angeles, moved to Santa Barbara a year and a half ago. They purchased a home near us where they knew they could have a lovely garden, and chickens, far from the craziness of westside traffic, where driving has become a sport for some, and almost war-like for others.

But in order to have the garden and those chickens, they had to make their home live-able. With no bedrooms on the ground floor, they embarked on a remodeling adventure that still isn’t over!

So close, though.

For all of this time they’ve lived virtually out of a suitcase, but just last week the final round of their things from storage arrived. What a big task, to sort and question, and figure out how to make this new home theirs, and what to do with all the Stuff!

To encourage them, we’ve been having them to our home for meals for these 18 months–not every night, but often. And though their home isn’t quite finished, we decided to barbecue at their place to mark the progress of it being Almost Done! My dad is a breadmonger, being a baker and all, and he really doesn’t eat a meal without a piece of bread near his plate. So I mixed up a batch of country French–a blend of white flour, freshly ground kamut, and rye, with some sourdough starter thrown in for flavor. We toted it over to their place, then I took the loaf for a quick tour of their new home. The real housewarming will come when the landscaping is done and all the furniture is placed, but here’s a glimpse into their current world–mess and stuff and all. (Made complete by the visiting neighbor dog, Puppy, who literally roams where she likes and spends at least half her day inspecting the workers and their work…)

IMG_4588 IMG_4589 IMG_4591 IMG_4592 IMG_4593 IMG_4599Cheers, friends!



Pain de Campagne

Ever been to France?

Pain de campagne is a staple bread that you will find in all boulangeries around the country. It translates as “country bread” and is typically made with a levain or sourdough starter and both wheat and rye flours. In order to get a nice light, but chewy texture this bread takes a bit of time to complete. I will tackle this sort of recipe on a day when I know I have chores at home and will be present for the various steps along the way.

When I moved to France as a young woman to study languages I came to love this hearty loaf of bread; it wasn’t one that was made in any large quantity in my family’s bakery here in California. Along with the baguette, I remember it being on the table of many homes in which I lived and visited, and I have hoped to duplicate it in my kitchen. It’s like a hearty dose of the good earth, and so good as sandwich bread, in the morning with eggs, or alongside a hearty vegetable soup. Yum!

I have tried a variety of recipes and finally found one that worked for me. Rejoice with me!!! That’s about ten years of trying! If you like to bake, and don’t have this bread book, titled Dough, by Richard Bertinet–then onto the Christmas list it should go. That’s where the recipe is found…

As an aside, this is a horrible representation of pain de campagne. I’m sharing this link because it’s the very first in line when you search for it on google. Good grief. Don’t follow that recipe.

As for the giving! I’ve made three batches now of pain de campagne in the last month and have given three of the six loaves away. One was eaten by a glowing pregnant mama, another went to my son’s first grade teacher, Miss Conway :), and the last ended up in the hands of my parents, who are currently in a long phase of house reconstruction…

Hope you get to France one day to try one of their many amazing breads–but if not, have fun giving this recipe a try. Or come knock on my door and I’ll make you a loaf!

Really, I would love to 🙂