Bleh (Rye) Bread

You know. Sometimes a new fiddling just doesn’t finish well (or even middle well). Ever since the marbled rye in South Dakota I’ve been dreaming of making a wonderful rye bread of my own. I’m not sure why I haven’t dared an actual marbled rye recipe yet. I’m not sure why I keep trying recipes that take days of starter-making and a hyper watchful eye.

So far I’ve tried a sourdough rye of my own invention. Bleh. (My daughter gave one of the loaves away to a neighbor that we don’t know well. Thankfully, it was pretty to look at, and she mentioned in the giving that it was experimental bread. Humbled, though. I wouldn’t want to eat that loaf again.)

I also tried to make a sourdough rye out of The Village Baker. I love this bread book, but it took about two weeks for me to actually get all the steps right. The bread was ugly, and I refused to give one away.

There’s that pride of mine! Refusing to give because of appearances!

And yet, when we cut into one of the loaves the next day, it was actually quite good. We all ate sandwiches using it, but the kids aren’t begging me to try again.

Still in a rye mood, I finally mixed up a batch of rye crackers! Ahhhhhh. So very tasty. My youngest helped, and was excited to use his steam roller (rolling pin) and we cut the dough into hearts, teddy bears, angels, and butterflies. These crackers are amazing. My son actually called me a genius for this baking effort. That’s a five-year-old for you. Tasty rye crackers=genius!

For now I’m done with both bleh bread and rye bread. I need to gain a little steam before more experiments…

(But just in case, if you happen to have any rye advice or favorite recipes, send them along. You never know when a new mood might strike!)

Last news. More Simple Gifts on the way. The next post will be all about Anna Larsen. Can’t wait to share!

Bread on the Road

Before I bring you all back into my kitchen, and we return to the baking that helps keep me giving, and sane, I just wanted to leave you with one last road trip post.

About bread!

Yum… Having been born a baker’s daughter, I’d say that I’ve always had a high awareness for the quality, look, smell, cost, labor of, ingredients in, and especially the taste of bread. So, when I lived in France, I was in heaven. I bought baguettes on occasion, and boules, and country loaves… I could tell the bakeries apart–and learned to turn my nose up at those that flash froze their products and baked them off later… I learned to love (and eat daily) chaussons aux pommes (pastry filled with cooked apples or applesauce).

When in Italy I shunned most of the breads and learned to make homemade pasta.

When in Colorado I was dismayed by the many soft, enriched, nutrient-boosted white breads with super long shelf lives, and finally decided to try to bake for myself.

This short story is getting long!

Anyway, even though our 5,244 mile road trip was a whirlwind, we did have to eat. And along the way we stumbled on a few very bread-worthy moments. Here they are:

I asked the server at Teddy’s Deli in Keystone, South Dakota about this bread after the first bite. “Where’s it from?” I mumbled and chewed and exclaimed, pointing to the swirled rye bread on my sandwich. “Montana,” he said. “All the good bread comes from Montana,” he added. Who knew?! And even before eating this sandwich I’ve been dreaming of making a really fabulous rye at home. We love our rye crackers, but I have yet to bake a fabulous sourdough rye, or pumpernickel, or really any sort of rye that I’d want to repeat regularly. After this sandwich, I’m on a quest!

We looked ALL over Keystone, South Dakota for a place to eat breakfast. We wanted eggs, and something other than donuts… And finally we ended up at Peggy’s Place, which my sister-in-law charmingly called “Cathy’s” because she just does that sort of thing. After seeing these massive cinnamon rolls, then tasting them, we came back two days in a row. Who wouldn’t?  

Moving on to Montana, but still stuck in rye mode, I purchased this small loaf of dark rye at On the Rise in Bozeman. Yum.

Here’s the storefront, and below is a rack of hearth bread with the listed prices. Montana is a big grower of winter wheat, and I’m tempted to purchase some wheat directly from this company, a Montana family of farmers who seem to love their trade. But look at those prices?! Makes you want to bake your own hearth bread, doesn’t it?

In Washington we mostly ate at home (at Harvey and Linda’s, I mean!), and there I baked up a fresh batch of buttermilk biscuits right off a recipe card that looked to be about 40 years old. Honored.

And in Oregon, I thought about pulling out my starter, which I’d kept secreted away for the whole trip, but didn’t. We were sidelined by snow and other things and before you knew it, we were home!

Now it’s your turn. All you beautiful people come from hither and yon. I’d love for you to post your favorite bakeries or breads that you find in your part of the world. It’d be fun to compile a list of faves for that next time–that next road trip, that either you–or I–take.

How ’bout it?