Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Summer Project: Baking up a storm

It’s been a whirlwind trip back to Santa Cruz, and we only have two weeks here before we head up to Seattle for the fall for my husband’s research on dam removal. It’s amazing how immediate the present is—Ashland and those sunny days on the Klamath River seem miles and months away now. I can’t say I’m sorry to be back in the cool, breezy, always-perfect weather of Santa Cruz, but I do already have moments where I miss the summer heat, especially when it was infused with the smell of hot fresh bread.

My summer project, aside from fieldwork, was to bake as many types of bread as I could, both to feed the guys (my field assistants and husband), and to work on my bread baking repertoire. I grew up in a home where home-made bread was the only thing around. I am amazed to think back on my child’s desire for pb&j on Wonder Bread, when we had a constant supply of fresh bread. But such are the whims of children. My parents delighted in making things from scratch—we went through a butter-making phase where we siphoned our whole milk and shook the cream by hand. And there was a period of time when we ground our own wheat for bread—it was very loud. While these were passing phases, fresh bread was a constant, and I appreciate that it’s given me a determination to always bake my own bread, no matter how busy. When I’m burnt out on data analysis, or exhausted from fieldwork, bread baking is a kind of meditation.

I baked a total of nine kinds of bread this summer; the potato-rosemary bread was the winner. 

Anadama bread
Whole-wheat bread with roasted garlic
Multi-grain bread
Coconut-banana bread
Beer bread!
Potato-rosemary bread
Rye bread 

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