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And Bread Begat Bread, and Pizza, and Cake, OR, How To Use, Not Waste, a Stale Loaf of Bread.

If you are in Mid-Wales, living in or near Llanidloes, and you like good food, there is the wonderful Andy’s Bread — organic, often with Welsh grain, “artisanal,” and truly locally made and enjoyed.  It’s too good, in my humble opinion, always absolutely delicious — mainly and extremely challenging to my wheat problems, because I can’t have just one little sliver– I end up eating half the loaf.

So somehow I must have hidden from myself this hunk of his Vermont Sourdough, because I found it stale- hard as a rock, as pictured above.

I thought to make breadcrumbs, but didn’t fancy grating it, and our food processor is on its last legs.

I could have shaved the stale loaf into pieces, and soaked them in a vinaigrette to use in a salad, or put them in the bottom of a brothy soup, which I imagine as something old-time and nostalgic in France.

Instead, I chose to experiment, and see if I could begin a sponge for a new loaf of bread– in other words, to use it as a mother, or as a baby, I’m not sure which.  So to my children’s consternation, I soaked the thing in water.

soaked bread, shredded

After soaking, as in the photo above, I shredded it, marvelling in the recyclability of bread.  At this point my goal was to make a new, bubbly, yeasty starter– so I added more water, and a little white flour.  Oh, how could I resist throwing in that handful of leftover brown basmati rice, knowing that white basmati is sometimes considered the perfect ingredient in a baguette? –and let it sit, to see if the yeast would come alive.

Two days later, nothing really seemed to be happening, but wanting to take some kind of action I added a hodgepodge of flours: Rye, Khorasan/ Kamut, and Gluten-Free White Flour.  30 years ago, a Goddess of an older Norwegian woman, who herself made incredible, earthy breads, taught me this way, and that’s just how I do it.  Throw it in, mix and match…  Oh yeah, this time I threw in a handful of caraway seeds as I would were I making rye bread.

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Can you notice above, the chunks that remain of the original soaked bread, the brown at the top the crust?

It took more than a day to get a little bubbly,  as the natural yeasts were activated by eating sugars present and doing their emitting of carbon dioxide, at which point I added olive oil, salt, and enough flour to make a proper dough which I could knead and and form into a sweet loveable ball and wait for it to rise.

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And rise it never actually did, I think because maybe some honey or sugar would have helped, or maybe a more vibrant colony of yeasts from the beginning?  But never mind– the original loaf was still NOT WASTED, which was my goal, and I rolled what there was into lovely bases for my childrens’ supper:

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This is to say that bread is a magic ingredient and bread can beget bread, or in this case, pizza dough.

And last year, bread begat cake, a Sourdough-leavened Chocolate Cherry layered cream cake, reproduction of which for the purpose of blogging please stay tuned. x

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