Fortunate am I to receive occasional parcels of unsold bread from a friend who runs a really top quality bakery here in mid-Wales, Andy’s Bread. A few months back he gave me several loaves of pumpernickel, a dark, dense and sweet rye bread. His version includes whole rye grain, rye chops, rye, sourdough, molasses, and old pumpernickel. The loaf is coated in rye chops (and baked in a hot oven which is then turned off overnight); a “lid” is placed on top of the tins to “steam” the loaves and prevent their drying out. Andy’s pumpernickel is something special– and not so dissimilar from his Borodinski breads which contain coriander seeds and powder, malt extract and molasses. These are true artisan breads in that they come from long and varied traditions and are expertly crafted in particular, local conditions.
Andy’s pumpernickel makes great croutons for leek and potato, and split pea soup; I will be using some from another batch tomorrow for chocolate Christmas bark as per Claire Ptak’s wonderful recipe here.
Being gifted with food that is “surplus” or “waste” anyway is really freeing, and allowed me to feel I could experiment. I’d long been curious to try Bread Kvass, so in the absence of any planned trips to Russia or Russian communities elsewhere, I knew I’d have to try to make it. I also wanted to reproduce an effort from a while earlier in which I made a sourdough cake from recycled bread. And I sadly found out that the friend who taught me her resourceful and roughshod approach to bread had died– so I was of a rare mind to bake bread. Read the rest of this entry »