28 September 2009

The way things are connected

A pot of stock is cooking on the stove; our beets in the garden are huge, and the weather has turned blustery.  Time for borscht.
But, I've been thinking about bread lately.  I used to make it all the time, but other things have displaced the time I used to use for bread making.  Before school began last year we bought a bread machine, and we've used it constantly; it makes a loaf that's good for the sandwiches my kids bring to school every day, and we haven't had to purchase bread since then.
When I started thinking about a rabbit-stock borscht my thoughts turned to bread again, and I remembered a beautiful recipe given to me a decade ago by a co-worker's mother in Des Moines, Iowa.  Inga's mother, Vija, gave me a jar of starter for her Latvian rye bread, the most wonderful sour rye I've ever tasted.  I made it for awhile, but over the years I lost the starter.  I've continued to make rye bread occasionally,  but nothing has compared to the still-sweet, slightly fermented rye I first tried all those years ago when recruiting for Peace Corps.  It was probably a night like this when I wrote down the recipe in her kitchen as I watched her make it.
So, even though I should be asleep now, I just brought out my big stoneware bowl and added a few cups of rye flour, enough warm water to make it thin like pancake batter, about a cup of sugar, and a teaspoon of yeast.  That'll be my new starter.  The recipe uses only rye flour and has no added yeast.  I added a little to start the fermentation, but I won't add any more.
Within a few days I'll have a big pot of borscht and a loaf of Vija's Latvian rye bread.

No comments:

Post a Comment