the joy of leavening

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No sooner was Thanksgiving over than Four turned Five and the celebrating continued. What better way to test out my natural yeast in some real bread than by baking it for a house full of Italian guests?

My kids turned their noses up at my very first all-natural, whole wheat long loaf, so a few days later I made a loaf of white bread and shaped it just like the sourdough bread you find in Northern California, with little cuts on top just the way they do there, and it rose so beautifully in the oven – like magic! And it looked just like a loaf of real sourdough bread when I took it out. It tasted a lot like one too!

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“Yuck!” said Eight. “Did you put lievito madre in this bread too? Don’t we have ANY bread without lievito madre in it? It tastes like wine.”

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It’s too bad they don’t like it better because I really enjoy the experimenting. My kitchen cabinet is full of little jars of natural yeast bubbling and growing like mad. I can’t keep up with it, I can’t eat all that bread on my own, but I can’t stop either. There is something so satisfying about kneading dough, and then watching it rise before your eyes. The wonder of it is akin to planting a seed and finding a sprout a few weeks later, and the wait is shorter.

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I found a cracker recipe specifically for using up extra natural yeast and tried it out this morning. Eight has been home sick for a few days, and the crackers that I made, which aren’t really crackers, are the perfect comfort food. They are softish and hollow inside like miniature pita breads and now our place smells all warm and bready, and we can’t stop eating them. We cut them out in Christmas shapes to match our tree and the decorations that we put up yesterday.

The ones with the sesame seeds are my favorites.

And so our Christmas music is playing, it is cold and sunny again today and we have no plans other than that I should really try to tear myself away from my darling yeast babies and work a little… or else do up a special belated birthday post for my real baby, Five, but there is not much to say other than he is still Five, only older and somewhat wiser, but just as mischievous!


About Jennifer

I'm a freelance translator and American expat. I live in Northern Italy with my two young sons.
This entry was posted in casa dolce casa, hipster crunchiness, The boys. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to the joy of leavening

  1. Simplyjen says:

    I love your writing. This post feels so cosy, festive and comforting. Just what I need after a difficult day at work. The crackers look yummy.

    Happy belated birthday to Five😄🎂🍞

  2. Aunt Patti says:

    Beautiful photos and great story! And happy birthday, Five!

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