Friday, 25 March 2011

making a basic white spelt loaf

spring has arrived. everywhere i go trees are breaking into blossoms. last weeks shy wavy green stalks have broken into yellow and buttercup daffodils. below them in ranks are the snow crocuses. up near highbury the magnolia blossom trees have little white buds. soon they will be in bloom too. i could smell freshly cut grass in the air in the morning. 

spring is my favourite time of the year in london. it erases the length and despair of winter. so much so that sometimes i forget that there could have been those incredibly short days. this year i have seen spring in a different way. a yoga teacher of mine (way back in november) said to me that we must look upon winter as a hibernation, as a time for resting and recharging because come spring we all emerge into a dance of life. there was something about the connections she made between the seasons and concepts of rest and rejuvenation that have made this spring so much more.

today made me happy. 
it made me want to make something basic and simple. 
it made me want to bake bread. 
believe it or not i have never baked bread myself. i have done so with my mum when i was a little girl but once i moved out i never managed to get round to it. i guess part of it was the magic of baking bread with mum. i miss helping her cook. i miss the smell of yeast dough. and i miss the little knotted french rolls that she would make effortlessly. i figured in the spirit of spring i should bake and start a new memory.

i had thirty two to myself as o is out so working in silence i mixed together white spelt flour, salt, sugar, yeast, water and oil to make a basic loaf. kneading the dough reminded me of reading m k fisher who wrote '[breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. it leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells... there is no chiropractic treatment, no yoga exercise, no hour of 
meditation in a music-throbbing chapel that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread." 
i couldn't agree more.

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