Psomi: Bread of Elysium
There's no better day than World Bread Day to share the story of a young bread apprentice headed to Psomi, in my upcoming novel, Mistress of the Great Loaves.
Her mother said this crusty bread is a gift to be carried to Elysium.
So she closed her eyes and began.
The walk of bread was time for listening.
And mixing, kneading, waiting, sleeping,
forming, shaping, and then building flames.
makes 1 large loaf
2 cups NC organic sprouted wheat flour
4 cups organic NC bread flour
1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
3 teaspoons sugar or honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon melted butter or olive oil
1 tablespoon fine semolina
used a 50/50 combination of sprouted wheat flour from Lindley Mills out ion Saxapahaw. Begin with 2 cups of flour in a large mixing bowl. add in the honey, water, and yeast. mix this well till you have a smooth batter. gradually add in the remaining flour beginning with 1 cup at a time.
when firm enough to knead, sprinkle some flour on the table and turn out the dough. knead in only as much flour as the dough requires. if needed add more. the dough should be smooth, elastic, and not sticky. it should not be tough and shaggy. knead for at least five minutes. ten is better, especially by hand.
shape into a ball, and cover with a clean side towel. (no it does not need to be damp) let rise until doubled in bulk. one hour? less in summer, maybe – longer in winter, yes?
after it has doubled please punch down the dough and divide into two loaves. form each into a torpedo shaped loaf. line a sheet pan with parchment paper and sprinkle with a bit of semolina. place each loaf on the parchment lined baking sheet. make 4 slashes across the top to mark your bread (this can be your signature) and let rise again in a warm place until doubled.
set oven to 375. spray bread lightly with water and place in oven. spray again after the first fifteen minutes. then again 10 minutes later.
cool on a wire rack, near an open window where chickens and children play outside.