'While on a birthday Skype call with a couple of friends last week, they each impressed me with tales of their respective sourdough bread making exploits. I absolutely love sourdough, but haven’t got the first clue how to make it – nor the patience to try I suspect. Also, if I did somehow manage to make an edible loaf, I doubt that it wouldn’t last more than five minutes before I demolished it! I try not to eat too much bread in general, but have little willpower where a fresh, warm loaf is concerned.
Towards the end of his life my Dad got into baking his own bread, baking two loaves at a time – one for he and Mum to use straight away and one to put in the freezer for later in the week. It took him a very long time and lots of tweaking to perfect his own particular tasting recipe, but it was well worth the effort. The highlight of any visit home was a big toasted slab of Dad’s bread. When he died suddenly in 2007, his last loaf was left in the freezer. A couple of weeks later, Mum and I defrosted and shared the loaf, knowing that we’d never taste his bread again – it was quite a moment.'
So last week I had a go at baking my first ever loaf of bread. Fully expecting to have to chuck away my first half a dozen failures (as I recall my Dad doing all those years ago), I attempted the most simple, straight forward, plain white loaf....... and was frankly astonished to produce a surprisingly edible debut effort.
This week, still flushed with success, I, perhaps over-ambitiously, attempted a boule and added a selection of seeds into the mix. The result was visually a little lacklustre, but the seeds improved the taste considerably. The long term aim is to move on to sourdough, but patience is a virtue, I have to learn to walk before I can run.
In the old world, I was scheduled to catch up with Mark Lanegan in concert again this week, but it was not to be. Here he is with Screaming Trees back in 1992 covering The Small Faces.
Screaming Trees - Song of a Baker