Because of the heat of summer and the business of the beginning of the Fall semester is so busy, I haven't started up the weekly ritual of baking bread. My bread baking passion started in graduate school. I lived in a town without a good bakery, and I was really interested in learning how to make the kinds of breads that I devour whenever I get to a town of a certain size (bigger than the one I'm currently living in.
When my wife and I married and moved to our first apartment in Utah, I started a French levain, which is a kind of mild sourdough. With just a dash of yeast and a bunch of smashed grapes and flour, I nurtured a colony of local yeast, which I have kept actively going for just about seven years (just about the length of time I have been working on my novel).
During the summers, when I'm not actively baking, I keep the levain active by changing it out at regular intervals.
I make one large boule, like this one, and two small baguettes. The first one we usually devour with butter and jam, which we did yesterday. The other baguette made it until today, when my most excellent wife handed me a turkey and blue cheese sandwich on the rest of the second baguette. I ate it slowly, and that is the treatment it deserved.
The big boy, pictured above will accompany the butternut squash soup, which is on the menu for the evening. Match that with some fresh made apple cider mixed with sparkling mineral water and an apple pie (apples from the backyard) and you have the best kind of meal, simple, fresh, homemade.