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A THING ON BREAD - with a recipe


There are many ways to make bread, and with a variety of ingredients.

It's been a part of the human diet for over twenty thousand years, even a culinary staple in many of the world's cultures, especially those of the 'Old World' {a concept you'll notice me mentioning fairly often}.


Why was bread so commonly made?


Well for one, it was considered an 'easy' food item to create {by those of course who were used to making food with their own hands, quite unlike many people in today's world}.


Once made, it was also very versatile. It would be eaten with soup one evening, and then paired with fruit and cheese for breakfast the next morning.


Another important reason to note, is the preservation of wheat. Wheat, a common crop {easier to grow than most fruits and vegetables}, lasted much longer once ground into flour. So once people discovered this, they found ways to use such a material.

But wheat was not the only ingredient used as the base for bread, it wasn't the only 'flour'.

There are several other grains in the wheat family, such as spelt, rye, oats and barley, all of which were grown by farmers in the Old World.



Each bread-eating culture also had their own variation of 'flat bread', which was a simple combination of flour, water and salt. It involved far less handling, and didn't require yeast.

In fact, 'flat bread' came first. It's so old that even before the Bronze Age, our ancestors were making and eating this ancient form of bread.

Then the traditions of 'leavening' {using naturally occurring yeasts} followed.


Sourdough is the oldest form of bread leavening, developed in the ancient times. It's discovery likely happened accidentally, when bread dough was left out and microorganisms were naturally introduced. It fermented with this 'good bacteria'. People came to love this method for the light and sweeter bread it produced. Sourdough's acidity also prevented the starches from degrading.


But it wasn't just the simplicity of bread that caused it to grow in fame within the old cultures of this world.

When made well, bread contained a fair amount of nutrients and fibre.

It also filled bellies quickly and prevented starvation.


The peasants of these older times were often much healthier than the wealthy and the royal.

This wasn't only due to their more active lifestyles {hard work and labour kept them fit}, but it was also the result of their diets. They were rich in vegetables, fish, some other meats {especially the wild caught}, and bread.


But the bread was key.


While the wealthy indulged in the more expensive breads and pastries, containing finer processed flours and larger amounts of sugar, the recipes of the 'peasants' were simpler and more wholesome because of what they could afford. They were better off anyways.

And today, people who are aware of this fact prefer the darker and more natural breads, often including a variety of seeds and grains.



The making of bread could become a lost art, another tradition that fades into history, if we don't preserve it.

The 'bread' that most people get their hands on in stores these days, is shite. Honest.

And often in modern bakeries, though it may seem more 'handmade' to you,

bleached flour and refined white sugar are the main ingredients.


Making bread yourself may add one or two ingredients to your shopping list,

but it can be inexpensive and incredibly simple.


It's better for you,

your loved ones,

and our world as a whole.


You would be continuing culture.

You would be reintroducing the beginning concepts of 'handmade' and 'sustainability' into your life and your tribe.


What else? Bread making can be relaxing. It requires a little bit of care, and using your own hands. Imagine spreading that care and tenderness to those who eat it.

Even if you're just making it for yourself, you deserve that small act of love and intention.


Now, for the recipe.

I've decided to share a simple one with you that requires very little hands-on time and few ingredients. It also uses baking soda instead of yeast, so a good bread is easier to achieve using this recipe for those who are unfamiliar with working with yeast.

I can guarantee that not everyone reading this has experience with making bread, so we'll start small here.


For those of you reading this that already make your own bread, and may even have the act of grinding your own flours and salt down to an art, you're beautiful. And you have my respect.


The following recipe was shared with me by a German friend of mine. We've had a lovely time in the kitchen together trying different variations of this bread. It's quick, it's easy, and you can add your own little touch.


I pass this on to you now, fellow seeker.


INGREDIENTS:

-4 cups flour {any one kind, or a mixture}

-1 tsp. ground sea salt

-1 tbsp. baking soda

-2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

-400ml warm water {too hot will prevent the 'rising'}

-1 tbsp. olive oil {for greasing}


Note: be creative with the flavouring, go ahead and add a tablespoon or two of fresh herbs {less if dried}, or a few handfuls of nuts and seeds. If you do this, be sure to take a moment and smell your hands after collecting and chopping the herbs.


My favourite mixture, and one that's loved by my tribe, is achieved by adding the following:

-1 cup grated carrot

-2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped

-1/3 cup crushed walnuts


METHOD:

-Combine all dry ingredients into a large bowl, mixing with a wooden spoon.

-Pour warm water over the top, then add the apple cider vinegar.

-Begin to stir with the spoon, then transition to mixing and kneading it with your hands.

-Once combined, lay a towel over the bowl and let the dough rest in a warm location for 30 minutes. When 15 minutes have passed, preheat the oven to 200*C.

-Grease a circular baking dish with olive oil and set aside.

-Wet your hands with water and take the sticky dough in your hands. Shape it into a ball and press evenly into the baking dish.

-Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.


This bread is best enjoyed warm, but also good the day after with a nice spread of some kind.


Keep it simple. Make it yourself. Do it with love.