I wanted to start off the year baking bread. I wanted to delve my hands into something fresh, warm, alive and uplifting. I wanted to smell the promise as the yeast multiplied, the dough expanded and the loaves baked in the oven.
So, on the first day of the year, I bounce out of bed at an early hour, which is my habit, and assemble my ingredients, each with its own story.
The organic whole wheat flour is Hard Red Spring Wheat, stone ground in small batches at the Wild Hive Farm Micro Mill in the Hudson Valley. Wild Hive Farm is working to encourage the production of local grains in upstate New York.
The honey is from Restoration Farm, gathered from the bees that pollinate the raspberry and blackberry bushes.
For just a few minutes, the dough is rough and shaggy, but then, it comes together into a smooth, glossy ball.
The dough is divided into two loaves. The freshness of a new year should be shared.
The hot, golden loaves fill the house with a nutty aroma. They are a small miracle for the New Year, at a time when miracles may seem in short supply.
I keep one loaf, and give one loaf to my Mom and Dad as the first gift of 2012. Nobody deserves the promise and vitality of warm, uplifting bread more than they do.
©2012 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved