Finally (almost) back! We have been without a home to really call our own for the past six months. We spent most of that time at our youngest son’s house. We are immensely grateful to him and his wife for putting up with us while renovation work was going on in our new house. It made it possible to close the door and leave the mess behind at the end of each day, which was a great comfort as the amount of things that needed to be done was overwhelming at times, especially when the Man started painting against the clock so that the furniture could go against the walls and unpacking could begin. He said he never imagined retirement could be so exhausting.
To make a long story short, it’s not over yet but the house is slowly turning into a home, so much so that we finally moved in last week and I was able to start baking again. For lack of time I didn’t get to experiment with any new formula (that will come later when we come back from visiting the Man’s parents in Belgium) but I was able to make a couple of batches of our staple bread, the Rustic Batard, and it was just heavenly to breathe in again the fragrance of baking bread.
I also made some whole grain crackers and before flying out to Europe (and putting Farine on hold again for a few weeks), I thought I would report on these as they are wholesome and quite easy to make. I used my new Kitchen Aid (my very first ever) and its pasta attachment to roll out the dough (what fun to create these long ribbons) but it can be done by hand with a rolling pin. Martha Rose Shulman recently wrote an article on whole grain cracker recipes for the New York Times. I tried the olive oil ones (some with grated Parmiggiano, some with za’atar, some with nigella seeds and some with sumac). They were quite good (although they could have used more salt) but our favorites were the Buckwheat Crackers. Lacking sesame seeds, I used chia seeds which I had on hand.
I used buckwheat flour (bought in bulk already milled) and hard red winter wheat (which I milled just before mixing the dough). I didn’t use any all-purpose flour. The crackers came out crunchy but tender.