Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bread upon the waters

The world, well the NY fooderati, went a little nuts in November 2006 when Jim Lahey produced the following YouTube video:

Jim Lahey
(note; this video has but 450k hits while Guru Josh is screaming with 60 million)

Why would someone give away a prized recipe? Won't this hurt his business? It didn't hurt the NY Times which had more pass alongs of the print article for weeks following its publication than any other current story. And it appears that Sullivan Street Bakery is doing fine in its new location.

I think this move on Jim's part is important at many levels: It really works and takes away most of the excuses one might have for not rolling one's own bread, It is an example of the "new commons" where more and more evidence rolls in that sharing has become a new mode of affordable sustainable behavior, It is a critical part of a movement to take responsibility and DIY when it comes to nutrition.

You don't need an expensive pot to cook this bread in. Amazon has a casserole on sale for 60 bucks.

The recipe can be modified in many ways. I knock off my favorite from Amy's Bread by changing the flour mix to include a cup of corn meal, and two cups of semolina as a substitute for 3 cups of "all purpose". I soak two cups of raisins in 4 cups of water overnight, drain two cups of raisin flavored water off, and use it to moisten the dough. I then grind in a palmful of fennel seeds, and let the mix rise for 18 hours as directed. I roll out the dough into a flat rectangle and press the drained raisins along the surface, roll it up, wait for the second rise and plop the roll into the hot pot. This is but one variation. Different flour mixes and flavorings recipes abound.

Jim carries on. I read of his new pizza joint
and I hope it is a success. I know his bread recipe can be adapted to pizza.

1 comment:

  1. Very simple bread recipe... just need the 12 plus hours to let it rise... Your raisin bread sounds yummy and will have to give that a try... and I am pleased that I did buy myself a Le Cruset casserole and I will try the recipe.…
    By Tarina (sorry, cant quite figure out the whole profile bit)... currently in France and loving the daily baguette and had some great olive, fig and nut bread recently