We have been on something of a low-carb regiment for several months (since Christmas really) to try to counteract the effects of our east coast holiday road trip. Friends and family fed us well, as did the cities we visited along the way. I'm always a proponent of cutting out the unnecessary sugars, and breads for me fall into that realm. Now, it's April, and my discipline in this regard has been mixed at best, and it feels like as good a time as any to get back on the bread wagon.
In the meantime, Addie has been giving baking a go and trying to master the arts of breadmaking. Success has included various quick breads, but the art of the sourdough was proving elusive. Perhaps it was some old yeast past its expiration, perhaps it was the air in our basement apartment, but either way the Sourdough with all of its regional characteristics was playing hard-to-get.
Enter Zache. Zache and I ride bikes together regularly. It's nice to have a partner when you're trying to navigate Mulholland Drive at 6:am before the sunrise. Between the huffing and the puffing Zache often regales me with tales of his baguettes, apple waters and I don't even know what else. And when I come home from the rides Addie asks, "Well, when can Zache hook us up with some starter?".
Alas, it's Paris-Roubaix Sunday, a day when I like to camp out in front of the TV to watch one of the most grueling single day bike races on the calendar. It's 150+ miles across northern France, over 20 miles of which is composed of cobbled roads laid to earth hundreds of years ago many of which suffering damage in the world wars and beyond. It's fantastic theatre and as thrilling a sporting event as one could hope for, at least, if watching people exercise chased by a caravan of support vehicles qualifies for you as sport.
Zache and my friend Martin join us for a spread of croissants and charcuterie in the spirit of the day. Zache's main contribution, and by no means to diminish either his witty repartee or his Quinoa tortilla chips, was a batch of sourdough starter for Addie. Zache was thorough with his direction, extensive as it seemed to this novice. "Don't be afraid. It will all be OK", he said.
Within 24 hours we were working our way through 2 halves of a pizza baked on a cooking sheet (in the absence of anything resembling a pizza pan). 1/2 Sweet Italian Sausage (Fairfax Farmer's Market), Pizza Sauce & Fresh Mozzerella (Monsieur Marcel) & 1/2 Artichoke, Leek (Larchmont Farmer's Market), Pesto (Trader Joe's) and Asiago (Monsieur Marcel) . And while the dough may have been risen a bit thick for Andy's tastes, an assertion deemed as nonsense by Addie, the pizza turned out stellar for a Sunday evening at home. We're already on to flatbread explorations. Zache was right. It's gonna be OK.