As Fall approaches, I had an inescapable urge to bake for the winter.
So, I hauled out my little jar of starter, fired it up, and baked Churek, a Sephardic bread from my current favorite bread book, A Blessing of Bread, by Maggie Glezer, who also wrote Artisan Baking Across America. This is a collection of “recipes and rituals, memories and mitzvahs” from Jewish traditions around the world.
As a member of the Bread Bakers Guild of America, I had the opportunity to see her demonstrate baking several of the breads from her “Blessings” book at a bread camp in San Francisco several years ago. There were many interesting and exciting demonstrations, which, as at most BBGA events, allowed hands-on activity.
What I noticed that really endeared her to me, was that she clearly was not a professional baker, but like me, is a writer.
How could I tell she wasn’t a pro? It was the way she sprinkled the flour onto the kneading table before dumping the dough out onto it for shaping. The pros just threw it! Slammed it across the table and left a perfectly even layer all the way.
Her breads turned out way better than mine, of course, but I’m getting close! As usual, I made some changes in her recipe, mainly by making other shapes, so the bread I made is not authentic Churek. But don’t tell anybody.