A loaf of white bread

Jackie and I bake all our own bread. I can’t remember the last time we bought a loaf of ordinary bread, although we buy other kinds of bread products from time to time (croissants, english muffins, etc.). We take turns baking, and are pretty jealous of our turns. Except for when Jackie broke her wrist and I got to bake all the bread for 7 or 8 weeks, I don’t think I’ve baked two loaves in a row more than a couple of times, and I think Jackie got two turns in a row only once.

We’ve had a sourdough starter going for at least fifteen years now. (We call her Bubbles.) I wrote about how we bake sourdough bread in a Wise Bread post a few years ago.

Every loaf is different, of course. Some have butter or olive oil, others don’t. Some have sugar or honey or molasses, others don’t. Some have salt or baking soda, but usually neither. Some include large or small amounts of rye or barley or oats or other more exotic flours, others don’t.

Still, most of my loaves are pretty similar—a cup of bread flour, up to a cup of non-wheat flours, and then the rest whole wheat flour. But it occurred to me a couple of days ago that in fifteen years of baking—probably 400 loaves over that time—I’d never baked a loaf of white bread.

So, a couple of days ago, I decided to bake a loaf of white bread.

I read a few recipes for French country sourdough before I started, just to see what they all had in common, which is how this loaf ended up with a little salt and a tablespoon of white sugar. Except for two tablespoons of flax-seed meal, the flour content was entirely bread flour.

What a great loaf of bread! Not so much with the fiber, I guess, but tasty. We immediately thought of all sorts of things that are especially good with white bread—garlic bread (which we had last night with spaghetti) and french toast (which we had that morning with grade B maple syrup). This loaf went so quickly, I got special dispensation to do a second just the same (or else I wouldn’t get a grilled turkey and cheese with mustard sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich).

We won’t be switching to white bread of course. There’s a reason we’ve made whole-grain loaves for fifteen years. But I’ll remember this loaf. Once or twice a year seems like a much more reasonable frequency for white bread than once or twice every fifteen years.

Scones with clotted cream

Back in 1992, Jackie and I took a trip to England and Wales. We spent a week in London, a week in St. David’s (hiking on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path), and then a couple more days back in London visiting an old friend who took us out to dinner, to a play, and then to Bath to see the Roman ruins and other such stuff.

In Bath we had afternoon tea in the Pump Room with scones and clotted cream.

I was rather dubious of clotted cream (because of the name) but turned out to like it very much. (No surprise: There are an infinite number of yummy blends of fat and sugar.)

Upon returning, I kept my eye out for clotted cream, figuring that I could make my own scones, but I never saw any.

Just recently, I mentioned to Jackie that I wouldn’t mind getting some clotted cream to put on scones, and she suggested that Devonshire cream would be a lot like clotted cream. Turns out that Devonshire cream is what clotted cream is called in the US. Further, it turns out that our local grocery store has some! (We don’t yet know if it’s a standard item, or if they just got it in stock for the royal wedding or something.)

With Devonshire cream in hand, today I baked scones. I just grabbed a recipe off the internet that looked promising and followed the directions. (Almost: I replaced half the all purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour.)

They turned out great. As good as any scones I’ve ever had.