bread, proofed in the fridge for 24 hours. I take the first active steps to making this loaf two days ago. Sourdough makes me slow down; to see time flowing in longer, slower ways.

I slash the bread with a razor before it goes in the oven. This triangular slashing pattern is a vague allusion to trinitarian spirituality. Bakers do all kinds of different patterns, my own continues to evolve. I’ve also signed the middle with combo of my MW initials because I am vain sometimes.

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The lid keeps steam in, creating a more humid environment that allows the bread to rise. Professional ovens have humidity control but home ovens are well-ventilated and don’t hold steam well. So the Dutch oven is a good hack that uses water evaporating from the dough to do the trick.

20 minutes with the lid on at 450 after preheating to 500.

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20 more minutes with the lid off. Risen quite nicely, what bakers call “oven spring” - helped by preheating the cast iron to 500 beforehand. Don’t forget your oven mitts.

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Building some LEGO with my son while the bread bakes. Autocorrect is insistent I shout LEGO.

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Second loaf, in its proofing basket, ready to go into the oven. You’ve seen the drill now.

When I first started baking, I made it a practice to try to always give a loaf away to a neighbour. A good, stretching practice for this introverted Five who has trouble not seeing every interaction as a drain on his emotional energy. But it’s too cold lately, and maybe that’s just a convenient excuse.

It’s definitely one of my social health barometers. Do you have any of those?

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