I sit here in my living room, looking at this empty text box, the cursor blinking blankly at me as I wonder what to share. It is seemingly another normal morning. I've finished my breakfast, listening to the rain on my window pane, brushing under tires on the street below, the cats sleeping soundly in front of me, the city quiet after its first weekend of sun. Another normal morning curled up on this couch, lazing under blankets, acting as if the next few weeks won't bring so many changes. Still slightly obscured that these are my last weeks on this couch, that in just a month my apartment scenery will be replaced with sights of the mountain west, or maybe the desert, I'm not even certain. And while I should begin the process of digging up roots, paring down my belongings, saying goodbyes, truly processing that these home comforts will no longer be mine, I instead choose to sit here. I listen to Hudson type next to me, more honking from cars outside, the rain fast in front of the neighboring apartment buildings. I know this is good. I've grown to love this strange city, the buzzing and interest, the street performers, the daily interchange with people from every country, and of course my pie making family at Four & Twenty Blackbirds, the comforts and harmony of living with Rebecca. I'm ready though, I know. My focus will slowly shift, no longer to finding success, or mostly to being able to afford and enjoy living here, but to how I feel when I wake up, the sights and sounds of morning, what I see when I step out the door, and then hopefully, that those simple sensory experiences will bring me a peace -- a simple pursuit.
Another simple pursuit -- Rosemary bread. As springtime brings a great stir, changes, and restlessness, making bread can be a profound practice for grounding and reflecting, while still maintaining that need for movement. It's such a beautiful ritual and I've found myself often during great changes, suddenly in my kitchen, kneading away at another loaf. Try it yourself!
Simple Rosemary Bread
makes 2 small loaves
3 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
2 teaspoons salt
1.5 cups warm water
6-8 sprigs of rosemary, thinly chopped
I. Measure out 1/4 cup flour and reserve for a clean counter top. Pour flour in a large mixing bowl, and then place yeast on one side of the bowl, and salt on the other. Pour the water in the middle and begin mixing the dough by hand, with a wooden spoon. Mix until the dough just comes together.
II. Then begin to mix more rapidly, for about 5 minutes, until the dough is clearing the sides but still sticking to the bottom a bit. Add water or flour if the dough seems to dry or wet. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
III. Mix the dough again for another 5 minutes and then turn out onto a well-floured surface. Flatten your dough and sprinkle about 1/4 of your chopped rosemary across the surface. Fold and repeat, in 4 stages. Begin to knead the dough by hand (the best part!). Fold the dough into itself for a few minutes until the dough feels firm and solid. You should have a smooth, compact, firm ball.
IV. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and put into a warm space to rest for 1.5 hours. Remove from bowl and punch down, and leave to rest for another 30 minutes.
V. Place dough on lightly floured surface and cut into 2. Round each into a small, firm ball. Let rest somewhere warm for another 45 minutes to an hour. During the last 20 minutes, turn the oven on to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a baking stone or upside down baking sheet to heat as well.
VI. Right before putting in the oven, slash the boules with a very sharp knife. Transfer the dough to the baking sheets and bake for 20-25 minutes.
If you'd like a golden crust pour a bit of water onto the oven floor right after putting loaves in and close the door quickly. You can also put a small pan of water underneath the loaves as they bake -- steam!!