As you know, my third book is now officially in process. The working title is “The Homestead Hearth: Naturally leavened bread and a wood-fired oven.” At long last, I am writing about a serious passion of mine: Sourdough bread. Part of the book will be about baking with a wood-fired oven, but most of it will be about “real” sourdough bread; that is, bread that is raised with a wild-yeast sourdough starter, instead of commercial yeast.
This is the overview of the book, written as part of the book proposal process:
Is there any other food that evokes pleasant memories, warm feelings and emotions more than bread? The most basic of foods, everyone loves bread but many people are intimidated at the prospect of making their own bread at home. Still, with “artisan” bread, craft bakeries and wood-fired pizza so popular these days, you might be wondering if you can re-create these fabulous breads at home. Naturally-leavened breads in particular have captured the interest of home bakers. But isn’t relying on wild yeast, and maintaining a sourdough starter a complicated and time-consuming process? What the heck IS sourdough starter anyway?
The Homestead Hearth blends the author’s journey toward energy independence with her fascination with traditional homestead skills and love of good food: in particular, sourdough bread. From hand-building her own wood-fired oven, to cultivating a sourdough starter, to learning how to bake a wide variety of sourdough-based breads, the author’s curiosity and fearlessness come together to share with readers the magic of sourdough without the mystery. Plus, adding a wood-fired oven to your homestead lets you take one more small step toward less dependence on fossil fuels.
The advantages and challenges of working with your local “wild” yeast
The wood-fired oven as part of your self-reliance toolkit
An overview of wood-fired baking
Low- and no-gluten baking with sourdough
Many recipes adapted for use with sourdough, including bagels, flatbreads and skillet breads
“Science alert” sidebars for those interested in more of the scientific details; the main text will be kept as simple as possible to minimize the intimidation factor
Chapter-end summaries to briefly review the main things to remember
The Homestead Hearth inspires readers to step out of their comfort zone long enough to discover the benefits of baking with sourdough. They will learn how to cultivate a reliable, low-maintenance sourdough culture that can be used for a wide variety of breads. Pizza and bagels, flatbreads and loaf breads, even gluten-free breads – You become the artisan when you make your own naturally-leavened bread, and The Homestead Hearth shows you how.