Dear bread, what do you think about all the metaphors we give you? Are you really communion, community, a bridge between people and land?
Much is made of the connections bread holds. There are so many people in a loaf! Farmer, miller, baker, seed saver, truck driver, grocer or bakery clerk, mom or dad making the loaf – to name a few. Fans of bread tend to mythologize the process. We love the story, and savor its telling: think of the seeds in the ground, and thank the farmers, and other people who tend to the harvest, cleaning and storage of grains – all before they are milled by a whole other crew of people. Then, we adore the baking, and the hands that gather ingredients and time, make them into dough, and guide this physical magic through rests and ovens to become stuff that is nourishing substance, and a symbol for the same. Sustenance.
All staple crops, not just grains and the bread they become, are bridges we cross to each other, daily and over time. But the sense of bread being a bridge has been shining since the invasion in Ukraine began.
Over the last few weeks my inbox has filled up with people from baking and grain communities talking about ties to Turkey Red and Ukraine. This wheat is woven into our bread basket, as I explore in a piece Modern Farmer published, Honoring the Ukrainian Roots of American Wheat. Please read, because I want you to meet the voices that I gathered, including dispatches from the BBGA listserv by Randy George of Red Hen Baking, and a message from Janie’s Mill to its customers.
Please also read:
Richard Scheuerman’s Daily Bread, Liberty, and the Orphans of Ukraine to learn about earlier travesties visited on Ukraine & especially, Richard’s work for A Family for Every Orphan.
Mitch Stamm’s newsletter, Thermal Death Point 138, that links us to Bogdan Krasnoperov, a Ukrainian baker who is making bread in Odessa for soldiers and journalists. You’ll find sourdough formulas he’s shared, and hopefully, soon, Mitch will write something about the beautiful Zoom he helped organize. We met Bogdan, and baker friends of his around the world did demonstrations. What fellowship!
Ellie Markovitch’s Story Cooking blog post about her connecting with Bogdan and his recipe using “spontaneous fermentation,” rather yeast or sourdough(!) to bake honey bread. A lovely note on the language of bread!
Anything by cookbook author Olia Hercules, whose book Summer Kitchens inspired a fundraiser Ellie Markovitch and I did for World Central Kitchen. If you would like our recipes for pampushky, sourdough garlic rolls, and vareniki, little dumplings, please make a donation to any Ukrainian relief organization, tell me, and I’ll gladly share our adaptations. Ellie and I will be teaching this class again soon – please let me know if you are interested.
Food historian Sarah Wassberg Johnson’s writings, including Black Dirt: Agricultural connections between Ukraine, North Dakota, and New York.
If you have reading suggestions, I am all ears.
Take good care,
I would love your recipes. I believe that I’ve made a donation that shouldn’t be refused: my son is a medical student at the University of Vermont and arrived today at the Polish-Ukrainian border to volunteer at a field hospital treating Ukrainian refugees. He’ll be there for at least 4 weeks if not longer. This mama thinks that’s a pretty high value donation to help Ukraine.
Hi Amy, I did a Ukrainian fundraiser dinner for my friends in my home, donating $1710.00 to WCK.org. For the dinner I baked Olia Hercules Pampushky form her book Mamushky they came out delicious.
But when I tried to make her Sourdough Buns they didn't work, the recipe is from her book Summer Kitchens.
I am looking forward your sourdough rolls recipe . Veronika