sourdough, NorthWest

Not much bigger than dinner rolls if those dinner rolls were baked for a linebacker just off of Lent.

I erred. Presently I have only two ceramic cloches so the three loaves took two baking sessions. Phone call and disconnects at the critical moment caused me to lose focus and turn off the oven along with the timer which signals persistently and irritatingly enough to demand immediate attention . The oven was on as high as it can go. Didn't notice the oven was off until the third loaf was ready for the lid to be removed. I thought in that moment, "Bollox! This one is ruined." The whole key to success is a wet dough directly into a rocket-hot cloche. The powerful heat inside the closed cloche allows for maximum oven-rise while keeping the dough moist long enough to stretch fully before setting. Then the lid is removed to crisp and finish the loaf. The oven had cooled to below 200. Turning it back to 500 meant a slow rise while the temperature came back. I was surprised thirty-five minutes later when I removed the lid for the finishing burn and saw the loaf did rise just fine. I expected it to be flattened. This taught me there appears to be a broad margin for error when using a ceramic cloche.

A pauper's salad. VVV Where the pauper is nobility.

Did you know in the days of yore, about the time Marco Polo was banging around, pepper was so dear it was kept locked? It was. <--- 100% of culinary historical fact. Households that could afford pepper accounted for it and issued it to the pepper master individually by the peppercorn, who then went around the table grinding it for guests, like modern day waiters do showily with their ridiculously over-sized novelty mills that could easily double for bludgeons. I use so much pepper with such undisciplined abandon that mills are too meager and slow, even electric ones. I load a Turkish coffee grinder instead. With half a crank it dumps about five peppercorns worth of ground pepper, as you can see above, that's a quarter turn. I buy peppercorn in bulk. They love me at the spice shops. They smile broadly when I approach, their eyes widen and they blink "ka-ching," with $$ for pupils and a cash register sound like the cartoons.

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