August 9, 2021

LEARNING FROM BREAD

Although in East Tennessee, we considered White Lily Flour as the absolute best for baking, in Columbia the Allen Brothers Milling Co. has been making Adluh flour since 1900.  This familiar landmark in the Congaree Vista made sure we knew this was Columbia’s best flour.

When I was growing up, Mother usually made biscuits or cornbread (especially her crisp corn sticks) exclusively.  Later she was given sourdough starter and for years, baked several delicious, fragrant loaves every week.  The smell was as wonderful as the taste!

In the 1990’s I bought a copy of Brother Juniper’s Bread Book: Slow-Rise as Method and Metaphor by Peter Reinhart. I loved its anecdotes, the metaphors seen in the rising of yeast, kneading and patiently waiting.  There were also wonderful recipes, especially one for struan  bread. Reinhart spent years researching the ingredients for this ancient bread.

A few years later, the locally owned Rising High bakery opened in downtown Columbia.  When I was working around the corner for Pete, we often went there for coffee and a sweet roll.  They baked loaves of many types of bread—usually featuring one special bread for each weekday.  Imagine my surprise and delight one morning when they introduced struan bread!  It was such a treat to sample the recipe I’d read about years before.

Last year, I gave my copy of Brother Jupiter’s Bread Book to Mollie, a young bread baker from Texas who came to Nashville for college.  When another friend and I recently talked about our mutual love for baking bread, I mentioned the book and especially the struan recipe.  She ordered her own copy, baked the struan bread and shared a loaf with another bread-baking friend.  She also ordered the book.  Struan has officially arrived in Nashville!

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