Three ingredients. Magic. This is days in the making, but worth the wait. For best flavour, use locally raised flours. (I use Red Fife flour for no more than one-fourth of my total flour.) I use a scale (in metric) when I make bread for the best results. Adapted from Chad Robertson’s Tartine.
Transfer half the starter to a clean jar and refrigerate as your new mother.
Put the remaining starter in a mixing bowl. Add flours and water. Mix to form a dough, by hand or machine. Let rest, covered, 30 minutes, then add the salt, dissolved in just enough water to dissolve it. Cover with a kitchen cloth and leave the dough on the table. Every 40 minutes, gently stretch the dough from each side to the top of the ball.
After 4-6 hours, when the dough is pillowy, gently shape into two taut rounds or oval logs. Place in flour-dusted baking baskets or on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dust with flour and cover. Let rise for several hours or overnight in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 500°F. Place a large cast iron pot with snug lid in the oven for at least 30 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and take off the lid.
Uncover the bread dough and place a double layer of parchment on top of the bowl that contains it. Invert carefully into the pot or onto the tray. Slash oval loaves across the top in parallel lines with the tip of a sharp knife. Slash round loaves on the sides in curving Cs.
Return the pot or tray to the oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 450F. Bake until crusty and baked through, about 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the loaves.
“Bread & Water is an emotionally arresting, beautifully written series of essays.”
~ Jurors’ Citation, Saskatchewan Book Awards, University of Saskatchewan President’s Office Nonfiction Award
“Food is a wonderful agent for storytelling... and Bread & Water demonstrates this brilliantly.”
~ Sarah Ramsey, starred review, Quill & Quire
“[Bread & Water is] An amazing feast... riveting... eloquent.”
~ Patricia D. Robertson, Winnipeg Free Press
“[Bread & Water is a] sensuous experience; she brings her poet’s eye and ear to everything within her purview.”
~ Professor emerita Kathleen Wall, Blue Duets
“A deep love of the art of cooking that includes the language of fine dining (cassoulet, confit) even if the lamb was raised in Olds and she picked the rhubarb herself... she impressively manages this collision of worlds with a wholesome, approachable style.”
~ Megan Clark, Alberta Views
“These finely focussed poems [in Wildness Rushing In] invite us into a sensuous and emotionally rich landscape.”
~ Don McKay, winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize
“The writing [in Wildness Rushing In] is honed and textured, the senses so alive that you can practically taste the language. There are moments of brilliance rare in a first book.”
~ Jurors’ Citation, Saskatchewan Book Awards
“dee Hobsbawn-Smith’s stories [in What Can’t Be Undone] are written with a poetic edge. Her descriptions, particularly western landscapes, are often luxurious, lending themselves a kind of nuanced impression, a delicate fingerprint on the reader’s mind. "
~ Lee Kvern, Alberta Views
“[Foodshed is] A rich encyclopedia of facts, farm-gate lore and original recipes... a politically engaging narrative in which Hobsbawn-Smith articulates the challenges and joys faced by small-scale producers... don’ t let the alphabet theme fool you. This is no tame nursery rhyme; it is a locavore call to arms.”
~ P.D. Robertson, The Globe & Mail