11 loaves, 5 varieties. Because of all my preparation and scheduling, last night’s bake actually went pretty smoothly. All the breads went into the ovens one after another, and I managed to get to bed at a decent hour. When I’ve taken a very long run, finished a huge school or work project, or some massive home improvement
screw-up project, I often get a twinge of fear that as I’m finishing, it’s just a dream and I’ll wake up and be back at the beginning again. I got that feeling during Bread Week, with so many doughs and dishes to do. Today I’ve just two sourdough loaves to bake and a dozen rolls then I’m done! (Note for the above picture: when I set these out on the breakfast table, Baby Harbat was overjoyed and really worked hard not to take some of the bread. What willpower!)
I forgot to mention earlier this week that the highlight of my mold remediation project involved spelunking in our crawlspace. I wanted to confirm there was no mold or moisture in the floor under the sink cabinets, so I had to climb into the space under the house. Our bathroom is on the far end of the house from the small access door, so I had to crouch, crawl, and finally shimmy on my stomach through rocky dead soil, under gas and water lines, through cobwebs, and around ducts. I don’t have claustrophobia per se, but down there I thought, “I can see it now, how I could work myself into a panic.” The thing that gets me is wedge-shaped spaces, where the ceiling above is dropping while the ground rises up. Once on a cave-rafting trip in New Zealand I had to crawl under a very low-hanging shelf of rock. Once you commit to that you think, “If I freak out and want to get out fast, I’m going to have to drop to my knees and crawl out.” These are the things I was thinking as I was slithering on my back and seeing the beady eyes of spiders reflected in my wavering flashlight beam. Besides the tightness of the space, it was the smell of the dirt that bothered me the most. If you’ve uncovered something dusty from an attic, years gone and forgotten, it will have an inorganic smell of neglect, death. The soil in the crawlspace hasn’t seen animal or plant life for 60 years, and smells acrid and terrible, as I imagine soil on Mars might smell. It is elemental and infinite, and I could imagine that soil getting in my skin, hair, ears, then clogging up my mouth and enveloping me whole into the dead rocky darkness for the rest of time.
I may have set a new crawling speed record getting out of the crawlspace that day.
PS: The loaf at the top of the picture formed a huge bubble that I had to pop during the bake, thus the crust shaped like draped fabric.