Living in Southern California I’ve had to give up on the idea of autumn as I experienced it back East: the echo of birds racing through a quickly denuding forest, the shush of crackly leaves up to your ankles, the reappearance of corduroys and jackets, the unexpected morning frosts that melt into sunny afternoons. Fine, I’ve realized that fall in San Diego is like summer but slightly less hot. Sometimes. But I still want to experience autumn in my kitchen and that means leaving behind airy ciabatta and white bread for rich dark breads that go with a stew and sustain you for a day. Whole wheat, molasses, grains, dark crust, these are the things that make up a good autumn bread. And so too does chocolate stout, an enriched and grainy dark beer that substitutes for water in my sandwich bread recipe. I used 100% whole wheat flour, swapped out a quarter of the honey for molasses, and added a tiny sprinkle of cinnamon—not enough to taste but to be evocative—and my stout bread came out beautifully:
Whether your autumn is a darkening towards winter or just a sustained Indian summer, try making food that marks a transition of seasons. The change of pace and taste will remind you that, wherever you live, ours is a seasonal existence.