Haibun – Baking Bread


November 16, 2015 by petrujviljoen

I’ve had to learn how to. Out here in the sticks – the closest shop’s choice is rather mediocre anyway so not worth the day’s outing to get when one’s run out. In the city a hop across the road would have what one needed (and didn’t). A hop across the road here would have one slipping and sliding, clambering, often on one’s backside, often on all fours on the way back up, down a 40m slope to the bedrock below along which a stream gurgles its way from waterfall to waterfall.

From bread alone one can’t live. An empty stomach won’t get one down that 40m slope and back up.

So I asked someone how to (bake bread). She asked if I could read. So I had to learn to decode ounces and grams and millilitres, how many tablespoons of flour constitutes a cup (I think it’s 16) and that 250ml isn’t always enough. I also learnt that most packages of most anything bears a recipe. The first time I made a date loaf, I had no idea it would turn out a pudding (really) – for which I didn’t have cream.

I recently made a butternut loaf (delicious), an olive and feta loaf, adventuring with herbs and spices I never dreamed I’d do. Jeez! A girl can do anything she puts her mind to!


bread as staple – life

entreats a complex harvest

  • Embodied soul

8 thoughts on “Haibun – Baking Bread

  1. Sumana Roy says:

    ah…quite a journey…nice read….

  2. I do not bake so often… but when I do I try to make it very simple. Getting the good flour is the most important thing…. I have to admit I use a machine instead of kneading, but it usually turns tasty.. It would be interesting to be in a situation where one had to bake to get the bread…

  3. Hi Petro, I was given a recipe which requires no kneading. Very simple and I make 2 loaves at a time. 7 cups brown bread flour, 2tsp salt, 1tsp sugar, 1pkt dry yeast and 4 cups lukewarm water. (I use a litre jug) Mix all together in a bowl. Leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour, transfer into two well greased (or Spray and cook) loaf tins and bake for an hour.

    I use one of those wheat jobbies which people use for aches and pains. 4 minutes in the microwave when I start mixing my dough and by the time I have mixed it, the warm bed is ready. I have an old blanket with which I cover the rising dough. If you have a lid to your bowl so much the better. My next step after me exhibition is to try making Ciabata.! Good luck


    • Thanks a lot! On the bag of flour I buy from my Spar here is a basic recipe, very much like the one you gave that I’ve learnt to add all sorts of herbs and cheeses to. But this one is going into the file for sure. I’ll look up Ciabata, no idea what it is. 🙂

    • Oh!! And good luck with the exhibition! I meant to take part in the White River self portrait one but then didn’t. Where will it be held?

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