Pain Bouillie

I think of Goldilocks and the Three Bears when I think of porridge. When I was little, when I pretend-cooked, it was always porridge. Stirring barkdust with pine cones and pine needles, “What are you making, Rachel?” Porridge. At the beach, mixing sand and shell and water, “What are you making, Rachel?” Porridge.

Last night was the first time I gave this response without a trace of fantasy. It really was porridge, which turns out to be the natural fermentation of flour and water and sugar when allowed to percolate with the wild yeasts of the air. Reality, as it ever turns out, is even better than fantasy.


Pain Bouillie

Porridge Bread

Adapted from the Village Baker


The night before, mix:

2 cups rye flour

1 3/4 cups boiling water

2 tsp honey

in a medium bowl, cover with saran and leave for 12 hours in a warm place.


1 cup sourdough starter

2 tsp crushed caraway seeds

2 tsp salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons warm water

Raisins (optional)

  1. Make the porridge and let sit out over night (or more!)
  2. Grease a loaf tin with olive oil.
  3. Stir the yeast mixture or rapid rise yeast, salt and caraway seeds into the rye porridge.
  4. Add the bread flour bit by bit until a firm dough forms.
  5. Turn onto a floured surface and knead gently for 6-8 minutes until smooth. (It will seem SUPER dry, but that is okay)
  6. Return the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling-film and put in a warm place for an hour and a half or until it has nearly doubled in size.
  7. Turn out onto the floured surface again and punch down.
  8. Cut the dough into 2 pieces and roll them both into rectangles roughly the size of the bottom of your loaf tin.
  9. Fold the bottom third up over the middle third and the top third down over the other two so that you have a small rectangle, three widths thick and pinch the edges together a bit.
  10. Turn over and put the 2 little loaves into the loaf tin.
  11. Cover loosely with oiled cling-film and leave to rise for another hour or until the top of the dough nearly reaches the top of the tin.
  12.  preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  13. Brush the top of the loaves with olive oil and slash the tops.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400 degrees and bake another 45 minutes or until the bottom of a loaf sounds hollow when knocked.

Cool on a wire rack.

Totally goofed on this one. The ugliness is all mine, not the recipe. I left the loaf pan with the rising dough in the oven and turned on the oven for something else forgetting they were in there. Dang. So they went through all kinds of trauma, and came out looking like it. Whoops. Tastes good anyway, though. As the adage on my calendar reminds me, Live imperfectly with great delight

Izzy is sad because once again I’m going away for a few days. I am leaving her in good company. Image

3 thoughts on “Pain Bouillie

  1. I think you need to explain why we have a picture of that man in our house. Although it took a fair amount of research for you and I to figure out who it was, others may know and think that you and I approve of his theology/philosophy. The story about why you have that picture is a great story too.

    1. The photograph of the Bhagwan is a prize I have won three consecutive times with a group of comedians in my MFA cohort for meritorious skits. None of my partners in crime wanted to bring the pic home with them. I don’t mind, I just keep telling myself it’s Tolstoy (like I originally thought until Mom IDed the photo).

  2. I just Googled Bhagwan, what a guy! Apparently Izzy doesn’t think too highly of him though, judging by the expression on her face as she (sort of) looks at him 🙂 Buen viaje, Rach! Let me know if you’ll be in MSP for any length of time.

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