Pane di Como ala Freud

One reason I enjoy psychiatry so much is because my poetic sensibility makes me a natural at the Freud game. I have no problem finding associations to fit Freudian slips. Latest case being the attempt at this recipe. I “accidentally” made it into a double-triple batch because I “misread the instructions.” While spending the extra time to add the extra ingredients and knead not two but six loaves, I contemplated the Freudianness of my slip. I think the slip serves two purposes, and therefore, was not at all an accident but the sabotage of my subconscious. It is, I’ll admit, poor form to be both analyst and analysand.

Interpretation 1: Because I am hella busy I am not eating as much/providing as much food for my family (aka KP). The accidental expansion of the recipe might be interpreted, then, as an overcompensation and an opportunity to stand in one place for more than 15 minutes and be still.

Interpretation 2: This is displacement, a manifestation of some heretofore unrecognized desire of mine to expand something else. Perhaps, my studying? Probably not–more likely another book project.

Interpretation 3: Bread dough as totem to lived experience. It was satisfying to stare at a sprawling mass of dough and feel that it was out of control as an externalization for what I feel within myself. That dough is just going to keep growing and growing if I don’t knead it into shape and put in the oven. In some figurative way, I’ve got to figure out how to do that precise thing with my mind this week. Got a shelf exam looming tomorrow and lots of burgeoning loose ends to tie up before going to San Francisco this weekend–akin to the organizing qualities of gluten. Once I’m on the plane, perhaps I will enjoy “identification” with my bread—to feel what it is to go into the oven (not at all in a Sylvia Plath way, don’t worry), risen and ready. To arrive on the other side of the oven door, crisp and hot, ready to be brought to a party’s table—wedding party in this case! Can’t wait to see you Anders and Kaylie. Oakland is about to heat up.  Image

Pane di Como

Adapted from The Italian Baker


¾ cup sourdough starter

1 scant teaspoon malt syrup

⅓ C warm water

2/3 C milk room temperature

1 C all-purpose flour

Combine and mix the yeast, malt syrup, and water.  Let it stand about 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy.  Stir in the milk and flour.  Whisk until smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 4 hours or overnight. Image


2 C water, room temperature

6 ¼ C unbleached all-purpose flour (I used 2 cups of this with whole wheat pastry flour—a mistake, I think. Won’t do next time. I think the loaf suffered structurally for that decision)

1 Tbs salt


Add the water to the starter and mix until the starter is broken up.  Add the flour and salt and mix well for a few minutes. Finish kneading by hand, 6-8 minutes more.Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 90 minutes.  The dough should be doubled in size and look bubbly and blistered.

Remove from bowl and cut dough in half.  Shape into rounds/boules and place each in a banneton or a bowl lined with a well-floured towel.  Cover with towels and allow to rise for 60 mins. Image

Pre-heat your oven to 400°F.  If you are using a baking stone, dust the stone with some cornmeal then invert the loaves onto the stone. Spray with water–this is the key to good crust. Image

Bake for about 60 minutes or until you get that hollow sound from tapping the bottom of the loaf.  Cool the freshly baked bread on racks. Image



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