It was like a dream. One take; nailed it. After the radio silence, the saxophone player from Boston looked at me through the studio glass and said in his Fenway accent, “I’m going to cawl the police. You could be arrested for that, man.” (To jazz cats, even ladies are “man.” I took the whole thing as a complement.) Sometimes a take is perfect the first time. Our group is called Take Two—but that was truly a Take One moment. So was this recipe.
Pane di Como Antico
Adapted from The Italian Baker
¾ cup sourdough starter (which you have let sit overnight and fed with wheat flour)
1 ½ C warm water
½ c whole wheat flour
3 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
Combine and mix the starter, flours and water. Add the flours one cup at a time. Knead on a floured surface for five minutes, sprinkling with up to ½ additional cup of flour and slamming on the surface if needed to help develop the gluten. It may take up to 12 minutes of kneading (I know) before the dough is sufficiently soft, moist, and sticky. For the first rise, place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours, until doubled. It should have numerous blisters under its “skin” when it’s ready.
Cover and let rise for 1 ½ hours. Thirty minutes before baking, heat baking stone in the oven at 425. Sprinkle the stone with cornmeal. When ready to bake, slash the loaves, slide loaves in, and instantly reduce the heat to 400. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Funny side note, I had to sing barefoot in the studio because apparently, the shoes I thought would be oh so foxy turned out to “squeak” enough to be a sound technician’s nightmare. Apparently the fox’s feet should say nothing. He made me take them off.
The jazz diva microphone does have a burning bush quality—holy ground. All I know is God Bless the Child is officially a hymn in my Real book (this Christmas edition of the Real book is a subtle foreshadowing of our next gig—at Assisi Heights Dec 7th). Can’t wait for the CD release.