Antique stores are full of “bread bowls”–low, wooden vessels used to mix and ferment dough. Here’s my non-antique bread bowl in action. It was hand-carved by Dunbar McCurley from sassafras wood (yes, the same tree whose leaves become file). Coated with flour, the wood is wonderfully non-stick and wipes clean with a paper towel.
This week’s bread is a pugliese loaf from Rose Berenbaum’s Bread Bible. The dough requires two separate ferments, starting with a biga rested for 6 hours. I substituted whole wheat for the rye flour specified in the biga recipe as my recently opened rye had already grown a crop of bugs. Though it wasn’t an especially photogenic bread, it turned out nutty and crusty, with an open, glossy crumb. The flavor justifies the long fermenting time, and it made excellent toast (with cashew butter and a sprinkling of chocolate bits) this morning.
I have recently become fascinated with sourdough, and would love to use a kneading bowl but they are all antique and lots of money. Does the gentleman who made your bowl make them commercially and are they reasonably priced? I am thinking of having a go at making my own!! Regards and many thanks beryl
Mr. McCurley makes each bowl himself. Call him if you want to buy one: he operates a you-pick blueberry farm, and his contact info can be found on this page: http://www.pickyourown.org/MS.htm
Definitely cheaper than an antique! Cleaner and more sanitary, too.