It’s the morn of the Summer Solstice, and the strawberry full moon. Rye bread is rising in the warmed crock pot, to be put to steam when it reaches the top of the bread pan. The only sounds at 6:16 are my fingers hitting the keyboard, chickpeas bubbling on the stove, and a bird twilling somewhere. It is the peace before, when nothing has manifested. My first camp of the summer will begin at 10 am, and could potentially be anything, but I have my high hopes, and 20+ years experience facilitating people through hands-on, exploratory learning.
Immersion into story art and song
The Bard part of the camp is an immersion into storytelling, the Irish myths--the children of Lir to Finn Mac Cool. Arthurian legends, Child Ballads….I will tell stories, they will learn to tell stories, and recite poetry, and sing. We’ll also be working on drawing and painting Celtic spirals, and knotwork. Paint miniature wooden character dolls, and learn some basic crewel embroidery.
Fantastic lemon Shortbread
I’m sharing my Levain Lemon Shortbread recipe with you today. It’s the one we’ll make at camp, and is unique with its overnight fermentation. I think it’s the best shortbread, but I’m probably prejudiced.
What You'll Need
Overnight Fermentation Ingredients 2 cups (267 grams) gluten free flour mix ¼ cup (56 grams) firm active levain ½ cup (100 grams ) unprocessed whole cane brown sugar--rapunzal ¾ cup cold unsalted butter (1 and ½ sticks ) (169 grams) chopped into small chunks
Before Baking Ingredients fine zest of one lemon ( 2 tablespoons ) 3 drops lemon oil or 1 teaspoon lemon extract 1 tablespoon lemon juice ½ teaspoon sea salt
Download of lemon shortbread recipe
Camp Begins today!
At Bards and Bread Camp, an offshoot of FEAST’s Folk Arts and Food Camps, with a team of 10 and 11 year olds, boys and girls, I’ll be baking throughout the week 10 different, and to me fascinating, traditional regional British Isles breads: scones, crumpets, pikelets, bara brith, barley bannock, Yorkshire tea cakes, barmbrack, Irish soda bread, Maids of Honor ( not a bread but a pastry), and Scottish shortbread. They will all use flours besides wheat, all be fermented in some way or another, and delicious. The children will begin to learn the magic and rhythms of bread making, and will carry this experience and the confidence they gain throughout their lives, or at least that’s the intention.
My talented Assistant
My son Pan, aged 22, and home from college will be my assistant. I’m so thrilled that he can make it because he’s a storyteller, home baker, and so good with children. He also weaves baskets out of vines, and eats and forages wild foods, so maybe he’ll introduce them to all of those wonderful pursuits.
Levain Lemon Shortbread
There is a magic that shines through when a shortbread is given an overnight fermentation. Shortbread should be a clean, simple and straight to the heart cookie. The levain fermentation process opens up the subtle flavors of the grain bringing out a depth of flavor--buttery, just sweet enough with a touch of lemon. Makes: two ( 7 inch rounds) Days To Make: 2 Prep. Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 10 minute prep, 12 hour overnight fermentation, 45 minutes chilling time plus 15 minutes baking and 10 minutes cooling time
Overnight Fermentation Instructions In the work bowl of a food processor, add flour, crumble firm levain into work bowl and pulse 6-8 times until combined, add sugar and pulse, add butter chunks and pulse several times. Empty contents of work bowl into a large mixing bowl. It should be a buttery dough and hold together easily. Gather dough together into a ball. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let ferment overnight or ( 12 to 24 hours ) at room temperature. We turn our oven to warm, then turn it off, and ferment the dough in the oven, especially in the winter.
Before Baking Instructions Look at the fermented dough, open it up with your hands, it should be puffy with some bubbles, it will taste slightly sour--not too much. If none of this has happened then it needs more time to ferment--try putting it into a warm, but turned off oven for another 1-2 hours. If fermented then proceed. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle portion and preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C Mix salt, lemon zest, lemon, and lemon extract together in a small dish. Break the dough up and work in the salt and other ingredients in with your hands so they’re evenly distributed throughout the dough. Split the dough in half and press each ball into a seven inch flat even round on parchment paper with your palms. Chill for 15 minutes. After chilling prick a design with fork tines, or a cookie stamp, lots of fun can be had here experimenting with fun designs. Crimp the edges as for a pie. Cut rounds into 12 even pieces. Chill for ½ hour on the parchment paper, transfer to a baking sheet, with rounds evenly spaced apart. Bake until they are golden, 15 minutes, do not overbake. Remove and let rounds cool for 10 minutes on cooling racks before serving. Enjoy! Stored in a moisture proof tin they will keep for 2 weeks. Please credit Society for Revisionist Baking for any use of this recipe and its techniques