Kale Pie and Oh Yeah, I Live in Seattle Now

Furniture sold? Check. Tenant replacement found? Check. Car serviced? Check. These were just a few of my to-do list items recently. You see, nearly a month ago…damn, has it really been a month??... I spent my final hours as a Virginia resident, packing up my Honda civic with the bare essentials, readying myself for my cross county road trip and move to Seattle.

So as you can imagine, the move, the process leading up to the move, really the last two months in general, feel like the craziest dream I’ve ever had. And maybe it’s because I really am living what has been my dream for nearly the past 2 years. But here I am and every morning I leave my little studio apartment, walk out the door, and am still in shock. My view is the entire cityscape, the Space Needle directly in front of me, mountains peeking through on particularly clear and crisp days. I walk to work now (small tech company, and yes it is amazing), splurged on a nice raincoat because that’s now what I consider an “investment piece,” and do things like write food blog posts at a communal table in a coffee shop while wearing all black on a Saturday afternoon. Yup, this is life now.

It’s hard to put the past few weeks into words. In a weird, and I suppose reassuring, way it feels as though I’ve been here for years, as if settling in was the most natural process I’ve ever had to endure. As my dad put it, “I’ve never seen you make a decision so quickly and with so much finality for someone who can never seem to make a decision at all.” But it’s true; I never doubted it once. Though having good friends and a cousin here helps. And yet, there’s the constant feeling of being so new. Listening to people talk about traffic and the surrounding neighborhoods and their networks of Seattle-native friends makes me realize I have a lot to learn, a lot of catching up. The exhaustive list of things to do and see is beyond daunting. The inspiration I see each day has me itching to spend each waking moment immersed in creating. Combining that with the eye-opening road trip through landscapes I didn’t even know existed in the U.S. makes for that crippling sensation of being very small and without enough time to experience the world in its totality.

When I get into these phases in my life were I feel very introspective, driven, and motivated and inspired to go after my goals, I settle back into a routine of dishes as a means of saving time and mental space for other things. You’ve seen some of them here, most notably the coconut and kale rice, the curried peanut stew, the braised carnitas. But one I have yet to divulge is a cheat version of spanakopita that I’ve so lovingly named “kale pie” because nothing says “look at me, I live in Seattle-fucking-Washington now” like “kale pie.”

In short, you take a frozen pie crust, you fill it with a pound of kale from the frozen section of your local whole foods that has been mixed with sautéed onion and garlic, eggs, feta (in brine, duh), parm and red pepper flakes. Then you bake it until the eggs are set and the crust is brown and flaky and hopefully devoid of a soggy bottom. Boom, done. While it bakes, you pop on some reruns of Top Model and build yourself a particleboard desk from Target and then you sit on the floor (because you don’t have a table), taking in each savory bite until it’s time to return to crazy life-ing again.

So here we are, Honeycomb is now a Seattle-based food blog hidden and buried amongst the plethora of other Seattle-based food blogs. I don’t know what that means for this here journal of my cravings and thoughts, if it will survive now that life is throwing my attention at so many other things art and experience-related. It starts to feel trivial and outdated in ways, faddish almost, and beyond the point in time where food photography required more effort that switching to portrait mode on an iPhone and a person’s attention span was longer than the length of an Instagram story.

It’s an interesting time for the creative food world and I’m starting to feel lost in it. It’s become a medium that is so accessible.  So instead I’ve been working on growing and thriving in the more “American craft” and traditional medium of macrame. This is by no means the end of blogging but I’m afraid that Honeycomb will have to take a back burner position to other things for now and exist more for occasional journaling and travel photo documentation. The piles of fiber and wool and cotton await me now. As is with life right now, the change of it all is hard but it feels right. Onward and upward!

Kale Pie
Makes 1 pie
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 frozen pie crust, defrosted
1 lb frozen kale, defrosted and drained of moisture
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
4 eggs
6 oz. feta in brine, crumbled
½ cup grated parmesan

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust and pop in the oven for 10 minutes until lightly colored. Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over medium with olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and stir frequently for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. When the onions are cooked and the pie crust is par baked, set both aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the kale, the onion and garlic mixture, the eggs, crumbled feta, and the parmesan and stir to combine well. Mix in a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the piecrust and press it firmly into place. Crumble some extra feta overtop if you have any leftover.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the eggs are set and the crust and top of the pie are nicely browned. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting a slice.

#ChasingTotality: A Seattle Story of Dance Church, Frozen Cocktails, Savory Bites, and "It's None of your Business"

I’ve traveled a lot in the past few years, to see friends, to check out somewhere completely new, to go to weddings, etc. And whenever I go to a new location I can’t help but think, “what is it that makes a person decide to live here.” Maybe it’s where they were born or where their family moved, and the only place that they know of as home. Perhaps they went there for college or work and just kinda stuck around after. Or maybe they visited the place and had this overwhelming feeling of belonging, like the place was some sort of projection of their soul, like it was where they were meant to be in the world.

I’ve only ever felt that way about a few places. One is actually where I grew up, the countryside and rolling hills of Virginia. Another was London where I studied abroad but felt like I belonged there a week into the semester. The third is Seattle. When my friend Cecily and I visited last weekend for my second trip out to see one of our other friends, I had a distinct moment where time seemed to have stopped and it was as though I’d been there forever, that I was just living my life as normal, and it would continue there. Cecily felt the same. And yet before we knew it we were solemnly sitting in the Lyft on the way to the airport, watching the city diminish in the distance and the illusion fading before our very eyes.

So now what? What do you do when you’re homesick for a place you’ve only ever been to twice? How do you fill that hole in your heart when you left a piece somewhere else? Honestly, right now I don’t know. So maybe I start with reliving my time there, rifling though my pictures, remembering the taste of the excessive pizza we ate or the frozen cocktails we drank, closing my eyes and pretending I’m back at Dance Church, dancing my heart out to Justin Bieber. I guess that’s a good start, so here we go.

Staying with our friends Reilly and Nikson and their adorable pitbull Ollie was like staying at the coziest and friendliest mid-century modern home with a constant supply of pamplemousse La Croix, dog snuggles, friend time, and Great British Bake-Off binge watching. Soooo, that alone would’ve made the trip excellent. But add on our lust for a life that includes wonderful food and drinks at all times and you’ve got the makings of a really great vacation.

One prevalent theme of the trip was “rosé all day” which started at our first destination The Steelhead Diner. Situated in the midst of Pink Place Market, this place has great views of shoppers below from their patio and an excellent selection of fresh seafood. After getting started with a bottle of rosé and crown and cranberry shots, we moved on to, you know, actual food. We started with their crispy tater tot rendition, before moving onto a family-style assortment of gulf shrimp, poutine, and the most tender salmon served over polenta with cherries, almonds, and rosemary brown butter. Ending it with more rosé, chocolate pecan pie, and cheesecake left us drunk, full, and happy and glad for the long walk back.

As if our luxurious lunch weren’t enough, we somehow decided that it was also a perfect night for a giant rectangle thick-crust pizza from Brandon Pettit’s Dino’s Tomato Pie. I’m not joking when I say that this ranks top 3 for best pizzas I’ve ever had in my life. The restaurant, bathed in red light and boasting “the longest bar in Seattle” specializes in greasy but oh-so-good Jersey style pizza with a damn good bar menu as well (including a bomb iteration of frosé with amaretto and blueberry). To say we loved the pizza would be an understatement. In fact, even with our long list of places we wanted to try, we made sure to make another stop at Dino’s before heading off to the airport at the end of the trip.

We may or may not have gotten a little, um, crazy after our pizza so needless to say things were slow-moving the next day. Yet the prospects of a return visit to General Porpoise Doughnuts got us out and about soon enough. It was there, with a chocolate marshmallow doughnut and a latte, that we somehow started singing Salt-N-Pepa’s "None of your Business" in a Batman voice which somehow became a “thing” for the rest of the trip? Don’t ask.

Seeking a savory bite and more frosé after doughnuts, we wound up at Nacho Borracho for chips and guac, some casual mid-day frozen cocktails, and a quick photoshoot with their rainbow fiesta of decorations. After drinks we headed over to Scratch Deli for, you guessed it, more rosé and sandwiches. I got the butter chicken sandwich with curry kraut and highly recommend.

To round out the afternoon, we headed over to Rachel’s Ginger Beer for more cocktails. This is a true gem of a place, specializing solely in fun and inventive flavors of super spicy and fizzy ginger beer that you can get straight up or mixed with a liquor of your choice. You can even get a growler to go. But since it was vacation and #yolo, I opted for the boozy ginger beer float: white peach ginger beer + rum + soft serve vanilla. After this liquor and food-filled day, we took it easy that chilly night, hitting up Soi for some warming thai soup then heading over to Bar Ferdinand for a few glasses of wine in their outdoor courtyard.

The next day started with what I would call the best workout I’ve ever had. World, let me introduce you to Dance Church. With no religious affiliation but an all-inclusive and judgment-free environment, this class congregates on Sunday in a dance studio to dance to the heart’s desire to modern pop music for 90 minutes. While there is an aerobic element and you follow an instructor in squats, punches, and twerking, freestyle dance is the main component. Would go again, for sure.

Having met up with our friend Cody, the five of us headed over to Westward for brunch on the patio. We started with sparking rosé, oysters, and a French toast muffin and continued onto mushrooms over polenta and the fanciest avocado toast I’ve maybe ever seen. We stayed in an Airbnb that night in Green Lake, trading in our fancy night out for a round of kings with Raniers and mini-mart chips and salsa while watching the sunset on the rooftop deck. Then Game of Thrones because, priorities.

The next day, after a disappointing moment of watching the eclipse (we didn’t have glasses so we just stood outside as it got slightly dim with a live stream of the totality playing in the background), we hit up Roxy’s diner for brunch and $6 mimosas and the Theo chocolate factory store. We took it easy in the afternoon, chillin in the park, eating vegan ice cream, watching more GBBO, normal things, and that night decided to check out Bar Vacilando just down the street.

Cecily, Reilly, and I unanimously agreed it was our favorite meal, not just because the food and atmosphere were impeccable, but we all felt so at peace, delving into deep conversations, talking about the future and our lives in general, and missing our 4th wheel Melinda. In our own little corner of the restaurant, which we usually need to protect others from our raucous conversations, I felt more relaxed and at ease with my life than I have in a long time. Maybe the mezcal, elderflower, and ginger beer cocktails helped, or maybe the pear and gorgonzola pizza, salt cod croquettes, Korean fried chicken, and green bean fries added to the experience, but I know without a doubt that the company made it perfection.

Our final day we all worked as we awaited our late flight. It was tinged with a somber feeling, as was our final dinner at Dino’s. Nobody wanted to leave, to part ways, to say goodbye to the place that so quickly became our home away from home. Where this leaves me now, I don’t know. But what I do know more that anything though is that the heart is generally accurate, that it speaks to you when it finds something with which it resonates. I remember last year on our trip together to Denver I was so focused on trying to figure out who I was when I should’ve all along just been trusting that feeling inside when I know I am at peace. I really think that I am my own truth when I have that feeling and rather than trying to put my identity into words, should go on intuition and live by my heart instead. That feels right for now. Until next time Seattle.

Two-Tone Strawberry and Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwiches

Um hey. It’s been a while. Guess I’ve done that thing again where I pretend that life only has meaning if I’m doing so many things I forget to sit back and enjoy it all and ignore stuff that makes me happy like writing and cooking. Whoops. Though when I think about it, making my annual trip to Boston, chillin with my college buds by the lake, spending my 27th birthday at a Rebelution concert, starting another bout of marathon training, and hanging out in Raleigh for a weekend is by no means a poor use of time. But seriously, it’s getting to be less about work/life balance and more about life/life balance here. Sigh.

Having so many aspirations and projects and general things I want to do or things I want in my life made me think of this article that I saw on Cup of Jo recently. It comes up with this formula that “Your Achievement” is “Your Potential” divided by “Your Directions, squared”. It’s a great read if you have a second but the main gist is that truly great achievements aren’t feasible if you’re trying to fit in too many at one time. Instead, your greatest successes (and probably this life/life balance I’m having a hard time finding) come at the cost of cutting things out. And guess what? I don’t like doing that.

I like to think that having this never-ending to-do list means success. But, between my macramé side-hustle, this blog, traveling, running, baking, and spending quality time with friends and family, I feel like my foundations are at last crumbling. At these times a quote from the The Fellowship of the Ring movie comes to mind. Bilbo says, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” That Bilbo, he gets me.

So, like any logical person who believes in sound science, I asked my tarot cards what I should focus on – yes I really am going crazy – and performed a “Mind, Body, Soul” reading to get some clarity. For Mind I drew the Hierophant card, signifying knowledge, a desire to learn, to expand mental challenges. For Body I drew the Eight of Cups, a card of ill health signifying that my body needs to move on from health stagnation. And for Soul, the Nine of Cups, a welcoming card of bliss and harmony, one that shows peace of mind and happiness, of things just turning out right. I could not think of a better focus for my soul.

So in order to focus on my mind, body and soul in the ways I see fit, maybe things may slow down over here for a bit. Not end, of course not, but arrive at a more leisurely pace because I can’t deny that this is good for my soul as well. And even if it takes me 5 days to make, assemble and photograph some sort of dish (like it did for these here ice cream sandwiches) and another 2 weeks to write about it, so be it. And speaking of ice cream sandwiches… I made these babies for my birthday last Sunday and today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day so it all seemed very appropriate to show them to you at last.

These came from a very eye-catching post in Bon Appetit magazine because honestly who can really resist brightly colored, two-toned dessert foods these days. They take some time, some patience, and some precision but the results are worth it for sure. You start by making these rich and salty chocolate cookies, cutting them into classic rectangle shapes and baking until crisp. Then, with some chilling time in between, you melt, spread, and re-freeze 2 flavors of ice cream (I used strawberry and pistachio), cut them into blocks, and sandwich them perfectly between two cookies. They are best after sitting in the freezer for a day or two as well so the cookies soften a bit because who really wants to bite into an ice cream sandwich and watch the ice cream squeeze out the sides. In the end, I guess I could’ve just bought some cookies and saved myself a ton of trouble here, but I gotta maintain some level of insanity over here, right? Wouldn’t feel normal without it.

Two-Tone Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 20 sandwiches
From Bon Appetit

Ingredients
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks of unsalted room temperature butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
2 room temperature eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. instant espresso powder

2 pints of 1 ice cream flavor, your choice
2 pints of another ice cream flavor, your choice

Whisk together the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and flour in a bowl. In a stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and sugar on medium high speed for 4-5 minutes until fluffy. Reduce to medium and add in the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla and espresso powder. Reduce the speed to low and add in the dry ingredients. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Take out half of the dough and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Lightly dust your surface with flour and roll out your dough into a 12x16 inch rectangle at 1/8 inch thick. Cut it in half lengthwise and then make cuts crosswise to divide each half into 10 pieces, making 20 total. Transfer them to the baking sheet, prick the cookies with a fork, and bake for 12 minutes. Soften, roll and cut the other half of the dough while these bake. When the cookies are done, transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in a sealed plastic bag until ready to use them.

To prepare the ice cream, take 2 pints of one flavor and scoop it all out into a medium bowl to soften for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, line a 13x9 inch baking pan or casserole dish with plastic wrap. When soft use a spoon to mix up the ice cream into a spreadable, even consistency. Pour into the pan and spread across the bottom with an offset spatula. Place in the freezer to resolidify, 30 minutes to an hour.  Repeat this process with the next flavor, spreading it overtop the first one. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze for 12 hours.

To assemble the sandwiches, overturn the pan of ice cream onto a cutting board and remove the plastic wrap. Trim off the edges to make them neat and cut into 20 pieces with a sharp knife in the same way you did the cookies. Use an offset spatula to lift up each piece onto an upside-down cookie and top it with a right-side up cookie. Transfer the cookies to a lined baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours until hard. At this point you can cover them and let them soften for 24 hours before eating.

 

Mezcal Negroni

There’s something inherently very sad about looking around and seeing all of your belongings packed away into brown boxes scattered about a room. “Kitchen,” “Bedroom,” “Bathroom” – these broad terms define an interior that’s an amalgamation of things that are your life. You walk between this maze of anonymous boxes, walls so bare that your voice echoes in the room, and think, “is this it? Is this what I have to show for 27 years of living?” And these things start to feel very trivial and small in the fact that you can cart them around from place to place, set them up on a shelf, and pretend that you’re a more well-defined person with them as a representation of yourself. Moving’s been giving me a lot of time to brood, clearly.

And while I have a strong attachment to my things, my cookbooks (so many cookbooks), my kitchen appliances, my art, and my knickknacks, tchotchkes, and other bits of memorabilia, I do wonder how I’d fare if I just got rid of it all. Would I feel just as secure about who I am if I could fit everything I need into one suitcase and roam nomadically. Or would haphazardly throwing out these mementos cause me to sink into a pit of despair? Regardless, I’ve kept most stuff for the time being and managed to pack it all into a trailer, take it three miles down the road, and drop it off somewhere new.

I went back to my old apartment the other day to pick up the stragglers of my things. This 600 square foot space, once filled with my "life" now stood in front of me, barren and empty, sadly showing the dust clumps that gathered behind furniture over the past 18 months. So I did what any person in the throes of change and confusion do, I called my mom and cried. She sat silent on the other end, listening to my sobs echoing over her car speakers while driving home and when the tears subsided, she reminded my that this was a good change, one that would keep be from going broke, and I knew she was right.

I drove in silence that evening to my new home. My roommates were around and we had a kitchen dance party while I vacuumed out the drawer under the oven and they watched in SHOCK as I unpacked one strange and unnecessary kitchen appliance after another. And when they went to bed as I started on probably the 8th box or so of stuff, they said goodnight and I remembered how nice it is to have people around, the comfort that human presence exudes.

I'm nearly unpacked now and this townhouse, now filled with my mounds and mounds of (organized) stuff, somehow gives off a cozier vibe than my little box of an apartment. Maybe I don't need these things, maybe some are frivolous and extraneous, but I can't deny, they do feel like home. And so as the sun sets over our little back yard and leaks in through the windows in golden beams, I settle down with a mezcal negroni and take it all in. I think I'll like it here.

Mezcal Negroni
Makes 1 drink

Ingredients
1 oz. Mezcal Joven
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
1 oz. Campari

Combine all 3 ingredients in a large glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with ice and garnish with orange peel…I didn’t, because I didn’t have oranges…

Buckwheat Sourdough with Cranberries and Pepitas

It’s interesting to look at life as a series of many miniature life cycles, to categorize different parts of it into eras or stages. We base these on bigger life events like where we are living, who we are spending out time with, etc., and it seems that as each of these comes to a close I find myself reflecting on them, wondering how it is I got there in my movement from one to the next.

At this time my “living on my own” phase is 2 weeks from its end. It’s been wonderful and gave me such sense of independence but sadly in the D.C. area it’s a luxury that came at the cost of actually going nearly broke. It’s a shitty feeling, I’ve got to say, and not exactly the way I’d like to leave a part of my life behind but you live and you learn and I guess I learned the hard way this time. On the bright side, I’ve lucked my way into what seems like will be a pretty sweet townhouse and roomie situation though, complete with giant community pool, so it could all be going much much worse. Plus, this also coincides with what I hope will be the beginning of another sort of new era for my health (read my article here for details) so I’m actually feeling pretty good about life right now.

In the meantime, we’ll talk about bread, for bread is life after all, right?As things shift towards a new cycle, I’ve also been experimenting with making my own sourdough bread, another living thing that will have its own series of mini lives, some as short as a day, throughout its eternity. As one life ends and another begins, it takes a part of its past with it, a culmination of particles from every single time before just as we bring with us our experiences and learnings with us. Maybe it is just coincidental but I like to think that this cyclical yet expansion/growth symbolism of my new hobby is my way of projecting change in my own life. Hopefully it will have the same fruitful ends as the sourdough starter. Time will tell.

I’m shameless in saying that the sourdough thing has already become an obsession and I have more loaves shoved in my freezer than I know what to do with. But I guess you have to practice a new technique to get the hang of it. Luckily, having interned in the art of bread baking with a pastry chef and having read several books on the science of bread during a time when I almost moved to Charlottesville to work the nightshift as a bread lady, it’s a skill that comes easily. That’s how after making my starter, reading Josey Baker Bread, and whipping up a few plain versions of his traditional hearth sourdough, I found myself already getting a little ambitious. Thus, buckwheat sourdough with cranberries and toasted pepitas.

Now, be patient as I go through the steps here. It’s a complicated process but at least one that requires very little active time. If you’re starting without a starter, you will need to add 2 weeks onto this as well. Sorry, but that’s just how it works. Or maybe you can ask around and find someone or a bakery that can share theirs with you! So read carefully, maybe several times through, be patient and enjoy this process and the magic that seems to make sheer flour and water come to life with wild yeast because, as they say, good things come to those who wait.

Sourdough Starter

Day 1
Mix together ¾ cup unsweetened pineapple juice and ½ cup bread flour. Cover and set aside.

Day 2
Add to this mixture ½ cup pineapple juice and ½ cup bread flour. Cover and set aside for another 24 hours.

Day 3
In a clean bowl or container with plenty of extra room, add ½ cup of the pineapple/flour mixture with ½ cup filtered water and ¾ cup whole-wheat flour. Mix well, cover, and let ferment overnight.

Days 4-14
Continue the steps of “Day 3” each day, mixing together ½ cup of the existing mixture in a new clean container with an additional ½ cup filtered water and ¾ cup whole-wheat flour. You can throw away whatever is left of the previous day’s mixture. Over time the starter will become more and move active, creating lots of bubbles and giving off a nice boozy smell. Each time you add the new ingredients to the existing, this is called “feeding your starter.” By the end of 2 weeks, you should have cultivated enough wild yeast that it is ready for using in a loaf of bread.

Note: It is best to use starter that is at least 12 hours post-feeding for baking. Also at this point, you can start storing it in the fridge while not using where it will remain dormant. Just make sure you don’t put it in the refrigerator until it has a chance to ferment, ideally 12 hours after feeding. To use again, remove from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 12 hours then feed your starter. It should become active pretty quickly. Ideally you will do this a few days before baking and then you can go back to storing the starter in the refrigerator until ready to bake again.

Buckwheat Sourdough with Cranberries and Toasted Pepitas.

Makes 1 loaf of bread
Adapted from Josey Baker Bread

Ingredients
For the pre-ferment (essentially a small amount of dough that ferments before being added to a larger amount of dough)
1 Tbsp. sourdough starter
120 grams cool water
105 grams whole-wheat flour

For the dough
The entire pre-ferment
240 grams lukewarm water
345 grams bread flour
30 grams buckwheat flour
2 tsp salt
½ cup dried cranberries
½ toasted, unsalted pepitas

Make your pre-ferment by mixing up the ingredients in a bowl and covering. Set aside for 12 hours in a cool place.

2 hours before mixing your dough together, combine the pepitas and cranberries in a bowl and cover with hot water. This will hydrate them so they don’t steal moisture from your bread dough.

In a large bowl, combine the pre-ferment, the water, bread flour, buckwheat flour, and salt. Drain your fruit and seeds and add these in as well. Using your hands, mix together the dough for 2-3 minutes pulling up on it from the sides and pushing it down into the center, making sure you are rotating the bowl a little each time. The dough will be sticky and that’s ok.

Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. After it sits, knead the dough in the bowl again by wetting your hand and continuing this process of pulling up on the dough and pushing it back down for another minute. Cover and let rest for another 30 minutes. Knead the dough like this 2 more times, each with a 30-minute break in between.

After the 4th kneading, it’s time for the dough to proof. Cover the bowl and set aside until the dough rises by half. This will take 2-3 hours at room temperature or 12-48 in the fridge if you need to hold off for a while. After it has risen, it is time to shape the dough.

Transfer to a floured surface and using floured hands, pull the edges gently up and to the center so that the dough is rounded and there is a seam at the top holding those edges together. Flip over so that it’s seam side is down and let rest for 10 minutes. While you wait prepare your proofing basket by dusting with flour or line a bowl with a clean cotton cloth and liberally flour the cloth. Flip your dough back over, dust with a little flour, and gently stretch into a small square-ish shape. Take the top two corners and fold them 2/3 down. Take the bottom two corners and fold them 2/3 up. Give the dough a 90 degree turn and then working from top to bottom, roll up the dough into a ball and place it in your proofing basket or cloth-lined bowl seam side up. Cover and let rise at room temperature for 3 hours or in the refrigerator for 6-24, making sure you bring it back to room temp before baking.

45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 475 degrees with a baking stone or steel inside on the center rack. 5 minutes before baking, place an empty sheet tray on the rack right below and prepare a cup or two of cool water. Invert your loaf onto a well-floured pizza peel. Slash the top with a razor blade and slide it onto your baking stone or steel and quickly pour the water into the hot sheet tray underneath to create a nice steamy environment. Shut the oven door quickly. Bake for 25-30 minutes until it's a nice rich brown.

Once baked, transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for at least an hour before slicing and enjoying the fruits of your labor.