Rye Bread

Hello, friends.  It's been a long time since we've talked.  How are you?  A lot has changed, for me, anyway.  I haven't been able to write in a while... Like I actually have been physically and emotionally incapable of writing here.  I haven't even wanted to take pictures really.  I've been making lots of food - cherry jam shortbread tart, chicken pot pie, garlic bread, mint chocolate chip gelato, butternut squash and chickpea salad with tahini dressing, maple wheat bread, and some other things I'm forgetting - so it's not like I haven't had material to share with you.  I'm sorry, I'm going to be better about posting.  To give you a recap on what you've missed around here:

- Crew preseason began at the beginning of September, and I hosted two of my lovely crewmies in my apartment for the month.  I don't know what I would've done without them, honestly, they kept me sane.

- Then, when it came time to seat race for the Head of the Charles lineup, my MRI results from August came back, revealing that I have a bruised spine (which is the beginning of a new stress fracture).  I'm going to see a spine specialist soon, but over the past couple weeks I've switched to rowing port (that won't mean anything to some of you, but it matters because now my back is twisting a different way from the one that hurts a lot).  It's actually helped, but we'll see what an actual doctor says.

- This week has been the trial period for novices who are interested in joining the team, so things have gotten more chaotic at the site.  But in a good way - it's nice to have fresh faces around.

- This past weekend, I went to Paris!  We were only in the city for 46 hours total, but it was lovely and incredibly beautiful, just as you can imagine.  I was there with four other UChicago rowers and our novice men's coach for the annual La Traversée de Paris, which is essentially a 34km row on the Seine.  I'd hesitate to call it race, since it's more of a parade, with a couple hundred boats rowing past the Eiffel Tower, Pont Alexandre III, the Musée d'Orsay, the Louvre, and the Notre Dame, and often stopping to take pictures.  This is the third year UChicago has sent a contingency, and we were the only American crew in the event, so it's a very special privilege for our crew.  We each stayed with our own host families from a rowing club in the suburbs of Paris - I miss mine already, she was so wonderful - and met some of loveliest people there.  Now I want to learn French and return to immerse myself completely in city.

- I'm still working at Arete, having been promoted from Project Assistant Intern to Program and Operations Assistant.  I'm moving up in the world!  I've also started working as a research assistant for the Experience and Cognition Lab on campus, run by Daniel Casasanto, and it's really cool.  I'm happy there.

- I'm also taking an EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) class - so basically right now my life is rowing for UChicago, EVP responsibilities for rowing, 4 classes plus the EMR class twice a week, and 2 jobs.  Yeah.  I'm pretty busy...

... I'll sleep when I'm dead.

Rye Bread

3/4 c bread flour
3/4 c rye flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 water, room temperature

Flour mixture:
2 1/4 c bread flour
1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1/2 tablespoon course salt

Combine all the sponge ingredients in a large bowl, whisking until very smooth and thickened by intentionally incorporating air with the whisking motion.  In another bowl, stir together the flour mixture ingredients.  Gently scoop it over the sponge to cover completely.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 4 hours (or at least 1 hour - the longer the rise the better).

Dough and baking:
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
~2 tablespoons cornmeal

Add the oil and stir with either a wooden spoon or your hand until the flour is moistened.  Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together, then knead on a clean surface that's been sprinkled with flour for 5 minutes.  The dough will be less sticky after you've kneaded it, then cover with an inverted bowl and let rest for 20 minutes.  Knead for another 5-10 minutes until the dough is very smooth.

Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl, turning in the bowl to cover the dough with oil as well, and let rise 1 1/2-2 hours.  The dough should've doubled in size.  Punch down the dough, re-oil the boil, and let rise another 45 minutes.  Again, punch down the dough; but this time, form it into a round loaf shape and let rise on a sheet pan dusted with cornmeal for 1 1/4 hours until almost doubled in size.

Place a baking sheet - or even better, a baking/pizza stone - in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.  Make a few 1/4-1/2 inch slashes in the top of the bread.  Place the baking sheet with the bread on it gently onto the preheated baking sheet or baking/pizza stone in the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes, lower the heat to 400 degrees F, then continue to bake 30-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown and a skewer inserted to the center comes out clean.  Let cool, then slice for a sandwich such as the following:

Mustard Chicken Sandwich

1/2 cooked and shredded chicken breast (I roasted mine, bone in and skin on, with olive oil, dijon mustard, ground allspice, salt, pepper, ground cumin, ground ginger, and chili powder at 400 degrees F for ~45 minutes)
Gruyere cheese
Spicy brown mustard
Lettuce (I used turnip greens because lettuce is boring)
Ground black pepper

Having discovered that the toaster oven is a beautiful invention, I now make many warm sandwich creations with it.

Slather both pieces of bread with mustard before topping generously with cheese.  Also top one of the pieces of cheese-bread with the chicken, then toast until the cheese is all melty and the bread is crusty.  Place the greens and pepper over one piece of bread before putting the halves together and digging in.


  1. My mouth is watering just reading this post. Excellent job once again!

    Also, I wanted to drop by and let you know that I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award. Love reading your content!

    You can check out the nod here: