Baking Bread in Baja

Steve used to go muy loco with unadulterated joy over my ability to turn out fresh buttery croissants, garlic and onion bagels, extra-sour authentic sour dough, and genuine black Russian bread (judged by Anatoly Lev from the Ukraine to be “absolutely fabulous”).

Churpa's note: Photo by Russell Lee, circa 1939. This image is not intended to imply that El Codo in any way resembles a babushka.

Today I conjured up my first batches of bread: Genuine Basque sheepherder bread from a recipe taught to me by Paul Uxue, as his dogs were herding his flock in California’s Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains. It has a rich, yeasty, dense texture which probably would go well with lamb roasted on a spit. The loaf was perfect with parchment thin crust and perfectly formed tiny rise holes throughout — a masterpiece!

Today was also housekeeping day so Juanita and her mother entered la casa and immediately smelled baking bread, “Que es este?” Juanita asked, I proceeded go give her the full story in Spanish as I retrieved the loaf pan from the oven and set it outside on the balustrade to cool.

After Juanita and her mother were done working (the piso mopped with Fabuloso, and my gourmet spices carefully hidden in places I’d never find), I invited them to sample a slice of the bread. With a flourish, I wielded my prized gringo bread knife and slivered a half-inch thick treasure for each of the women.

They accepted the offer graciously. They nibbled chunks, while looking at each other knowingly and nodding. I glowed with pride.

After finishing her slice Juanita looked at me and proclaimed Muy Rico!

As I was beginning to positively flush with elation, she added…

Como Pan Bimbo” Like Pan Bimbo.

I could have died

About Kelly Nowicki

One Response to “Baking Bread in Baja”

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  1. -El Codo- says:

    Dang! I’ll betcha her bread tastes even better than mine! A genuine horno de leña para pan!