His Daily Bread
Rating: PG
Diana deRiggs, SuSu, MaceVindaloo

I had a lover who loved bread, but not as you or I might love it. For him, it was expected at every meal, no matter what else was on his plate. No bread, no meal. Maybe it was a Sith thing, but he insisted on it.

I cared deeply for him; he did a lot for me. It's complicated, for I did not love him; instead, I love his brother, and to demonstrate my need for him, I woke up at three hours earlier than him, every day, to start baking bread for him. When that was just too exhausting, I splurged on a bread machine, and was relieved at the idea of being able to mix and time the bread so it would be baked and ready when he finally got up — no more nights being only half-asleep so I could get up in time for his bread!

It was okay bread. He ate it, even when it was stale. I soon realized, it didn't matter who made the bread, as long as there was bread — it was the same as any other bread, to him. My demonstration of my passion was the equivalent of a loaf of supermarket spongy bread. It was bread ... it was just bread ... nothing special. It was a curiously fungible commodity, and he was using his need for bread to test me. In a way, I think I was nothing more than his daily bread, something to be consumed unthinkingly ...

What's more, I didn't care for the bread made by the bread machine. It tasted a little weird in the way pressure-cooked food tastes weird, made with preserved comestibles and stored for long years on a starship galley, and the crust was curiously dry and flakey with a brittle snap, like some kind of construction foam. The inner crumb was also too dry. Maybe I expected too much, and I guess I would have adored the bread if he'd loved the bread!

Eventually, my dependency on him and what he could do for me drew to a close. It was partly that I didn't need him anymore, and partly he no longer possessed the ability to give me that which I desperately needed.

I gave the bread machine away to a charity to sell for a pittance, because though I kept it for many years lying fallow, I never wanted to curse someone else's relationship with it. It was important to me that it go to someone else with no knowledge of me, my lover, or why it was bought — and why it was finally given away.

These days, I've been making a no-knead method bread, which takes organization, but no effort. The men I'm with get it when I'm organized enough to give it to them — and they are much more grateful for it than the man for whom I made his daily bread.

  • 7 cups flour, up to half of it can be whole wheat flour, or a quarter a non-gluten flour like cornmeal or wheatbran
  • ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tblsp salt
  • 3½ cups warm water
In a large bowl, blend together all the ingredients. It will be sticky; do not try to knead the dough — it's supposed to be careless looking and very wet. Cover the bowl and leave it alone at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours. It's ready for the next step when the dough is pocked with bubbled, rather like a pancake being cooked on the first side.

Flour another bowl and scrape out the dough into it. Cover again and let rise for another two hours. The dough should be more than doubled in size.

Put a lidded heavy pot into a 450°F / 200°C oven and head for half an hour. Pull out of the oven, remove the lid and slide the dough into the hot pot; it's okay if it looks messy and uneven — don't try to fix it. Replace the lid quickly and place back in the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue to bake for another 30 minutes or until the loaf is very brown. The bread should pop out of the pot. Cool it on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

This will yield a loaf of approximately 3 lbs / 2 kg.

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