Wednesday, December 13, 2023

‘I will change your life with this bread’

Dobra Bielinski

     Dobra Bielinski brought her own bread to China.
     “They have white bread,” she said, dismissively, noting that her hearty, seed-laden bread kept her alive for a two-week trip.
     Bielinski is the owner of Delightful Pastries on Lawrence Avenue. Readers on Monday enjoyed our preliminaries before settling down to work on two breads, a potato and roasted onion sourdough loaf, and an oatmeal porridge bread.
     “You can see the chunks of potatoes,” she said, tamping dough into rectangular molds with her knuckles. “You can see the chunks of onions. This is a nice dough. I love it.”
     Like any fine chef, Bielinski’s all about sourcing ingredients.
     “A ton of onions I brought from Wisconsin,” she said. “Making wild onion soup I foraged for mushrooms.”
     Why are Wisconsin onions special?
     “I love them,” she said. “They caramelize really nicely. I don’t get the big ones, I get the medium sized ones. I love roasting potatoes and onions together, This bread will go well with pate, go well with New England clam chowder. It’s going to be faaaaabulous with that.”
     Lunchtime approached. We sat down and ate ... you might want to skip this part if you’re eating, say, a bologna sandwich on Wonder bread for lunch. The envy might kill you.
     A bowl of Bigos — hunter’s stew, a sauerkraut-based pottage with pork sausage, smoked bacon, dried plums and mushrooms. Her own horseradish sauce. A superlative apple cider that made me think of the cider at Alinea. Thick slices of warm rye bread.
     “I will change your life with this bread,” she said. “Let me get some butter. Some delicious fabulous Wisconsin butter.”
     She held the loaf.

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Potato and roasted onion sourdough loaves. 


  1. “Eat bread and salt and speak the truth.” - Russian Proverb
    Bread denotes appetite, sustenance, communion. And this bread looks divine.

    1. Funny, during our lunch we got to talking about Dante — somehow conversations I'm in bend in that direction, embarrassingly — and I wanted to mention the line in the Inferno about the pains of exile, "Weary the tread of another man's stairs, salty the taste of another man's bread" — how Florentines didn't salt their bread and don't, to this day. But the moment passed and I didn't say anything, a skill I struggle to master.

  2. I've always found making bread a delightful and rewarding task. One gets praise just for trying and the results are usually edible at the least and easily surpass store-bought breads in taste and texture, unless of course you're stupid enough to try making soda bread with baking powder or use bacon grease instead of whatever is called for in the recipe. And however crudely it turns out, plaudits rain down on one's head. The results aren't likely to rival those produced by Delightful Pastries or the artistry of Dobra Bielinski, but they'll certainly best Wonder Bread and if you're lucky someone will be pleased enough to help clean up the mess you've made in the kitchen.


  3. Sounds great overall and interesting but would have to pass on chunks of potatoes in bread. I do like crusty Italian bread.


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