Preheat oven to 350
Place the following ingredients into an ovenproof container and bake for an hour. Remove from oven and cook at medium heat for twenty minutes. Place into sterelised jars, cool to room temperature. Refrigerate 
Six Bartlett pears, peeled and cubed
Three teaspoons fresh lemon juice
One fresh lemon, sliced
Three cups sugar
One teaspoon cinnamon
Half a teaspoon nutmeg
One cup crystalized ginger, cubed
Place all ingredients into an ovenproof

This was too small a batch--approximately three cups-- to process in the pressure cooker, but a large amount should be treated as any other preserves.

Water and yeast  the the sponge-- the flour, water and yeast  mix--that will  rise overnight.

The sponge ready  to be added to  bread ingredients.

Beating the dough.

 Bread dough rising.
 The final product, a crusty, dense bread as good as the best  from a European bakery.
Dutch oven Tuscan bread times three.


There is a rainstorm in progress and the air is chilly. That is ideal weather for slow food. Savory soups and stews come to mind and if one happens to have freshly baked, golden crusted  bread on hand, so much the better. I am one of these lucky people, having made an extra large batch of Tuscan bread  from  a recipe at the King Arthur Flour website. 
Although making the sponge for the bread and letting it rise overnight requires a bit of planning, the recipe itself is not labour intensive provided that one has a mixer with a dough hook. Mixing and kneading really are  the most laborious part of bread baking, in my opinion, and at the same time, they make for meditative and satisfying work.   That this particular dough dispenses with kneading is a plus. The final product is a stunningly beautiful, crusty, dense and delicious. While the original recipe also dispenses with salt, I have made, on occasion, added salt, sugar and oil to prolong its shelf life and found that  the extra ingredients did not affect its quality for the worse. Actually, it improved its taste.
I have a pot of bean and meat stew with Mexican spices and herbs--look for the recipe next week--and I plan to enjoy it with my latest batch of Tuscan bread and a simple green salad. I will finish my meal with a serving of coffee and coconut milk pudding--I will post that recipe soon. Then I can say, 
"Let the chill wind do its worst. I have dined well."