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Earth Day's Golden Anniversary, Hippie Food, and a Garlic, Rosemary, and Green Olive Boule #CooktheBooks

This time around, Deb of Kahakai Kitchen is the host for our bi-monthly book group Cook the Books. For our April-May 2020 pick, she selected Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat by Jonathan Kauffman*; you can read her invitation here.

And you still have a month to jump in if you care to join us. I just decided to time my post to say 'Happy 50th Birthday, Earth Day!'

On the Page
Kauffman's book explains how Americans evolved from a country where canned foods, casseroles, and processed meats were de rigueur to a place where you can buy organic produce and tofu inside almost every grocery store. He also follows the advent of the food cooperative that began in the mid-nineteenth century and blossomed into buying clubs who urged its members to "eat to conspire."

"...the concept of collective buying, directly from suppliers, appealed to a generation that had been organizing antiwar protests, direct actions, consciousness-raising groups, and communes since its teenage years" (pp. 244-245).

Kauffman's anecdotes paint portraits of a time and place such as the first Earth Day - fifty years ago today (yes, I timed that on purpose!) - that raised everyone's awareness about food, waste, energy, and more. This book is about the mainstreaming of natural foods.

One of the membership pamphlets at the Woody Hills co-op read: "'Membership may mean a change in your diet.... We do not stock such items as meat, party crackers, or TV dinners. We do have fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, herbs and spices, cheese of all kinds, eggs, fruit juices and fruit butters, nuts and nut butters, unrefined oils, nutritional yeast, flours, breads, granola, and honey'" (pg. 249).

On one hand, I loved this book as food history. On the other hand, it's not about hippie food; it's just food you should eat once you learn about the merits of a less-processed diet. Then, again, the boys' friends do call me a 'hippie food witch.' So, maybe it is hippie food and I'm just a hippie.

Garlic, Rosemary, and Green Olive Boule

In the chapter titled "Brown Bread and the Pursuit of Wholesomeness," Kauffman writes, "Nature had made the flavor of the wheat berry perfect, too, and we had let ourselves become swindled by marketers and manufacturers into believing that nature was wrong.... Ita Jones described.... 'It was dark bread, like the earth and birds' shadows,' she wrote. 'Thick, brown crusted, with a taste I remembered for days.' ...The way to stop poisoning your body with plastic bread, they all argued, was to bake it yourself" (pp. 119-120).

I have always been intimidated by making my own bread. I mean, I've made plenty of bread with commercial yeast; I've just been dragging my heels on learning how to make sourdough bread with a starter that I have to nurture on a regular basis. And there was something about harvesting wild bacteria from the air just made me twitch with anxiety.

But a friend gifted me some of her sourdough starter. And with time on my hands as we all shelter in place to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus, I was inspired to give sourdough bread baking a try. After more than a half dozen sourdough bricks, I finally moved to weight measurements versus volume. Plus I started using the Tartine Bakery method of folding versus kneading. Those two adjustments made a world of difference and I finally started to enjoy the bread I was baking.

This boule with fresh garlic, fresh rosemary and pitted green olives was my twelfth loaf and - by far - my favorite! So, I'm sharing it today to go with Hippie Food.

makes one boule
  • 100 g starter (recently fed)
  • 350 g warm water + 25 g more +  more for spritzing
  • 450 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 g whole wheat flour
  • 10 g salt
  • 1/2 C pitted green olives, halved
  • 1 T fresh rosemary sprigs, destemmed
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • rice flour for dusting
  • Also needed: digital kitchen scale, banneton proofing basket or mixing bowl lined with a tea towel, Dutch oven, spray bottle
  • For serving: olive oil, balsamic vinegar


In a large mixing bowl, combine 100 g starter with 350 grams of warm water. 

Add in 450 g all-purpose flour, 50 g whole wheat flour, and 10 g salt. Use your hands to mix everything together until everything is completely moistened. It will be a very shaggy dough. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, pour in another 25 g warm water. Use your hands to incorporate that into the dough which will already look more smooth. Dip your hands in warm water, then place one hand under one side of the ball and stretch the dough up and over the top. 

Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat that stretch. Do it a second and third time so that the bowl is facing the same way it was when you started and you have done four fold-overs total. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Before your second folds, add in the olives, garlic, and rosemary so that they will be incorporated throughout the dough. I sprinkled the olives on top, then did one fold. Sprinkled the garlic on top, then did a second. Rosemary was added for the third fold...with a fourth fold with no add-ins.

Repeat this process of four rotating folds plus a half hour rest for four hours. After four hours, the dough will be smooth and billowy.

Lightly dust your work surface with rice flour and turn the dough from the bowl. Dust the top of the ball and do the four rotating folds of the dough to form a ball. Gently fold the edges of the dough under itself to make the ball more tight, with a seam underneath. Then let it rest for 30 minutes.

Line your banneton or a mixing bowl with a tea towel and dust that towel lightly with rice flour. 

Transfer the round, seam-side up, into the prepared basket. Cover with another towel and let the dough rise on the counter. Here's where I have started to play with variations, but this one - lucky number eight - rose for six hours at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. 

While the oven preheats, dust the bottom of your Dutch oven with rice flour. Invert your loaf carefully into the Dutch oven.

You can slice vents into the top of your loaf. Some people have intricate designs. Mine are more function, less form. Ha. Just before placing your bread into the oven, spritz the top of the loaf with water. I bought a glass spray bottle, set it on mist, and just give it a squirt or two.

Reduce temperature to 450 degrees F and place your Dutch oven, covered, into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove lid and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Then prop the door open, turn off the heat, and let the pot stay in the other for another 20 minutes. The crust should be a rich, nice brown color. If you don't want the crust as thick and dark, you can remove it after the first 40 need to leave it in the oven.

Once cooled, serve rustic slices with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

Click to see what everyone else read in April 2020: here.


  1. Love the flavors you chose for this loaf. You are becoming a bread maker extraordinaire.

    1. Ha! Thanks. Not quite in the class of Karen, but I'm working on it.

  2. Your bread is beautiful and I love the garlic, rosemary and green olive combination. It reminds me of a bread I get from my local farmers market because I am too lazy and intimidated to bake my own. ;-) Thanks for joining in!

  3. what a beautiful loaf!

    I read "Hippie Food" a couple of years ago -- blogged it here:

    be well... mae

  4. With sourdough we don't need to worry about the yeast supplies at least. I do tend to stay in my bread rut though, and am inspired by your additions of garlic, rosemary and olives. Sounds so good. I thought the book went overboard on the vegetarian side of hippie food. Meat can be local, unprocessed and humanely raised.

  5. I will be harvesting fresh garlic soon and always have rosemary. Now, if I just had an olive tree..... I usually add a bit of yeast to my sour dough bread but I want to try your method here. I obviously have the time now.... :)

  6. I once carried sourdough starter all the way back from an Inn in Alaska to my mid-atlantic home (you could do that then). It sure requires a lot of care and feeding, and finally it gave up the ghost on me. Love the shape of boules, and so very French.

  7. Glad you persevere in your sourdough journey and glad to see the beautiful result. I love rosemary added to bread: good choice! I hope you'll continue baking beautiful boule even after the SIP is over :)


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