The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hunger Games inspired Peeta Bread

flour fingers's picture
flour fingers

Hunger Games inspired Peeta Bread

When I saw my teenage son, the one not too fond of reading, reading "the Hunger Games" books, I decided to give it a read as well. I remember the Harry Potter days, reading them to see what my daughter and her friends were all talking about. We ended up reading at least the first book together as a family.  (My daughter and I would read others together with her hiding them while she was in school so I wouldn't read ahead.)

So now there I was reading the Hunger Game series.

Not too bad. Especially since one of the main characters was a baker. Here is what I read that inspired me to try this loaf.

First, for those who missed the books and movie, the main character, Katniss, is thinking back to when she was about 12 years old and was starving, along with her little sister and mother. She had been walking in the rain, looking in trash bins, looking for scraps to take home. She was out behind the bakery, next to the pigs, wishing she would just die.

“There was a clatter in the bakery and I heard the woman screaming again and the sound of a blow, and I vaguely wondered what was going on. Feet sloshed toward me through the mud and I thought, Its her. She’s coming to drive me away with a stick. but it wasn’t her. It was the boy. In his arms, he carried two large loaves of bread that must have fallen into the fire because the crusts were scorched black.

His mother was yelling “Feed it to the pig, you stupid creature! Why not? No one decent will buy burned bread!”

He began to tear off chunks from the burned parts and toss them into the trough, and the front bakery bell rung and the mother disappeared to help a customer.

The boy never even glanced my way, but I was watching him. Because of the bread, because of the red weal that stood out on his cheekbone. What had she hit him with? My parents never his us. I couldn’t even imagine it. The boy took one look back to the bakery as if checking that the coast was clear, then, his attention back on the pig, he threw a loaf of bread in my direction. The second quickly followed, and he sloshed back to the bakery, closing the kitchen door tightly behind him.

I stared at the loaves in disbelief. They were fine, perfect really, except for the burned areas. Did he mean for me to have them? He must have. Because there they were at my feet. Before anyone could witness what had happened I shoved the loaves up under my shirt, wrapped the hunting jacket tightly about me, and walked swiftly away. The heat of the bread burned into my skin, but I clutched it tighter, clinging to life.

By the time I reached home  , the loaves had cooled somewhat, but the insides were still warm. When I dropped them on the table, Prim’s hands reached to tear off a chunk, but I made her sit, forced my mother to join us a  the table, and poured warm tea. I scraped off the black stuff and sliced the bread. We ate an entire loaf, slice by slice. It was good hearty bread, filled with raisins and nuts.”

As you can see from the description, it leaves plenty of room for interpretation. So, back a year or so ago, I made 2 free form loaves of what I called Peeta bread, for that was the name of the bakery boy. I made it hearty, whole grain with nuts and raisins. It turned out great and then I promptly lost my notes on what I did and forgot about it.

This week my older son was giving me the ol' sad eyes for homemade hearty bread. (yes, with the heat in the 90's so I-don't-think-so). But now it is a tad cooler so I popped the ingredients in my bread machine for mixing, then put it in a loaf pan, mainly because I got busy and forgot I was going to free form it. Big deal. It turned out just as yummy as before and with no white flour.

Here is a picture from my first batch, back when. I posted it on my blog, but didn't include the recipe. To be true to form, I should have burnt it.Hunger Games inspired bread

Here is what I used:

1 1/4 cups water

2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 Tbsp. leftover mashed potatoes

1 Tbsp. molasses

2 Tbsp. honey

1/4 cup rye flour

3 cups (more or less) white whole wheat flour

1 tsp. salt

2 1/2 tsp. yeast

when the bread machine beeped at me, I added:

some sunflower seeds, some chopped pecans, cranberries and raisins.

I think the starch in the potatoes helped the yeast do its yeasty thing. It grew beautifully, not too fluffy, not too dense. I started it while I was making dinner and it was out of the oven by bedtime. I toyed with the idea of pre-ferments, bigga and so forth, but my boys really just wanted some bread and would not appreciate the nuances of delayed bread, only the fact that they had to wait another day to eat it.


Floydm's picture

Very nice.

dabrownman's picture

a fine bread. Well done!

carefreebaker's picture

Would you share the oven temp and time you baked the loaves made in the pans? Thank you

flour fingers's picture
flour fingers
flour fingers's picture
flour fingers

oh sure. I baked it in a 375 oven until it registered 190 degrees with my instant read thermometer. I am afraid I rely on that completely and am a little vague on time. It is a heavier bread and I am pretty sure it was in there for about 40 minutes. In fact at first I couldnt find my thermometer and I panicked because I hadn't noted what time I put it in and I am no better at the thump method with bread than I am with picking out watermelons.Start keeping an eye on it after 30 minutes.

Oh, and I forgot to put an egg wash on it, but that is what I usually do. An egg mixed with a bit of milk, then brushed on to make it shiny. Since I forgot, I brushed butter over it when it came warm from the oven.


Conjuay's picture

Yes, I think we can all relate to "the boy with the bread", but now you have to design the various breads from the different districts- including the seaweed flavored one from district four. ... and then cheese rolls -Katness's favorite!

(I do wonder why they keep talking about stew with "Dried plums" - they're called PRUNES in MY district! )

I will be trying your recipe- it's now on the "To Do" list.


flour fingers's picture
flour fingers

Ha! One from each district would be fun, for a group event where each person brings one. Hmm, interesting thought though.

Conjuay's picture

I have a lot of seaweed around the house, so I'll try my hand at a "District Four" recipe.  I'll go back and re-read the description of a few of the breads - Eleven should be fun, lots of seeds - definitely a multigrain-  with perhaps honey and saffron.

Lets see if anyone else wants to try their hand!

dabrownman's picture

kelp - it's not al seaweed you know:-)