Saturday, July 10, 2010

Baking Bread

Last fall, John mentioned that he'd like to try baking bread.

"From scratch?" I asked, befuddled, since John's cooking repertoire consists little more than Chili con Carne and Cottage Pie.

'Yes,' he nodded.

"Not in one of those big bread-making machines..," I wondered out loud, terrified at the thought of losing more counter space.

"No. I'd be the bread-maker. By hand..." he retorted.

So thinking there really couldn't be any downside, for Christmas I got him a book on bread-making, all the while figuring the book would be eagerly perused for a day or so, then placed on a shelf with my cookbooks, never to be considered again.

But within a few weeks, John had accumulated all the necessary tools, a bread stone, a bowl, BREAD FLOUR (I had no idea there was such a thing) and corn meal. We even had to hunt through the supermarket to figure out where they hide the yeast (not to mention how to activate it!)

This guy...was

But would it be any good?

My husband made this bread with his own two hands!

Well, above is a photo of his second loaf of bread. Impressive, right? And even more impressive is that it looks as good as it tastes. And sometimes, when the bread comes out in a funny shape (usually crescent, we're not really sure why yet), it takes even better than it looks.

Okay. But would it last?

Well, here it is July and we've been enjoying John's bread every weekend since the beginning of the year. From basic white bread (with a slight sourdough taste) to whole wheat, his bread has become one of our great weekend rituals when we're Upstate.

And by rituals, I mean that John wakes up at 4 a.m., puts on his bread-baking outfit....

No, no. It's not like that at all...

But he does get up earlier than me. So he bakes bread while I sleep in, waking up later to the smell of freshly baking bread (which is almost as good as the smell of bacon...almost). And later we have the bread as a late morning snack, use it for sandwiches for lunch and eat with dinner.

Yeah...I could get used to this!