Friday, June 26, 2009


I'm not much of a baker. I'm trying, and I'm definitely improving, but I find it much more difficult than I do cooking, probably because baking rewards precision. I have one or two things I can consistently bake well, though, and one of them - bread - has become a staple of our diet.

The folks who wrote Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day are pretty much my heroes. I make the basic recipe from the book (also featured in this New York Times story) almost weekly. I can't bring myself to eat that much white flour, so our "house loaf" usually is about 1/2 white whole wheat flour. I mostly just make a boule, but I sometimes use the dough to make dinner rolls and even cinnamon buns. It really is just that easy - there's usually a bowl with some dough in it aging in our fridge, and from that point, there's just a short rest (40 min or so) and the cooking time (30 min) to an easy accompaniment to our meal.

And I have to admit - pretty often, the bread is the meal. For breakfast, there's little more lovely than a fresh loaf of bread, some jam and butter, and a hot cup of coffee. And for dinner, I'll sometimes throw a clove of garlic or two (with some olive oil, wrapped in foil) in when I put the bread in - roasted garlic, a little chutney, maybe some cheese: these things together really can make the bread a meal, too.

Plus, it makes the house smell wonderful.

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