Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Bread

Baking is weird.

First of all, it's mostly washing dishes, I'm discovering. What no one tells you is that Sewing is mostly ironing, Football is mostly getting up off the ground, and Baking is mostly washing dishes. That's ok. That's cool. I can handle that. I just wasn't expecting it, that's all.

What's really weird, though, is the anxiety about whether or not something is gonna turn out ok. With other crafts, I certainly have the same anxiety (see all my posts about being sure I'm on the verge of ruining something completely). But here's the difference: you're not going to feed a quilt to somebody. If you make a scarf that has a weird flaw in it, no one's going to actually throw up. Different game, different stakes with the baking.

Since I don't cook, I don't spend any time with this I-might-be-poisoning-people fear, and I imagine it passes. (I should say on the record that I really appreciate the fact that my Sidekick hasn't poisoned me yet, what with my not cooking and everything.) To be fair, I am exaggerating about how big a deal this particular fear is. I follow instructions closely, and I mostly figure it'll all work out. But still, the outer edge of failure here is poisoning. With other crafts, it's just humiliation.

That being said, I've made bread.


My first go at bread ever was using this recipe. As it turns out, there's a major craze associated with this bread and its no-knead method. I am quite late to this crazy party, but it doesn't make me any less enthusiastic about it. (I had a similar experience over Thanksgiving when I took a train from New York to Boston and was all, "Traveling by rail is absolutely delightful!" Super late to that party.)


These are pictures of my third try with this recipe. Forgive me for asking that you imagine the first two, since no blog meant no photos.

My very first try was marked by the bread being partially burned. When you think your Sidekick has put the rack on the very bottom of the oven explicitly for you, and he hasn't? You get a burned bread bottom. Don't think I wasn't real salty about this. In spite of this flaw, the bread did make for the most delicious grilled cheese sandwiches of all time. What really kicked it over was the Cougar Gold cheese, courtesy of my wasband. My Sidekick, my wasband, and I could not believe our good fortune eating those sandwiches. Highly recommended!

The second try at the bread was less eventful and totally delicious. And as you see here in try number three, I scrapped the oat bran and went with only flour on the outside. Fantastic in its own right.

What's not weird about this whole baking thing and me is that I've now bought the cookbook by the bread guy and a new dutch oven to make all kinds of this bread, and all I want to do is make more bread. In fact, a loaf of asiago cheese bread from that book is cooling on my counter right this moment. Photos to follow, provided everything goes according to plan. May no one be harmed in the eating of that bread. Amen.


Ben said...

Ah. And now we get to the good stuff.

That is one gorgeous loaf. On your third try? You are a natural!

Consider sesame seeds on top -- works great!

Xian Gal said...

Looks awesome! Sounds pretty simple, too, except I LIKE kneading. does that make me weird? Well, that might not, but how about this? Second to last time I made bread I broiled it. Talk about your crispy top crust...

Matthew F said...

Woe to you who have not tasted of this bread!