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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Better Bread

Last week I made a loaf of bread and it just came out awful. It didn't rise like this. There was no dome of wrap over it. It rose a bit and then it collapsed and never did rise after that. After the 18 hours of rising, it never recovered it's lightness. I thought if I baked it off, it might still rise up and be good. It certainly looked good when it came out of the oven. But D~ ended up coming to get it and told me that it was heavy, pasty and salty. Just bad. I have no idea what happened to it. All I know is, what you see here is fantastic dough. This is it after a two hour rise. It fills about half the bowl. Just what it should be doing. You can see the air pockets. The dome is high and tight. It is exciting just looking at it.

It is now over six hours into the rise, twelve more hours to go. The dough is now one inch from the top of the bowl. It probably won't get any higher. The dome is as high as it will get. See the air pockets? Perfect. Everything is perfect. I put the bowl on a towel to add to the warmth, better than on a cold counter. This will be good bread. D~ is coming this Sunday and I am sure she will have great bread.

Bread is very important to me. I used to bake bread several times a week. It is what I used to give to people as a comfort to those with hectic, turmoiled lives. Holding a loaf of homemade bread in your hands is a really healing thing. How often I used to get calls from my customers when they got home saying "You know, I couldn't resist. I started breaking off pieces as soon as I got into the car. Thank you so much!" No one ever said - that was awlful - the worst thing you could ever have given me! There is something about fresh bread, real bread, that wraps the soul in a comfort not even a blanket can achieve. I used to be a bread baker. Maybe I will become one again. After all, it is soothing to my very being as well, bringing the dough together, watching the rise, handling the dough, the smell as it cooks, and when it emerges from the bake, it speaks. It speaks for quite some time in crackles as it cools. I think more people should bake bread. The experience is wonderful


  1. I'm loving that bowl - where can one find it? I like that you can watch what is going on w/o lifting the towel (my method) and letting the warmth escape. Our house is never warm enough for the bread to rise, but YOUR bread defies description - it's that damn good!

  2. Actually, Jody, my house is pretty cold too and that is why I put the bowl on a towel. The bowl is actually just a plain Pyrex bowl. It's true, being able to see the rise is great. I love glass.