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The pleasure of bread

 
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:23 pm    Post subject: The pleasure of bread Reply with quote

Today I'm having one of my favorite comfort foods for lunch. A sandwich of roast beef and butter on homemade country style bread. I don't know where I picked up the idea that roast beef wants butter but that's the way I've always had it since I was very little. Once, before I knew the concept of kosher, I almost got my date and I kicked out of a NYC deli where they have little patience for dopey goyim.

To make it perfect, I sprinkled it with fleur de sel. Only I think what really makes such a simple thing great is the bread. And my enjoyment of that probably has a lot to do with having a kitchen out of commission for so long and savoring the whole experience of touching and smelling dough.

I don't understand why more people don't bake their own. I can't think of anything else that invites all the senses to the party like bread does. From the kinetic experience of mixing and shaping the dough to the tactile delight of knowing the kneading is perfect because it feels like baby skin and from the smell as it bakes to the crackling sound of a perfect loaf beginning to cool. It's all lovely. And days later chewing on a sandwich can bring all the pleasures back!

The other thing about homemade bread that I'm especially appreciating today is that it goes stale. That means that all the ends and the last slice or two you didn't get to in time are ideal candidates to soak up a custard. And that means another simple, old-fashioned treat that doesn't get all the respect it still deserves — bread pudding. I've got one baking from Steve's raisin bread bits that I've been collecting for a couple weeks.

Can't wait for tonight! Hope there's something equally comforting and satisfying in your day. Wink
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Knifethrower



Joined: 29 Oct 2006
Posts: 218
Location: Heaven, actually.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Madame Rainey,

In another life, I learned how to bake bread from my best friend's husband. He milled his own spelt and wheat right before crafting a batch- I can still feel the warmth of the flour on my fingers fresh out of the grinding machine... It was sublime, I tell you.

I learned patience, I learned structure, I learned the love of crafting something so ancient and yet so modern- I loved it all.

I took to baking my Challah bread with honey and a touch of vanilla so I could sit in my living room chair and let the perfume of it all envelop me like an embrace from my ancestors. I made oatmeal breads and paired them with freshly ground almond butter and shaved apple slices to make the flavors all dance a ballet on my tongue (I have a rather big mouth, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!).

I can wax poetic all I want, but that little bugger created by some mass marketing agency got it right the first time when, out of the mouth of the Pillsbury Dough Boy emerged, " Nuthin says lovin' like somethin' from the oven.".

My bread proofing box is atrophying these days, but the love of bread has not faded.

Enjoy your new kitchen and all the great smells that come from it!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh how I've wished to get some great flour like that! You'd think with all the foodies in LA that there would be such a thing but I haven't found it yet.

Did you know that the expression "keeping your nose to the grindstone" comes from milling grain? If the miller wasn't on his toes the wheel could get too hot and burn the flour. So, before all the technology entered, it was his job to have an acute sense of smell and know when to let the wheel cool down.
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