Monday, January 14, 2013


I think I baked my first loaf of bread when I was about 9 or 10 years old. My parents had a friend who was a bread baker who was happy to bake a batch with me, and back then (early '70s) homemade bread meant dense, dark loaves with lots of grains and "stuff" that made the bread healthy and clearly homemade. Not one single thing wrong with that, and I do still love those kinds of breads.

I've gone in and out with bread making over the years -- varying degrees of time to devote to it, and varying degrees of interest around the house in eating it. I do make pizza dough every Friday, but that's a story for another day.

So it happens that Dean gave me The Bread Bible for Christmas, and I set aside time over this past weekend to try out the recipe for hearth bread.  It was the first time I went through the "sponge" process where you put the beginnings together one day and let it sit overnight before beginning to actually make the final dough. Wow. I turned out a loaf that's wonderfully rich and dense, yet not heavy (does that make sense?) -- Dean and Ken both declared it "restaurant bread-basket worthy." None of the steps was difficult, but it did require being around on "day 2" to manage the various rises and all. Totally worth the effort.

And now I get at least a few days worth of my favorite breakfast -- toast made with good bread. A nice reason to have winter, I think.


Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

"Restaurant bread-basket worthy?"
You have achieved the highest ranking possible!! Geoff took me out to dinner, and they brought the basket. The basket with The Bread. It doesn't always happen, but sometimes that bread is like a first meal after riding adrift in a leaky raft for four days and six nights... it's insanely, irrationally good! Dean was smart to give you this gift, and Dean and Ken are lucky you are diving in. Wish we were there!

Jennifer said...

I have many visions, Natalie, of shared meals, of cooking and eating together while we laugh and toast (both kinds!).

Julie said...

May I ask which recipe this was from The Bread Bible? It looks lovely.

Julie said...

Oh, I see now that it's called Hearth Bread. My error. :)

Jennifer said...

Hi Julie! I highly recommend making this -- instructions are long, but each step is easy. I've made this about 6 or 7 times now, and it comes out great each time! Enjoy~~