I have posted about the 5 Minute-a-Day artisan bread before. You can check out the cookbook about this bread here. Despite having written about baking bread before, I feel compelled to write about it again. OK, I just want to wax poetic about it. One of my high school friends has a blog in which she writes about her cooking experiences. She writes with such passion that some might find it overwhelming. Yet I had an experience like hers today with the most recent batch of bread.
After a hodge-podge of lunch with Ellie, I decided to have a piece of the bread I made for the soup we had for dinner last night. For the curious, the soup from last night was butternut squash. And for the really curious, the hodge-podge lunch for me was leftover pea soup and a chicken drumstick. Ellie had food nearly non-stop from about 10:30 through noontime - fruit leather, grape tomatoes, granola bar, breaded cod fillet (from TJ's), broccoli, 1-2 slices of apple, and I'm probably forgetting something before the bread.
I made this batch of bread with all-purpose flour, rosemary and thyme for herbs. The shape ended up less than ideal, but the texture and taste has been phenomenal. I sliced some of the roundish loaf for me and Ellie, buttered our pieces, and decided to sit with Ellie to keep her company. Little did I realize that I would *need* to sit down while eating the bread.
First I found myself amused at Ellie's attempts to eat the inside separate from the crust. Then I noticed that she actually was enjoying the crust. Next she told Tigger the Wonder Beast that he could not have her bread. Ha ha - Tiggers don't like bread. Or do they? He started begging from me too, so I gave him a crumb which he promptly devoured. I remembered reading somewhere about how you can tell real food from not-so-real-food by whether another animal desires and will eat the food item in question. So on to my bread experience now that the human and feline beasties were content.
I took a bite and just felt complete comfort and peace. The crusty exterior opened to a soft yet wonderfully chewy inside. The air pockets allowed space for the flavor to spread. The flour and cornmeal dusting added interesting texture and perhaps depth is the word I'm looking for. With each bite, I enjoyed the aroma of the rosemary and thyme, feeling as though I was in some idyllic outdoor setting like a quiet thick forest with a gentle breeze and old trees. I actually found myself closing my eyes and just smiling as though I knew some deep significant secret.
I know anyone reading this will think that I've gone off the deep end. I feel as sane as I've ever felt. I merely had one of my most amazing food experiences ever with something as simple as a piece of home-baked bread.
You simply must try to make your own. You owe it to yourself.