I’ve started to make bread. In the last 6 months I’ve made several types by various methods. It’s the smell…if there is such a thing. The smell of baking bread!
It began with the no-knead bread recipe in Cooks Illustrated. It seemed easy enough, and I lucked out with my first loaf—a beautiful crusty golden crown with just enough tear and crunch to satisfy the soul. I’m sure I’m over-imagining it, but let me have my dreams. Then came variations: whole wheat, bread flour, rosemary and parmesan, dense yellow sandwich bread, mahogany crusted wheels of rustic country bread.
Through it all I’ve thrown around words like banneton, lamented my lack of a real lamé and generally sounded like an insufferable prig. Why else start up a new hobby except to become an instant self-proclaimed expert? I bought a peel, some rye flour, cornmeal, baking stones.
Each weekend I get to see creamy dough magically rise up, I cut slits in the top, give it a jerk onto the baking stone, and wait for the magic. I’ve learned that bread fresh from the oven will make little crackling noises as it cools, and that up close the smell is greater than the sum of flour, salt, yeast, and water?
Now I’m at the point where I’m just dangerous enough to get into trouble. Should I casually chat about flour protein levels with the Sicilian pizza guy at the joint up the street? Sure! What about mixing the no-knead and standard recipes and including beer and vinegar in my regular dough? What could go wrong?!
Oh, and apparently the circus is in town. I saw the side of a semi-trailer painted with a terrifying clown face with what looked like claw marks across its face. I don’t think Amalia is ready for it. In fact, I don’t think I’m ready for it. I don’t want to know what made the claw marks and why that clown looks so damned happy about it.