On bread

Bread is the stuff out of which life is made, and although one may not live by bread alone, bread is a good start. I start most of my days with a piece or two of toast–just butter. Bread comes in so many sizes, shapes, textures, and flavors that just saying “bread” is not really enough. I like crusty bread, brown bread, black bread, yellow bread. Maybe my bread has raisins in it, or cinammon, or cardomin. Crusty, full-bodied, chewy bread is better than spongy, airy bread unless of course, you like that sort of thing–spongy, airy, I mean. I like to make my own because then I know what’s in it. I will often toast my bread to bring up the flavors of wheat and yeast. I keep my ingredients simple: yeast, whole wheat flower, water, olive oil, and a little sugar to feed the yeast. The work that it takes to kneed the bread is a labor of love. The whole house ends up smelling like fresh bread dough, all yeasty and musty. Then the magic happens–it quadruples in size. Punch it down. Into the pans and into the oven it goes, filling the entire house with the divine smell of baking bread. When you make it with your own two hand with your own recipe, you have such a sense of accomplishment, and although wo-man does not live by bread alone, making and eating your own bread comes awful close.