Anyone who knows me could tell you I have a serious love/hate relationship with bread. Carbohydrates in general get a bad rap these days, with every variety of low-carb diet screaming at you from the headlines. I’ve tried and even succeeded at many of them, but when the cravings hit it is never candy or cake on my mind. Simple bread has always been the object of my obsession. Rustic homemade bread, fresh out of the oven, at most dipped in a little olive oil. There have been times on this long road to a healthy weight that I would have wrestled an alligator for a roll! I ease my guilt by reminding myself that this is no ordinary, white flour, high-fructose corn syrup laden, flabby white bread. THIS is bread of ancient simplicity. Flour, yeast, water, and salt. I take my time with it and enjoy the task. I occasionally dress it up in different ways, sometimes boule style-sometimes loaves, sometimes with herbs. I love the way the smell fills a house, and makes even our little condo feel lived in. No matter what I accomplish professionally, nothing gives me a feeling of accomplishment like feeding the family with homemade bread. In some way it makes me feel connected to history, to the women who went before me that mixed the same ingredients for the same purpose. In tents and castles, in huts and cabins, Home is where the bread is.
If you are new to bread making I highly recommend the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” by Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg. Their recipes are simple and versatile (and delicious), and will likely become your go-to recipe as it has mine. I’ve used the basic recipe for everything for bread bowls for soup to bagels to beignets. Happy baking!