Friday, April 18, 2014

The Quest for Bread Perfection, Simple Happiness Achieved!

 Why is this man (my dear husband, aka Pater) smiling? Because finally, three years after beginning his bread-baking adventures, after untold loaves made of various combinations of flour, from numerous recipes, employing a plethora of techniques, adding several new books to our cookbook shelves, buying a more finely calibrated kitchen scale, a pizza stone, an Emile Henry dutch oven. . . . finally, yesterday, this smiling man pulled this beautifully shaped loaf of bread from the oven and declared it to have risen precisely as much as he had wished it to.
 See?
A thing of beauty, no?






















Can you imagine how that tasted, particularly the first slice, while still warm, of the heel, slathered as only a slim man can slather butter, some of my homemade blackberry jam topping the scale to perfection? Oh, he was a very happy man indeed.

Comments welcome. You might just wish to congratulate a happy baker, or you might want to tell of your own culinary examples. Have you ever achieved kitchen success after it teased and eluded you? If at first you didn't succeed, when did you Try, Try Again? . . . .

26 comments:

  1. Looks perfect!
    I'll bet it is delicious slathered with fresh butter and jam...
    I have made Chef John's no knead ciabatta bread many times...he is online at foodwishes.com
    Pater might find the you tube video amusing.
    Enjoy your weekend and the bread!

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    Replies
    1. Paul likes ciabatta very much -- I'll pass that link along.

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  2. Congratulations Pater! After five days of no "leavened bread" (it's Passover for us) that looks mighty, mighty mouthwatering.

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    Replies
    1. There's something about that leavening, isn't there?!

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  3. For many years I made all the bread my family ate. Then I stopped baking bread because of the time commitment. My neighbor was getting rid of some cookbooks and I took "My Bread" by the owner of the Sullivan Bakery. I have made a couple of loaves every week since. Very easy. No kneading. With an amazing crust and crumb. The raisin walnut is so amazing with goat cheese.

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  4. '... as only a slim man can slather butter ...' - wonderful! I'd say your photo of Pater and the loaf captures his feelings perfectly!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, and congrats to Pater, and Happy Easter to you both!

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    2. ;-) Happy Easter to you as well, Patricia!

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  5. Oh, the fragrance! I can just imagine it. Congrats to Pater. I so understand the phrase "as only a slim man can slather butter..." I have one of those men, too.

    Just reading a couple of blogs while eating my breakfast before heading out to the ferry. Happy Easter!

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    Replies
    1. They can be tough to live with, these guys with never-stop appetites whose waist measures the same as 40 years ago!
      Happy Easter to you as well, Lorrie!

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  6. The bread looks perfect. Happy Easter!

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  7. Absolutely beautiful. I'd bet it's delicious with some chocolate hazelnut butter on it too:).

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    1. Everything's delicious with Nutella! ;-)

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  8. Oh your photo of Pater and his bread captures everything, and yes I know the joy of finally baking the perfect loaf, even though I can no longer eat it. There is something truly glorious in finally achieving a long-sought-after goal.

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    1. I can scarcely eat bread anymore either, not because of any medical condition, but just with attention to a balance between calories eaten and expended. . . and I generally spend the bread calories on "seedy bread". . . but yes, there's just something gorgeously elemental and satisfying about it (and in achieving goals, period.).

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  9. Both the loaf and the Pater look fabulous. Congrats to the baker! And homemade blackberry jam... takes me back to my childhood summers in northern Wisconsin. Mmmm.

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    1. Thanks, says the baker. . . and doesn't blackberry jam say summer in the very best way?! ;-)

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  10. Oh, that is BEAUTIFUL! Congrats and enjoy.

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  11. Love this photo; he's so pleased, holding his fragrant, perfectly-executed loaf! Really, is there anything more simply and wholly satisfying than a slice (OK, or two) of fresh homemade bread?

    My mother's point of pride was to practically never serve "store-bought" bread and to this day I remember the taste,

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    1. The simple pleasures, right?!
      When Paul's mom told his dad she wanted to go back to work (teaching), once her four were in school, he moved gradually from "Over my dead body" to a grudging, "Okay, but I don't ever want to eat store-brought bread." So as your mother did, my Mother-in-law prided herself on fitting a weekly baking session into everything else she did. Pater's pretty pleased to have picked up the torch. . .

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  12. The bread looks delicious and absolutely perfect! Congratulations!
    There is nothing like homemade bread for breakfast on a sunday morning. I sometimes make a braided yeast bun after a very simple recipe. I don't even need my kitchen scales for it.
    Unfortunately I can't bake anything at the moment. My landlord, in his attempts to drive me from my home, has cut off the gas, so my stove/oven isn't working (neither is the heating nor the hot water). So there is a tiny bit of envy mixed in with the admiration.
    Bit still, enjoy your bread and happy Easter!

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    1. That's horrific that you're being so meanly forced out of your home. I hope the situation resolves itself soon. Meanwhile, may you find a Happy Easter despite your landlord, and may there be good bread!

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  13. There is nothing as wonderful as husband who bakes bread. My husband has been The
    Bread Maker for 6 years. We have a small grinder and he started his own sour dough starter. I am very...very impressed. I help clean up...that's it...never duplicate skills.

    He just said that he would be glad to share some Sour Dough Starter with the baker in
    the family.

    Salt Spring in not too far away.....

    A

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    1. That's a very generous offer, A., and Salt Spring is a lovely spot to visit, not so far away. But what does your husband do with his starter when/if you go away for a protracted period? I'm not sure we would ever be able to keep it alive for very long . . .

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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