Sunday was bread baking day. My good friend, Joe, who has been baking bread for nearly 20 years, came over to give me a bread baking lesson. He made a lot of appropriate noises about wanting to help me learn the right way to bake bread when I know the truth is that he wanted to try out my new stand mixer. Whether his true motivation was teaching or road-testing my new KitchenAid, I was just happy to have the smell of fresh bread in my house and the good company of Chef Joe and Sous Chef Sam (quite a pair in the kitchen).
This was absolutely the easiest recipe ever invented for baking bread:
Step 1: Make sure you have flour, water, salt, butter and yeast.
Step 2: Point Chef Joe toward the stand mixer.
Step 3: Send in Sous Chef Sam to help.
Step 4: Pour glass of wine and wait for bread to be done.
Although I didn't really do much other than observe, it was fascinating to watch someone who really knows what they're doing when it comes to baking bread.
I've made yeast dough twice, ever. Both times my eyes were glued to the recipe. But the end result of both attempts did not compare to the transformation of ingredients that Joe accomplished. As Joe said, "that's because it comes from the heart... that and 20 years of experience baking bread."
Watching Joe wing it when it came to adding the proper amounts of flour and water was pretty awesome -- especially when the dough was formed. It looked like nothing that had ever been in my kitchen before. I'm sure of it. (Wait! Maybe one other time: the first time Joe came to my house wearing his chef's hat and toque and made bread for me when I was going through chemo. A nice memory.)
The result was two wonderful loaves of hot, steamy, home made bread. I should have taken a photo of the loaves after they came out of the oven. And I should have taken a photo of the butter, buckwheat honey and blueberry jam that we slathered on top. But truthfully, we were too busy eating it at that point to worry about photos. And in case you're wondering: it was delicious!