A jug of wine, a loaf of bread…

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“A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and Thou / Beside me singing in the wilderness.”

There are many things from my college English classes that I’ve forgotten, but for some reason, this quote always sticks in my mind.  Now to be fair, I never can remember where it comes from.  But, hey! that’s what Google is for.  (In case you’re interested, it’s from The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, translated by Edward FitzGerald.)

The reason that it stays with me is pretty evident.  I love bread.  I mean, I LOVE bread.  As in, I would rather have a good slice of bread than chocolate or ice cream.

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So when I got a book for Christmas called Flour Water Salt Yeast (thanks, Aunt Care and Uncle Kim!), I was super excited to try making bread with simple, basic, quality ingredients.  Part of the reason that I’ve become obsessed with baking my own bread is that I’m able to control what goes into it. (The other part is that it just tastes better than mass-produced, store-bought bread.)

I cannot say enough good things about this book.  The author, Ken Forkish, treats bread baking like a cross between a religion and a science project.  The passion he has for good ingredients and developing flavors in the bread is awesome.  He talks about knowing where our food comes from, and taking the time to make our food the best it can be.

I’ve tried a couple of his recipes since getting the book, and it is some of the best bread I have ever eaten.  Certainly, it’s the best bread I’ve ever cooked!  Now, the recipes look complex at first, but really it’s not.  However, it does take time and attention.  Friday night I started the Overnight White Bread (you mix the dough and let it proof overnight, than the next morning, shape the loaves, proof them again and bake – in a dutch oven!).

The bread comes out of the oven in beautiful round loaves, full of nooks and crannies with a dark, crisp crust.  Fabulous!

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This time Elwood was hanging out in the kitchen with me.

4 Qt Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven.  Perfect for baking bread - who knew?

4 Qt Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Perfect for baking bread – who knew?

A trick from the book - mix and proof the dough in a 12 Qt container.  Really cuts down on the messy countertops!

A trick from the book – mix and proof the dough in a 12 Qt container. Really cuts down on the messy countertops!

After the dough proofs the first time, you seperate it into two loaves and shape them.  These baskets are the perfect size to create loaves for the dutch oven, and look pretty.

After the dough proofs the first time, you seperate it into two loaves and shape them. These baskets are the perfect size to create loaves for the dutch oven, and look pretty.

Before baking...

Before baking…

After baking!

After baking! (My “jug of wine” is in the background.)

Dinner tonight - I toasted the bread and topped it with brie and proschiutto, with tomatoes on the side.  Yummy!!!

Dinner tonight – I toasted the bread and topped it with brie and prosciutto, with tomatoes on the side. Yummy!!!

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8 thoughts on “A jug of wine, a loaf of bread…

  1. Jessica Jones

    You are such a good writer, Lis. You have to write a book. You just have to! And I love the pretty swirls those baskets make on the loaf tops– I never knew how that was done ! So cool !

    Reply
    1. Melissa Post author

      You’re a pretty awesome writer yourself, so thank you! I got some good whole wheat flour at the farmer’s market this weekend – I’ll have to try a whole wheat recipe next.

      Reply
  2. andrewsbeth

    Melissa, just wonderful! I can say that, because I got to eat a warm slice right out of the oven. If you ever wanted to open a bread shop or bakery, you could do it!!!

    Reply
    1. Melissa Post author

      Thank you! I was surprised that it was still just as good days later. Most supermarket bread goes stale so quickly – this held up really well.

      Reply

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