Monday, December 13, 2010

Let Me Eat Bread 

I've been making my own bread for about 3 years. It's pretty much the most basic recipe.

3 cups flour
½ tsp yeast
1-½ tsp salt
1-½ cups of water

After mixing it all up, simply cover the dough and let sit over night. Do not knead.

Preheat the oven then bake in a covered dish for 30 minutes at 510°F.

Almost fool proof. I mix it up sometimes with half white flour, half whole grain (more whole grain than that and the thing never rises), or I'll add flax seeds, sesame seeds or something. One time I added olives and sun-dried tomatoes. Come to think of it, I should try that one again. Inevitably, the bread turns out great.

Yet it is not fluffy, crusty French bread for which there seems to be no shortcut. I tried the shortcuts. They do not work. I tried one this weekend. 20 minutes of kneading and eight hours of rising yielding the same bland results as eight hours of rising and 20 minutes of kneading. Okay, I know when I put it like that it makes no sense whatsoever, but believe me when I say that there was actually a difference there.

I just keep thinking it can't be that hard but the idea that it probably is keeps me from trying — especially when I have a recipe that works great? I mean, really why would I kill myself trying to make fantastic bread when I make pretty damn good bread. I will tell you the best bread is fresh bread. It's not like I'm obsessed with bread and am willing to travel to France to uncover the secrets of French bread.

I leave that kind of obsession to Chad Robertson, co-owner of Tartine Bakery with his wife Elisabeth Prueitt. Watch this "book trailer" for the cook book, Tartine Bread.

Tartine Bread from 4SP Films on Vimeo.

When did this sort of mini-featurette become a "book trailer"? Was the word "advertisement" taken? Whatever. I think it's a good idea. I've always thought stage plays should have "trailers". Live concerts get ads. Sport events get ads. Even monster truck rallies get ads. Why not stage plays and books?

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