We had fun today. It’s so good to bake with a friend! And as an added bonus the sun came out this afternoon, look how it transforms the bread!
We made Jeffrey Hamelman’s sourdough; the Vermont with the increased grain and we made Dan Lepard’s olive oil bread (a version of this here) only this time we followed the recipe from the Handmade Loaf exactly down to the last gram of malt and it was perfect. Maybe the best I’ve ever tasted, which I put down to my friend’s elegant stretch and fold technique and her gentle final dimpling. We chopped up some garden rosemary and threw that on the top together with some Cornish sea salt.
As none of it was ready by midday we had to defrost a loaf of bread for lunch and hunt out some soup too: but as this was a loaf of Cheese Bread made with fine Glastonbury Cheddar from Gloucester’s farmers’ market and the soup was our take on this great Christmas Lima bean and celery recipe we didn’t suffer too much.
Showing someone what you do in the privacy of your own kitchen there’s always that moment of self-doubt, well several quite often….Will the starter work, will it do what it should do, will the dough stick coming out of the banneton, will it rise, will the slashes open? And all the time, you’re answering questions, I’ve never known an activity for generating so many questions. It’s amazing that the bread gets made at all.
But this time it worked fine. Happiness all round. I don’t know any other cooking activity that makes me feel this good. I love the quirky lively Chi-full shapes of the bread. I would recommend bread baking to anyone for sheer happiness. Find a friend, insist on baking with them, share the bread love.