my roommate M and I argue a lot. we are fierce when it comes to defending what we think is better. especially when it comes to food. our latest one has been: staples. he loves loves rice and calls me a traitor because I prefer bread over rice.
he can’t ever, ever, top my reason, which is why bread will be my #1 favorite staple (out of rice/potatoes/pasta/etc).
bread has a CRUST.
that contrast between the chewy interior and crunchy outside… how can rice even compare!? End debate. No discussion needed.
this summer, i’ve slowed down in the kitchen. at my old apartment, i had a small kitchen, but now I have an even smaller kitchen that is about the size of my bathroom – seriously. Since I’m half house-sitting, the kitchen is already filled with other people’s stuff. it’s cramped, the things aren’t mine, so i just haven’t been motivated to do any full blown baking. therefore, I've been making things that require minimal tools and space. like bread.
I’m enamored with another treasure I dug up at half-price books. The Breads of France and How to Bake them in Your Own Kitchen by Bernard Clayton, Jr. Mr. Clayton traveled around France and visited various boulangers. Not only did he develop friendships, he also learned a lot about making bread. And he was oh so kind to write a book about his experiences!
I’m in love with this book because it’s more than simply recipes – the stories behind them are much more precious. I hope I can also sweet talk my way into many boulangeries when I am France in the Fall and also have great stories!
A huge plus for this book is the way Clayton writes his recipes. Step-by-step, one is never lost! Bread can be a pain (bonus points to those who get that) but it’s actually been quite simple thanks to his directions. And that brings me to my next thing: I’m a selfish person and I usually rewrite recipes because they often don’t make sense to me until I write it in my own words. However, Clayton does it so well that there really isn’t any point in me re-writing them. So no bread recipes, because I really can’t do it any better.
but my favorite thing about bread making is how the work is spread out over at least 2 days and fits my schedule perfectly. for example, i’ll make the starter at night and go to bed, then the next morning i’ll make the dough and let it rise, then i’ll go to classs, then i’ll come home and shape it and bake it!
and of course the bread baking is going to come to a halt mid-august. i’m not baking when I can buy it from a bakery in france! that’s extra work that isn’t worth it! why bake when the masters are your neighbors?