Introduction to bread making

This past weekend I made Amish Friendship Bread. It tasted fine. It has a nice texture and an earthy sweetness that reminds me a little of my Baba’s bread.

This was my first time baking with yeast. To be honest, doing so used to intimidate me greatly. This may seem silly to some, especially because many people all over the world bake their own bread. I am hoping that maybe others share my trepidation, only so that what I write about below might inspire them as well!

Now that I know what the active yeast will look like and smell like – much like beer, actually – I am really excited to try baking a loaf of savoury bread.

I wanted a very, very simple bread recipe and I knew I could count on one man in particular. If you are not already familiar with Mark Bittman allow me to introduce you to my most current food-hero crush. Mark Bittman is a food writer and journalist with a wicked TED talk about the dangers and inadequacies of our Western diet. Mark Bittman explains, “I try to write simple, straightforward recipes that encourage people to cook rather than wow or intimidate them.” I decided to put his assurances to the test.

I was incredibly pleased to find exactly what I was looking for. I challenge anyone to find a simpler bread recipe than this one. To be fair, this is not Mark Bittman’s recipe. He is promoting Jim Lahey’s (of Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan) very simple no-knead bread. Mr. Lahey has a super hip philosophy. Not only should his bread be simple enough that a 4-year-old could bake it, the recipe should be shared with as many people as possible.

I am not at all intimidated to try this recipe. In fact, I am really excited. The first step will be finding the appropriate vessel (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic pot with a lid). I am hoping to give it a whirl this weekend. Stay tuned!

 

If you would like to read Mark Bittman’s New York Times article on Jim Lahey’s bread you can do so here. The same link contains a video of Mr. Lahey demonstrating the process. You can also find the video here.

For more on bread – I am on a serious bread philosophy kick – here is a great TED talk by Peter Reinhart (breadmaker, teacher, author and theologian).

 

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