I am a pretty good cook. It's true. But in my fearless-woman fantasies I am exacting in my talents. I can bake beautiful savory tarts and pastry confections. I complete my dishes with tomato skins that look like roses, edible flowers and powdered sugar graphics.
I am thankful for my fearless-woman fantasy. Not because I will ever be fearless. But because I get to walk in her shadow. I am learning to draw boundaries when pushy people push to far. I am terrified of heights but will step a little higher on a hike if I am holding my husband's hand. And today I will bake bread.
The owner of this building said her mother used to bake bread in this kitchen. All three generations of her family lived here together. Her father would call his grandchildren into the kitchen with a tone of conspiracy when the dough was left to rise. He taught them to punch the dough when grandma wasn't looking and they would watch it rise higher. The children giggled because they thought they were being mischievous. The grandfather laughed because he knew they weren't.
I can't give you a unique artisan bread recipe. Nor can I give you my expertise on bread baking. I can share with you my first time baking bread (successfully) and the recipe I used. A loaf of round, white bread. The kind of bread with a hearty crust to mop up the last drop of stew in your bowl. The stuff of really good sandwiches. The kind of bread I never knew would come out of my own oven.
If you are a follower of the New York Times, Dining and Wine section you may have already tried this recipe. In fact, I hope you have. Mark Bittman released it in 2006 and you should click here to get it:
No Knead Bread