Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Bread Man Cometh

The bread pictured above just came out of our home oven after two years in the making. (Talk about long fermentation…)

It started innocently enough one day when Dave stumbled across a blog called The Fresh Loaf, a news and information website for "amateur bakers and artisan bread enthusiasts." And enthusiastic they are, to the point of obsessiveness, with a focus that edges right up to crazy. Interestingly, if not surprisingly, it's based right here in Portland, so perhaps that single-mindedness is understandable, considering how this town feels about other foodstuffs like bacon, waffles and fried chicken.

In any case, Dave made a few stabs at baking his own bread using recipes he garnered from various websites and books, even going so far as to start his own sourdough from the yeast left at the bottom of a bottle of Doggie Claws from Hair of the Dog. Results of these experiments were mixed, from lumpen to acceptable, but none had the crisp crust and bubbled interior of the artisan-style loaves he was dreaming of.

Then on Christmas a year ago some friends, aware of his growing interest (read: budding obsession), gave us a book called Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson. Robertson's use of a wet dough fermented over many hours along with his method of baking each loaf in a cast iron Dutch oven became the catalyst Dave needed to start turning out the gorgeous loaves he'd imagined.

This is not to say he's completely satisfied—after all, what obsessive…er…I mean…"enthusiast" is—but he's happy with the results he's getting. And, needless to say, so are those of us who've been lucky enough to have a thick slice warm from the oven or sopped with soup or braises.


weekendfarmer said...

wow! Talk about a crust!! amazing.

Kathleen Bauer said...

It was quite an eye-popping surprise when it first came out of the oven, especially after working for so long to get it. So proud of Dave for hanging in there, not to mention happy for those of us who get to eat it!