For The Love of Bread

Saturday, 10 March 2018
When it comes to food, my favourites are often the simplest. 

That's not to say that I don't enjoy exotic spices and rich textures. 

But there's something special about the sweet tang of freshly picked raspberries, the crunch of freshly fried chips and the smooth flavour of good vanilla ice cream. 

And bread, don't get me started on bread. In fact do, because this is a blog post about bread. A love story to bread. An ode to bread. Bread.

There's just something so magical about good bread.

Freshly baked bread, warm from the oven, laden with salted Lurpak. Butter slightly melting into the bread with cool unmelted patches.

The crisp, outer edge of a grilled cheese sandwich. The crunch of the bread with oozing cheese so hot that it almost burns your mouth but crucially cold enough that it doesn't. Eaten with pleasure and speed at peak hunger. Buttery fingers cleaned later and crumbs brushed from the corners of the mouth. 

The humble slice of toast. 7am on a Monday morning. It's raining outside. You've already burnt the first one. Checking this batch not once, not twice but three times until it's just right. That colour. That only you know. Topped with sweet bramble jam. Or maybe crunchy, salted peanut butter. Maybe it's not a Monday morning. Maybe it's a Saturday and you've cracked open a ripe avocado. Or scrambled eggs. 

Sweet Peshwari naan, stuffed with coconut and used to wipe up the rest of a damn good curry on a cold night. Rinsed down with some ice cold water or maybe some wine if you are so inclined. 

The oily residue left on your fingers from eating focaccia, topped with salty ham and sweet peach. Ate sat on the wall of a park in Rome, in the shade with your friends. A picnic made up of whatever looked good at the closest supermarket to the somewhat grimy apartment you had rented simply because it was cheap.

Duck pate spread on melba toasts that mum and gran make for new years dinner starters. White bread, the crusts slices off, toasted under the grill. Crusty on the outside but chewy on the inside. Unlike anything that you can buy in a box.  

French bread bought in a local bakery in the South of France bought with a combination of gestures and the odd merci beaucoup because you have that classically British arrogance that everyone else will be able to speak English. 

A tiger loaf that mum has left you in charge of slicing and buttering to be laid on the table at a barbeque. It makes it's way out to the table eventually. With a slice or two making its way to your mouth on the way. The sesame oil leaving that burst of flavour.

Garlic bread, Tesco's own, cooked in the dodgy oven of your student accommodation. Its aroma filling the kitchen, drawing flatmates from their rooms to tear off a slice. Eaten on its own as a midnight snack, maybe an after clubbing event to laden your alcohol filled stomach with carbs. Maybe it's a Monday night after your full day of classes and you're using the garlic bread to soak up what's left of the sauce in a bowl of pasta. 

And there's something wonderful about making your own bread. It's not like whipping up a batch of brownies. There's planning, there's kneading and proving and more kneading and more proving then shaping the loaf and more proving. Baking bread is a task. 

A labour of love. 

Something I had shied away from over the last few years, only really discovering my love of it recently. I can see myself getting more comfortable with it. Being able to notice the difference in the dough as it's worked and ages.

Leaving it to prove. Peeking back at it to search for a swelling, an expansion. That all-important rise.

Finally, hours later, placing it in the oven waiting for it to bake giddy and childlike. Watching it through the glass door of the oven.

Taking it out once the timer has gone off, tenderly picking it up to avoid burnt fingers and tapping the back. Listening for that all important 'hollow' sound indicating it's finished. Knowing you should wait until it's cool before you cut into it but ignoring it and doing it anyway. The steam rising out of the cuts, hands tender from the heat of the loaf.

For the love of bread.

When it comes to food, my favourites are often the simplest

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  1. I want to eat all the bread now.

  2. Oh that looks amazing! I’ve got the same kind of a relationship with a rye bread. Each time I’m travelling you’ll find some from my bag as it seems to be as Finnish thing as Finnish things can get. It’s absolutely delicious!

  3. Goodness me, literally sitting here daydreaming about all the bread now. Ok, back in the room now and off to make some toast!


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