Baking Bread in August

My actual loaf.

 

What, are we crazy? Indeed we are, and I’m not using the royal “we.” Kirk has been making whole wheat bread– dark, thick, heavy loaves, looking like something that formed themselves deep in the middle of the Black Forest; when I smell it rising, I always picture a gang of raucous schuhplattlers sitting around the kitchen table, demanding beer and sausage. 

I see what passes for bread in the stores these days, and there is really no excuse for not baking your own at home. Well, there might be good excuses, possibly even very good ones, but to voice them would be un-American and Communistic, not to mention Socialist. You can get good breads at some grocery store bakeries, but still… there’s nothing to equal the satisfaction of watching your loaf rise atop the kitchen stove in the middle of a quiet summer afternoon. 

I like to make the giant Olive Oil Bread that Martha Stewart features in her Baking Handbook. It’s actually fun to make. It takes you through THREE rises, and at one point before the third you have to twist the somewhat sticky pile of dough into a tight ball.  Then you slice a square into the top surface so that it expands while baking. You slide it off a wooden peel onto a baking stone that’s heating up in the oven, and soon you have this immense, crusty loaf of fluffy bread that tastes of olive oil. There’s nothing like it! 

I made a loaf of it last night, and by 9 PM three of us were devouring it and fainting onto the kitchen floor because it’s so good– especially with just a little warm butter. 

Highly recommended. It’s on page 293 of Martha’s book, and I’m not getting any compensation for suggesting it. She doesn’t know me from Adam, but she should.

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7 responses

  1. Martha’s olive oil bread sounds delish!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can I find it on her website? Remember you canceled my Martha subscription!!! lol

  2. Yum. Making bread is very soothing, yes? I love the feel of kneading warm dough and the yeasty scent of it. And the “punching down.” Punching down is almost as good as kneading.

    Recently, I’ve seen recipes for olive oil CAKE. I’ve seen both rosemary olive oil cake & rosemary lemon olive oil cake. Have you ever made one?

    P.S. I love it that you own a wooden peel!

  3. I baked bread from scratch for a large retail/grocery store, here, for about five years. It was a rewarding experience to actually make and bake from scratch. No better smell than that of baking bread. They have long since changed over to baking up frozen loaves, now, and none of it tastes the same. So sad. I vote for home breadbaking! Thanks for the tip on the Martha Stewart bread.

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