If you had asked me one month ago if I could make a loaf of bread that tasted or looked as good as this, I would have laughed in your face. It would have been a a fantasy. A joke!
But I made this bread, last night, and the night before that, and the night before that. And I’ll continue to make this bread, and sometimes it will be worse, and hopefully someday it will get even better.
People often talk about the intimate relationship they have with their bread. (I once interviewed a breadmaker in Portland who had named his seven-year-old starter “Lulu.”) I always knew it to be true, but you can’t really know until you do it yourself. The bread that I make at Lawrence is very similar to Tartine Cafe’s pain au levain, which is tangy, sour, and emerges from the oven with a hard, caramel-colored shell and a sometimes-sticky interior, flecked by grains of whole wheat flour. On a good day, the crumb is light and fluffy and soft, like cotton candy.
I already call this bread my baby. It’s something I look after and care for, and I feel weirdly emotional about it. When things go well, I feel a swell of pride that’s greater than any article I’ve written or event I’ve organized. Creation is powerful, especially when it comes from the hands.