You don’t have to be baking mad to read this…

THESE words are rising along with a loaf in the oven. At least I hope both words and loaf have some lift. It’s a new recipe, the bread that is; the blog is the same old recipe of typing words as they rise into the passing cloud of my mind.

Some time ago now, it was over between bread books and me. There were too many on the shelf, some regular favourites, others rarely looked at since first infatuation. Dan Lepard’s Short & Sweet and Andrew Whitley’s Bread Matters are the star turns, while the River Cottage bread book by Daniel Stevens has provided two often used recipes: a sourdough standby and a basic loaf.

Then my Dad gave me a £25 Waterstones token for my birthday and there was a book on the shelf in the shop in York – Baking School, The Bread Ahead Cookbook. And that book gave me a floury wink.

The loaf in the oven has just been given a turn. It’s a ‘miche’ which is basically a giant French sourdough. The rise suggests something gone slightly awry. The shape is odd, the bulge cockeyed; not always a good sign. But time will tell – time and a hazard of dislodged dental-work if hastiness wins the argument with caution.

The first loaf from this book was another sourdough, and I sawed through the new creation, pausing to wipe the sweat from my brow, and risked a bite. Not fully there but the taste was good; a day later the loaf had softened and was readier to eat.

Now I have a whole book of bread and cakes to make. And doughnuts, but they will probably go unmade. We don’t have a deep-fat fryer and nobody but me would eat doughnuts, and I don’t want to have to buy new Levis.

Was another bread book a good idea? Only time and a long line of loaves will tell. But we should all do things we love at times, and I love looking at a new bread book, even though plenty of flour-scattered pages that once got my oven heart ticking now sit unloved on the bookshelf.

The new one looks like a keeper, but the sourdough method is tricky, the dough very wet, and… oh, you know, bread matters, bready things. Bready, steady go and check on the loaf as the timer must be due to ping. Ah, six minutes left.

Look, there’s a loaf; and here’s the yeasty blog.

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