Making Bread at Home

bread

I love bread. I don’t mean l love bread with everything, all the time. As such I am probably a moderate bread eater. But I love bread. I love the smell of fresh bread. The crunch of crust. The texture of fluffy bread or that of compact bread. The color of bread. You get the picture – it’s all about bread.

With all my love of bread however we don’t usually make bread at home too often. Part of it is the fact we don’t own a bread maker (although this is something we are seriously considering, as we only hear great things of bread makers!). We also don’t have a lot of free time lately, and bread asks for time and patience. But when we do get around to making bread the whole house is filled with joy and love and warmth.

Lately we have been experimenting with two different schools of bread-thought: that of Paul Hollywood and that of Richard Bertinet. there are many similarities but also a few differences. And given the proximity to France we lean more towards Bertinet. Using his recipes we made crusty, crunchy, fluffy baguettes. We made white bread. And a fougasse which transported us for a brief time to the south of France.

Bread is probably the one food that brings people and nations together (I know it sounds grand, a la Miss Universe, but it is true on so many levels!). It also gives people their individual identity as breads are so a alike but so very different. No trip abroad would be complete without tasting and discovering breads giving us an insight into a different food culture:

  • Finland – I remember tasting for the first time their very dark rye bread. So dark and dry it begs for toppings which lead to exquisite open sandwiches. In the meantime I got so addicted to this bread that it always travel back with me. And lucky me, it freezes perfectly.
  • France – Baguettes. Do I really need to say more? Going further south we enjoyed their olive fougasse with a glass of rose. Holiday perfection.
  • Germany – Probably my favorite bread country. Every time I am in Germany a stop at the local baker is a must. Rich, dark, heavy bread filled with different seeds which to me makes the perfect sandwich bread.
  • Italy – If we count pizza (dough) as bread then the Italians probably win the bread race. Every time we visit we make sure to emerge ourselves in the anti pasti culture, eat giabattas and focaccias, toppings of choice, which are always so much tastier in Italy. I mean the Italians even have a salad for stale bread! When in Rome …
  • Morocco – Although we have not (yet) been to Morocco, Brussels introduced us to Moroccan food delights. And more than occasionally we buy their flat semolina breads and pancake bread.
  • Romania – probably less known on the culinary European map, but as it is home I have to share with you the delicious white potato bread we have. Still warm from the fire oven with a bit of butter it is a slice of heaven.
  • UK – The perfect toast bread. I am still not used to the soggy triangle sandwiches but toasted English white bread with orange marmalade is breakfast perfection. That is when we don’t have croissants (see France, above)

A bit of bread travelling from my side. Now it’s your turn. Or am I the only bread travel taster? I would love to know which breads you eat, prefer, miss as your home breads.

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