Please pass the bread

February 7, 2011 § 4 Comments

There’s a great scene in the movie Scent of a Woman at the Oak Room in NYC where Al Pacino asks Chris O’Donnell to pass the rolls, breaks into one of them and just breathes it in saying: “bread’s no good west of Colorado, water’s too alkaline”.  I’m glad to live on the cusp here in Boulder, CO.

Bread is the oldest, most revered prepared food with evidence of it dating back over 30,000 years. Bread used to be the center of the table where people used to sit and have delicious meals together. Unfortunately, in today’s diet obsessed culture, bread is often associated with and ostracized by otherworldly concepts like “carbs” and “gluten free”. A lot of people want it as far away from them as possible. I kind of wonder if bread isn’t one of those great traditions of civilization we’re losing to the guise of “health”.

I love bread, especially toast with lots of butter dripping from it. Some of my fondest memories were of going to my grandmother’s house in Pennsylvania and being greeted by the smell of fresh rye bread through the door and being met with a slice of it right out of the oven with butter in the process of melting on it. My Mom has continued to make that bread and this week it’ll be my turn to give it a try.

I am going to learn how to make my great-grandmother’s rye bread recipe as well as explore Tartine Bread, a great book from Tartine bakery in San Francisco. I will be learning how to make my own starter from it. Locally, I’m going to pay a visit to a couple of establishments, Breadworks and Great Harvest Bread Co. I hope to gain some insight into baking at high altitude. Baking is always a tricky proposition here in Boulder.

I will also be calling on my friend Jess, who has the equivalent of a green thumb when it comes to baking.

Let’s do this.

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