It’s out there, elusive, teasing me with crispy crackling sound, flaking crust, nutty and wheaty nose and a rich creamy crumb. The ideal rustic bread is something I’ve been crowing about for a long time on this blog. I realized it should be a study in contrasts: crackly dry crust and soft rich interior, deep caramel brown concealing a cream interior. Some people say it’s just bread, but to quote Phil Connors, “People like blood sausage too. People are morons.”
To me it’s not bread, it’s an improbable combination of living organisms, harvested grain, work by hand, heat, craft, and care. This is where I started, a no-knead bread.
Good thing my first bread turned out well, or else I’d have given up. Since then I’ve been working my way back to that crackly crust and perfect crumb. I don’t know if I’ll find it, but along the way I’ve made hundreds of loaves of bread that I and the people around me have enjoyed. Maybe the act of discovery is the goal.