Our mountain was bread. We talked about it for three years. The talk always ended with “too hard” or “maybe in a few months”. Part of it was probably a fear of a failure that would shake the confidence we had gained from our Sunday dinners. But, with all due respect to Virginia, there is no good bread here. We are both from New Jersey – good bread, good bakeries-lots of good food we can’t find here. We missed bread. For 20 years, we missed bread.
Our first endeavor was rolls. We read the back of every package of yeast as if we would find some secret there to help us pick the right one At least the flour was easy-King Arthur was the only choice and as it turns out, the best choice. We tried the recipe on the back of the package of yeast. After two hours of waiting for the rise, we had bricks. It took two of us to move it to the trash can. We tried again the following week and this time it worked. We had rolls and they were good. But we wanted bread.
Reading reviews on Amazon for a Lodge 5 quart dutch oven, we came across a sentence about a book called My Bread by Jim Lahey. We read the reviews on this no knead bread, felt hope rise, in a way our rolls hadn’t, and ordered both. We followed the recipe, preparing ourselves for failure. After all, the people who raved about the bread were probably experienced bread makers even if they said they weren’t. Cooking skills are relative. 18 hours later, the bread had risen and the smell in the kitchen made us feel hopeful. 2 hours later, we gently put the bread in to the hot dutch oven. 30 minutes later, we had a perfect and oh so beautiful boule. And just as he says in the book, it was singing; as were we. We have been working our way through the breads in the book. While some people pair wines with their meal, we pair meals with our bread.
Now we bake bread every weekend and its the bread we’ve been waiting for all these years. Thank you Jim Lahey.
The Menu: Boule and mollet egg with arugula & parmesan shavings
- the bread with normandy butter and flaked salt, we weren’t kidding, no entree needed
- 1 16oz bag of arugula
- 4 medium eggs
- 6 tbsp swiss vinaigrette (based on Michel Roux’s recipe)
- 4 oz. shaved parmesan
Cover 4 eggs with cold water over medium heat. As soon as water comes to a boil, reduce to gentle simmer. Cook for 3 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Crack shells and cut in quarters. Put arugula in four bowls. Top with shaved parmesan and eggs. Pour over vinaigrette over salad.
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped shallots
- 1/2 garlic clove crushed
- pinch of sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp. Maggi liquid seasoning
- 2 tbsp. heavy cream
- 6 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- salt & pepper
Whisk all ingredients, pour over salad.