Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Perfect Loaf

My man Tom loves a good loaf of bread. The best are the ones he makes himself.

Long before I knew him he was making bread. He brought at least one beat-up bread making book to our marriage and treated me from time to time to one of his delicious loaves.

Then our family experienced the gluten-free, dairy-free dilemma. Only Tom was still able to eat wheat, and his bread baking days became a thing of the past -- unless he was visiting his parents.

But a few months ago he started to experiment with bread baking again. He has tried no-knead bread --

both gluten,

and gluten-free;

he has explored sourdough bread...

...and salt-rising bread (which, he concluded after several attempts, neither rose very well nor tasted much like the wonderful salt-rising bread we've had in New York).

We recently found a gluten-free bread that is sold in supermarkets that tastes great. So we wrote down all the ingredients and determined amounts, creating our own recipe that we thoroughly enjoy, especially since the store-bought version costs nearly $7 for a rather small loaf!

As for the wheat bread, just the other day everything finally came together and Tom finally got his perfect loaf!

He mixed the yeast together with all his liquid ingredients and got out his dough mixer, added the dry ingredients and started stirring.

Plop! Onto the counter it went so he could work it -- with some folding, a little kneading, and then letting it stretch.

He put it in the pan to rise,

then into the oven to bake.

Voila! The perfect loaf!!

Lest you think I am posting this to tell you about bread, I am not. I am writing this post to tell you about my husband. Tom's interests are varied and when he finds a topic he cares about he reads and thinks about it at length. Then he tries his hand at it. He is focused and persistent, and he loves the process. (When he wanted to make cheese, he first build a cheese press so that he would have the proper equipment.)

He is a problem solver. How many times, I wonder, has he taken my complicated plans and simplified them to something actually do-able, or listened to my tale of distress and found a way to make things right!

Tom is responsible, but he is also fun! I really love hanging out with him.

Happy birthday, Tom. I'm glad you got your perfect loaf. As for me, I'm glad I've got my perfect man.

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