I used to make bread, years ago, before I had a family, and always liked it, and always wanted to get back to it, but when my kid went off to college I realized how thrilled I was not to have to be cooking all the time, and then the husband moved out, and it was just me, and how much cooking do I want to do for just me? And so it was, until Christmas break, when Christopher came home from his last year of college full of ideas for cooking together. So we made chicken and cheese enchiladas, and had a blast, and made plans for bread but never got to it. And I found after he left that I was enjoying the cooking again, and starting trying out bread recipes. The first time, I left out the salt -- ooh, not so good! Then, I forgot to change the oven from broil to bake, and charred the roof off two loaves. The third batch was a very simple, but uninspiring recipe. Then, I decided to try Deli Rye.
I followed the recipe exactly, letting the sponge rise overnight so it would develop flavor, watching the free form loaves dimple as they spread out on the cookie sheet, so I could get them into the oven and still get an "oven rise". I slashed the tops and painted them with egg white and milk to give them that translucent sheen, cooked them till they were golden brown, and they were not only absolutely stunning, but the best Rye bread I ever ate! My husband agreed, and while he may be biased, he's often biased the other way, so I considered that a true compliment!
So, joy is a perfect loaf of rye bread and a bowl of cauliflower soup (I know, Kara, I still have to send you the recipe!). I'm grateful for rye and caraway seeds, and whoever discovered yeast and figured out how to bake bread. And all those people at Cook's Illustrated, where I got the recipe, who baked loaf after loaf testing different combinations of flour, and risings and caraway and glazes until they found just the right combination, and then explained it well enough that I could follow it and come up with something like what they made! Ain't life grand?