Confession:  I love white bread.

Clarification: Not wonder bread and all it’s preservatives, but homemade, freshly baked white bread.

For a while I was consistently making the no-knead bread chronicled by Jim Leahy of Sullivan Street Bakery in this NY Times article. The recipe got a lot of babble in the blogosphere when it came out and there are tricks and suggestions on practically every cooking blog.  I have my own suggestions.  I will not be preachy, but I am willing to share.  The bread is fabulously moist inside with a consistent Francofile quality crust that gives off a satisfying and resounding thud when you tap it.  I have made many variations of this bread  – some have worked and others have not.  Adding a few tablespoons of cinnamon and some raisins is divine, but substituting whole grain flour results in a thick, dense brick that even my fancy bread knife refused to slice.

I also have a wonderful whole grain (kneading required) breakfast bread recipe that I “created”, well, actually, modified many times over till I got it right.  My husband begs for it during the summer, but it is too hot, and we don’t have AC, and I am lazy, and I have no time with the marathon training schedule I have been upholding, and the list could go on to explain why I have been neglecting his homemade bread cravings.  Summer is summer – for us in a cold winter climate, summer is when we live.  In the winter we are just waiting to live again and baking bread occupies some of that waiting time.

After reading DD’s post yesterday about summer veggies I got hungry and motivated.   I have a counter full of homegrown, heirloom tomatoes… big, meaty tomatoes that slice up into thick and sturdy circles that substantially keep their form in a sandwich even though their juices are pooling on your plate, if you are lucky, but in my case they drip down my arm till they escape from my form at my bent elbow.  I already had a few packs of thick slice bacon* in the fridge but I needed a bread that was worthy of these tomatoes and thick slices of nitrites.

Nothing store bought would do for this craving.  I had a loaf of semolina and sesame bread in the freezer, but I wanted real, freshly baked white* bread.  The no-knead recipe takes too much time and my craving was immediate, so I browsed the King Arthur Flour site till I found a match: Classic Sandwich Bread.  Despite the 95 degree heat and our lack of AC – we had the best BLT sandwiches for dinner last night.  The recipe was incredibly easy (you can do it you non-bakers…) and the bread will be enjoyed equally as French toast this morning or topped with a fried egg or toasted and topped with some fresh strawberry preserves.  I made 2 loaves – separately since doubling the recipe doesn’t always work – and the second loaf may be combined again with tomatoes, fresh feta, olives, basil and a lemon dressing for some greek panzenella.

Summer is truly grand.  I often wonder if I would appreciate it so if it was summer all year long or if the ephemeral nature of summer leaves us longing for the taste of a fresh tomato in January.

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* I have yet to find a nitrite free bacon I like and have consequently determined that sometimes you need to screw the nitrites – if somehow I am ever buried alive, at least I will have my own glowing body to light the space around me, plus, as my 85 year old grandma says…everything in moderation.
* Although I call it white bread, I did substitute half of the flour as King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour.  I exclusively use King Arthur Flour for all my baking and there is a difference – the texture is milled finer and consequently the dough is easier to work with.  Also, the protein content is closer to European flours so naturally the breads just taste better for some scientific reason I will let someone else explain…..

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