Mmmm, hot, crusty and fresh from the oven. With just a smattering of shattered glass. Nothing says homemade like fresh bread. At least that’s what they all say. The results of my efforts, however, proved otherwise.
If you are dreaming of fresh loaves that look something like this:
You might want to go and check out Farmhouse Greetings. She makes bread the old fashioned way, without glass fragments.
But if you’re not a sissy, stick with me.
I should make one thing clear: my mother is in no way responsible for the events surrounding the spectacular exploding bread caper of ’08. Really. It’s just that in sharing the recipe over the phone some things got lost in translation, like the fact that her lasagna pan was made of something other than glass.
The gist of the bread baking is this: you create a huge hunk of the dough, keep it in the fridge, and then tear it off and bake as needed. What keeps the bread soft and fluffy on the inside yet crusty on the outside? A steaming pan of water, simmering just beneath the baking bread.
Word to the wise: despite the fact that your inner voice might object using only a nagging whisper, LISTEN WHEN IT TELLS YOU NOT TO ADD WATER TO A HOT GLASS PAN. I’m not saying that I would do anything that insanely stupid, I’m just saying, if you’ve got a little voice, you might want to listen up.
So how do you encrust a warm loaf of artisan bread with billions of tiny shards of glass? Easy. Just heat an empty glass pan to 450°. Lean your head into the hot oven. Pour lukewarm water into the pan and watch the fireworks. It’s a spectacular show.
Brave reader, here is what your oven may look like after just one shattered glass, bread-baking bash:
Mom got her recipe from a new book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. She loves it. Having pilfered the recipe over the phone I can say that I am not a huge fan of the million shards of flying glass part of the recipe. But Mom’s breads consistently turn out warm and crusty and, most notably, glass-free.
And she tells me that eating bread without risk of blood is just as enjoyable as my way. So maybe next time I’ll just buy the book.