Bread making is a passion for some, while for others it’s a way to have in-home made bread. Then there are those that like to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labour. There are still millions of people who do it simply because they need to feed their families. I get pleasure from the sight of uniform loaves that have an aesthetic appeal, that smell great and can be enjoyed just as is. I used to hand knead all my bread, and while doing it would fondly remember the maple bread counter that Dad built Mom when they redid their kitchen in Vancouver about 40 years ago. It was the perfect height for Mom to knead on. It was secured on three sides, and made of 2” thick boards. Although it was a wee bit too high for me at the time, it would be perfect for me now, as I ended up to be the same height as my mom. We didn’t consider it an essential when planning our kitchen, and now, with the Kitchen Aid, I can cope well without it. Before the arrival of the Kitchen Aid, I would stand at a broad expanse of the kitchen counter faithfully kneading for 10 minutes, or however long was required, all the time wishing I was just a couple of inches taller. But the view over our front meadow was always worth it.
The original version of this recipe is from Peter Reinhart’s Brother Juniper’s Bread Book. It is a favourite of mine, as it is good on its own, with a smear of butter, toasted, or the start of a great sandwich.