Thursday, 26 September 2013

Fig and Fennel Bread

While eating some of the warm Fig and Fennel Bread I had just pulled out of the oven, Joaquim asked me if I had a list of the different kinds of bread I can bake. 

“Yes,” I said, and pointed to the inside of my head. 

“That is not going to help me much,” he said.

To tell you the truth, it doesn’t help me much either.  I wondered to myself if I really do have a list like that in my head and my mind began to spin from the most recently made, to loaves I made long ago. 
The Fig and Fennel Recipe comes from (Bon Appetit 202) and I thought as I was eating my second piece of it, that I hadn’t made anything quite that spectacular ever.  I am not a bread eater, but I went on to eat three toasted pieces of it tonight after  coming home from listening to live folk music.  As I was watching the butter melt into the crust I remembered going to another internet site where they said they had a recipe that improved on the one at recipe, which they thought was bland. 
I am not chasing down the new recipe they refer to – since I thought I had ambrosia in my hands already.

Mary had me test out a Roasted Garlic Bread recipe when I was in Ottawa and she declared that it was definitely a winner. 

The week before, Lisa and I had experimented with Saffron Bread, since she and I had been trying to get a sense of what saffron really tasted like by holding some of it on the tip of our tongues until we thought our minds had a memory for it.  Later that day I read the saffron has to be dissolved for about 20 minutes for the true flavour to come out.  No wonder Lisa and I thought it tasted like paper mache when we were doing our spice experiment with it.

Then I was reminded of the breads we ate last summer:  the Russian Black Bread that had hints of cumin, chocolate and molasses; the Danish Sesame Bran Bread that made the air so fragrant when it was toasted.  

My own personal favourite was the Cheesy Moon Bread filled with parmesan cheese, stuffed green olives, basil, garlic powder, oregano leaves and paprika.

We ate the Country Seed Bread all summer as well.  I don’t know what it is about flax, poppy seeds and sesame seeds that made those “country seeds”, but that bread began to be preferred over a loaf of hot white bread.

If sheer volume of the kinds of bread I make was the measure of what is a favourite, Aunt Erva’s Cinnamon Bun recipe would take the prize.   On the other hand, when Easter is close, wouldn’t some homemade Hot Cross Buns be the first thing you would want to pop into your mouth?

Well, it is hard to make a list of every kind of bread, let alone choose a favourite.  One day I had four loaves of fig and fennel bread on the counter, one cut already, and when David came into the room he asked for a piece from a loaf that was not cut. 

“We all get one,” he announced, “and I want a piece of my own loaf.”

I have never divided the loaves up that way before, .... but why not?  There were four of us in the house.

One loaf each of us.

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