I grew up in the South. More often than not, my mother whipped up a batch of biscuits for dinner and she alway managed to time them just perfect so they came straight from the oven onto the plates… where we would immediately pile on the butter as if the boat-load of shortening in them wasn’t quite enough to meet our daily requirement of fat. And for dessert? Another biscuit with butter and strawberry preserves, of course.
I learned from my mother that a meal without bread and butter… well… it usually isn’t worth eating and never, ever as satisfying, and now I’m paying for it. I weigh 110 pounds, don’t have an ounce of fat on me, I have to take medication for high cholesterol and I still can’t give up that daily bread and butter.
But now I know the secret and I’m going to share my seven easy steps to bread heaven:
- Go buy a bread machine. I have a Zojirushi and absolutely love it.
- Go buy a copy of Rustic European Breads From Your Bread Machine.
- Make up a batch of poolish (page 57), pour it in a large-mouth glass jar and put it in a place of honor on your kitchen counter to sit over night.
- After the poolish has been doing its thing for at least 12-14 hours, dump it back in the bread machine and make up a batch of pain au levain (page 94). Put one cup of dough back in your poolish jar and bake the rest according to the recipe.
- As soon as you take it out of the oven, cut a nice thick slice and chew off a healthy bite without stopping to butter it — it doesn’t need any. In between bites, pat yourself on the back for making the best darn loaf of bread you’ve ever tasted without a single drop of fat or grain of sugar.
- Have another slice. It’s like potato chips — you can’t have just one.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 daily.