Let me preface this by saying that before I read blogs, I'd never heard of The Tassajara Bread Book. I still don't know how to say it because I've only read about it.* Amanda has mentioned it lots of times on her blog SouleMama, and I take her recommendations pretty seriously. She lives the life I dream of living.
The spine caught my eye at the book sale. It was jumbled in a pile of other books, and I was so excited when I pulled it out and discovered that it's the bread book I've been looking for. I snatched it up and kept it hugged close for the rest of my book sale browsing. I certainly didn't want anyone to try to take it!
The copy that I now call mine is from 1970 and has a handwritten New York City address (but no name) on the inside cover. I love imagining the stories of previous book owners. I wonder how many loaves of bread have been made with this very book at hand. From the looks of the rustled up pages, I'm guess a whole heck of a lot.
Kneaded dough with honey and violets
Friday I set about making bread. The yeasted bread made with milk looked good to me, so that's what I chose. It made a smooth, supple dough that was a joy to mix up and knead. Kneading is my favorite part of bread-making; it makes me feel like a kid playing in the mud again. Those 10 or so minutes spent pushing and folding the dough around the bread board stretch out and seem like a long time. The rhythm takes over so that while my hands are occupied, my mind has time to think.
This recipe made two loaves, which baked up tall and dark. K, the resident bread cutter, sliced one loaf thin for sandwiches and the other thick for making French toast. I'm really happy with the texture of this bread--it's sturdy without being heavy--and the flavor is substantial with a little bit of sweetness from the honey in the dough.
I'll definitely be making this recipe again, and I can't wait to try out others from this book. Have any of you used Tassajara bread recipes that you'd recommend? I'm really curious about what to try next.
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*It's that j--do you say it like a j, an h, a y or something else completely?