Because we live near good bakeries in NYC I’m able to buy real fresh bread daily to satisfy husband and children. (I myself eat bread like a dessert or condiment.) In the country, there is one good baker—Crossroads—it’s far away, and the bread only comes to a market near us on the weekends, so we’re often faced with industrial bread labeled “artisan.”
During the school year it doesn’t matter—I can carry good bread or buy it each weekend–but in the summer, we’re not living the good bread life. Eventually my laziness shamed me and I learned to bake a decent loaf, the famous no-knead, long-fermentation number invented by Jim Lahey. Even one that doesn’t quite rise properly makes superior toast to the industrial stuff. Also, since we battle with the mice for leftovers, I’ve finally hit on the right bread box: it’s the ceramic Dutch oven in which I bake the bread. Ta-da. Decent bread—though not a sandwich loaf, like a sourdough Pullman—and great stale bread for other uses, instead of instant compost, which is where the supermarket breads find themselves.