Bread, bread, bread. I can smell it, I can see it, I have to make it, so I go to the co-op to pick up a few things I need, and as I stroll through the aisle, cheesemonger Keith’s fabulous Camembert, from local Mankato, Minnesota Alemar Cheese Company, calls out to greet me. This beautiful cheese loves my idea of making bread, so in great anticipation of their partnership, I escort King Arthur and a soft white rind home for dinner.
Keith’s artisan soft-ripened cheese is like magic, and it demands warm bread to experience all its glory. This cheese, brilliantly white and creamy, when cut, begins to move. It slowly softens, puddles and flows. The soft rind holds up, but the inside spills out like a perfect molten lava cake. The flavors at first are creamy, then develop into an earthy tangy finish with fresh grassy tones. This cheese is superb – far better than any Normandy import. The ‘croûte fleurie’ rind is thin and lovely in flavor and texture; unlike many we find in the typical supermarket.
Now, bread making is a lot like cheesemaking I imagine. It’s fussy, time-consuming business, and as many of you know, I am not a fussy cook. I like to make things that are not complicated or lengthy, so I decide to try Bittman’s No-Knead Bread. No knead means less work, right? Well, this is a very nice bread recipe that turns out a crusty peasant loaf with very little muscle ache, but it is a multi-stepper that involves many hours of home-stay. In fact, shortly before it was ready to bake, I had completely forgotten it rising on the radiator, and was half-way out the door for a trot around the lake when I remembered it. The walk was postponed for over an hour in order to pre-heat the oven and then bake the loaf. Ay, yay, yay!
I am not a fussy cook, but I certainly appreciate those who are. Thanks to all of you who relish lengthy, multi-step food preparation processes! And thanks, Keith for the delicious cheese – Bravo!