I love to eat and make food; especially love to bake things. You can't beat the wonderful smells of baking cookies, breads, scones, muffins, or rolls, not to mention during chilly weather, baking fills the house with warmth.
It's the time of year when I start baking quite a lot, partly because I really enjoy doing it and partly so I can try out new recipes in anticipation of the upcoming Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays. My mother used to make these soft and yeasty cloverleaf rolls at every major holiday. They were outstanding and so tender and light -- truly a melt in your mouth experience. While I loved those cloverleaf rolls, I have never mastered making them. I know I will try again in the future, but for now, I am trying other things.
One of the things I gave a shot last weekend was this no-knead bread. Being in the Midwest, I missed out on the big to-do that this bread made last year when an article about it was published in the New York Times. On the bright side, many people have written about their experiences with the recipe since then, so I was the beneficiary of some good advice and information from those early adopters.
This is undoubtedly the best loaf of bread I have ever made. It's a loaf that is eyes-roll-back-in-your-head good. The exterior is crunchy and substantial. The interior is creamy, but meaty. It produces a beautiful rustic-looking loaf. It's just lovely.
One of the most satisfying aspects of this, or any bread, is the process of breadmaking itself. Putting all the ingredients together is your own little act of creation. You become personally involved in the bread. You feel its texture in your hands. You smell its different aromas before, during, and after the baking. You see its transformation from a seemingly random collection of items that do not taste particularly good while on their own into a cohesive form that yields tasty and substantial sustenance. I even say little prayers while making the bread, giving thanks for these gifts.