Behold the first loaf of bread that I have ever baked . . .
Clearly I have been replaced by some evil alternate universe me. I don't bake bread. I don't bake, period. Not much for cooking in general, although I did successfully prepare a meal of Spaghetti-O's the other day that I was rather proud of -- not too chemically, with just a hint of aluminum.
I may be hooked on this bread thing. It was kind of fun, and I'm a sucker for good bread, which is somewhat scarce here in North Carolina. From what I can tell, many southerners have a mysterious aversion to any bread with a crunchy crust. This is just one more reason why I keep my door locked at night.
This particular bread recipe hooked me with phrases like "knead the prosciutto into the dough," "brush the crust with bacon fat before baking," and "brush the crust with bacon fat and allow to cool." I strongly believe that if all food were prepared like this, the world would be a much happier place.
Incidentally, if any of you other folks feel similarly overcome with the urge to bake bread all sudden-like, I highly recommend The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum. It is extremely rube-friendly.
While you're at it, check out Breadbasketcase, a highly entertaining blog in which Marie Wolf describes her experiences as she attempts to bake all 82 bread recipes in The Bread Bible in one year. Go, Marie, go!