Fall has arrived here in Georgia! I know this because our grass is dead. Oh, sure, it was dead before. But now it is REALLY dead. Deader than dead. You can hear it crying as you walk across the lawn and huge tufts of it throw themselves up out of the soil behind your shoes, begging to be put out of their misery.
The pool is closed (that sounds so much more important than “we done threw a big tarp over the water”) and the mornings are chilly. I have been leaving my office door open in the afternoons to catch a breeze, and although it’s still hot around lunchtime, the rest of the day is actually quite lovely.
This is the time of year when I start cooking things that make the whole house smell good, partially because I like to cook and I love to eat, but mostly because delicious smells wafting out of the kitchen temper the bite in the air. Only, the problem is that any bite October has in Georgia, by noon it’s been replaced with HEAT, so my internal cooking thermostat is off.
And so I have not commenced with the chilis and stews and soups; it’s not cold enough yet. My one stint of baking bread this summer taught me that I could go the summer without fresh bread, because there is little more miserable than baking when it’s 100 degrees outside. The drop in temperature means I can return to baking, though, even if I’m not ready for a mammoth pot of chicken soup.
So I was reading along yesterday and came across this post by Belinda and was struck with a sudden and overwhelming urge to MAKE THAT BREAD RIGHT NOW. Now, I’ve been struck by similar carb-lust before, but you have to go look at that recipe to understand. My craving was greatly magnified because it has so many of the things I love dearly all in one place—delicious bready goodness, beer, and cheese.
Dude. The only way you could improve on that would be to top it with bacon and chocolate.
So I took a break and whipped up the bread dough, and by the time Otto got home from work it was rising in the loaf tins and waiting to be baked.
“You’re making bread?” he asked, hopeful. Otto did not marry me for my mad baking skillz, I hope (especially seeing as how I haven’t baked in months), but he does appreciate a good carb-fest as much as I do.
“OH MY GOD WAIT TIL YOU SEE,” I gushed, so excited about the impending deliciousness.
Chickadee and I kept returning to the oven and peeking through the glass, because this bread (because of the beer? because it is awesome?) just rises and rises, and there is no greater entertainment than watching loaves inflate in your oven.
About twenty minutes before it was done baking, the smell in the kitchen was so overwhelming I wanted to curl up on the stove top with head hanging over the side and my nose pressed up against the oven door. Otto and I had elected to eat dinner after the kids were in bed, last night, so this meant we were alone with the bread after the kids turned in.
The first loaf stuck in the pan and I kept running a knife along the edges, trying to figure out where it was still stuck, and swearing under my breath. Finally Otto grabbed a spatula and got it out from the bottom. That loaf… didn’t look so good after its battle to be freed. “We might just have to eat the whole thing,” said Otto.
The second loaf popped right out. Go figure.
I cut us thick slices and we were not disappointed. The crust was crisp and chewy and the innards light and tangy and melt-in-your-mouth.
“I’m going to have some real food,” Otto said, heading to the fridge for leftovers. “Want anything?”
“No, I think I’ll have another piece of bread,” I said, trying to act casual. I finished my piece and went and cut myself another hunk. I whispered sweet nothings to it while trying to eat it slowly, rather than cramming the whole thing in my mouth or stripping down naked and rolling around in it.
By way of preservation, I wrapped up the second loaf and put it in the freezer. “I suspect by the second loaf we’ll be sort of sick of it. Why don’t you save it?” suggested Otto.
“I suspect by the second loaf I might be MAKING myself sick,” I pointed out, “but I doubt I’d be sick of it. But you’re right, let’s save it.” I walked past the loaf on the counter and noticed it was a little uneven. I shaved a bit off… just to tidy it up, you understand.
Eventually it was time for bed and I had to kiss the bread goodnight and leave it.
Hey, know what’s good with a cup of tea in the morning? A slice of beer bread! Or, you know, TWO!
I hope no one else is going to want any of this tonight. I cannot be held accountable for my actions, being left alone in the house with that bread all day.