The convenience of acquiring a good loaf of bread today is quite simple. You can buy it at the grocery store or the local bakery. Depending on where you live I would choose a good bakery over store bread. When you can take a slice of bread and roll it into a marble size ball, that, (in my opinion), is not bread. Most packaged bread from a grocery store contains so many chemical ingredients I shy away from it. The nearest decent bakery to me is 50-miles away so I bake my own from scratch.
There are quite a few things to consider before starting to bake bread. First of all I evaluate the weather. If the sun is shining that is a good sign. That usually means that the barometric pressure is high and should ensure a quick rise for bread. On a cloudy day it seems as though it takes forever for the bread dough to raise. I consider the humidity. If it is high that means I can use less flour than I would on a drier day. Next I look at the temperature. An 80-degree reading on the thermometer is what I feel to be perfect. If those components are present I am assured of a very good end result with my bread baking.
My grandmother’s bread always turned out perfect. Thinking about it now I realize she basically lived in a sort of bubble. The wood stove was always burning. The water reservoir on the side of the stove provided just the right amount of moisture in the air, and the kitchen always stayed around 80-degrees all year round.
Whenever she took the loaves of bread from the oven, my grandfather always wanted the first slice from the loaf. He called it the heel. It took me quite a few years to figure out why he called it that because I called it the end piece. One day while walking barefoot on the sand by the lake I looked down at the prints my feet made. That is when it dawned on me. If you look at a footprint in the sand, the heel portion resembles the end slice from a loaf of bread. Needless to say, whenever I see that famous picture I am reminded of my grandparents and home made bread.
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