no, not the Counting Crows song.
Recently a special angel (read: family member) treated and surprised me with a visit to Sullivan Street Bakery in Midtown Manhattan and it sort of changed my life.* From the outside, it is small and unassuming in the most earnest of ways (that is to say, neither exclusively small nor pretentiously unassuming the way that you might find an organic-fair trade-locally roasted-hipster only coffee shop in a renovated garage broom closet in Brooklyn).
It is warm inside. Correction: it is hot inside, which is especially noticeable in the New York summer when you’d like to walk into a place where you spend money and be blasted by air conditioning. But it smells like bread, which makes everything okay.
And the bread is amazing. Fifteen varieties of bread sit behind the counter on a wire rack. If my imminent hunger hadn’t been hastening my decision-making process I would have stood and ogled and asked questions for quite a long time. Instead I ordered a croissant (duh), a piece of potato pizza (it was 8 AM and it was perfect), a brioche roll, and other “regular” (but exceptional) bread for later. It was a tall order. Strictly for research purposes, of course.
Have I mentioned here how much I love bread? One time very long ago I waxed (un)poetically about conquering pizza crust (never really happened). I have also gushed about making unleavened bread in the desert a few hundred feet away from sleeping camels. Anyways, I love bread. I was always the kid who ruined her dinner with the bread basket (and ordered dessert anyways). I love how almost every food culture has its own tradition of bread. It’s so basic, so simple. But it can be intimidating to make. And my curiosity regarding its traditions and techniques won’t go away.
So I sat at the table this morning, brioche in my belly, and ordered Jim Lahey’s book, My Bread. Amazon’s one-click buying feature seriously enables impulse buying, by the way. The book will be mine in two days. And hopefully – maybe? – I’ll get to work on it soon and get my hands in some flour.
Even more hopefully, I’ll be able to share some successes (and multiple failures) here. Maybe I’ll even instagram some loaves. Stay tuned.
*Well, not really but for a few minutes I had myself convinced