It’s been a quiet couple of weeks. We’re having a rainy spell on the Olympic peninsula and yard work is on hold until the sun returns. Waiting has been all the more difficult, because recently I bought a tractor and I’m just itching to bust some sod. I’d drive it to the mail box and back, but that feels more than a little conspicuous to me. To make matters worse, I can’t tell my family about it just yet because I bought it the same day my niece had a baby. It would be terrible to upstage her and the new baby with photos of my tractor.
Anyway, while out walking and running a few errands around town, we visited Bell Street Bakery (link) to ask about birthday cakes. Turns out it’s not that kind of bakery; they make breads and cookies.
Never one to pass up a cookie, we bought several to take home and enjoy with our afternoon tea. No, we’re not English; we’ve begun drinking some kind of herbal tea that our naturalist friend recommended. I think it’s for exfoliating or anti-oxygenating or something like that to help free my inner radical, she said.
When the baker handed me the bag of 4 cookies, I was shocked by the weight of it; “Man, these have some heft” I exclaimed. Each cookie is about 5″ in diameter and the 4 of them together weighed about a pound and a half. These were no mass produced store-bought cookies, that’s for sure!
As we turned to go, I took one last look at the bread display and noted several freshly baked loaves. We’ve been on a sourdough kick lately and none of the grocery store loaves has had the intensity of flavor we like, not even the so-called extra sourdough. So I asked the baker how sour his sourdough was. He mumbled something about grocery store breads using powdered sourdough flavoring and then to my surprise, gave me a loaf of Dutch crunch bread to try for free. When I insisted on paying for it, he refused and said:
“You’ll be back.”
His bold confidence made me laugh outright. We thanked the baker profusely, I took the loaf from him and like the cookies, was surprised by the weight of it. Once home, I compared it to a larger unopened loaf of sourdough we bought at Costco. The Baker’s loaf weighed 3 pounds, the loaf from Costco just 2.
Never big on patience, we reheated some of Karen’s wonderful beef stew for lunch and toasted a couple slices of that fresh baked Dutch crunch bread.
The flavor and texture, the substance of it, the crunch of the toasted crust; it was the second best bread I’ve ever eaten.
And the best I’ve ever had? Well, that bread I first tasted in 1970 and I’ve been returning to the baker for more ever since. The bread of the world simply doesn’t compare. Oh there’s countless bakers serving up all manner of bread, but typical of men, most are looking for some way to replace a pound of ingredients with air.
That’s why our local baker was such a delightful surprise for me. You see, in the same way our Father in Heaven spared no expense to give us the bread of life, I admire and appreciate our local baker, who gave us his best for free, with utmost confidence that we’d return for more.
As for next time when we do go back? Well, I’ll be all over that loaf of sourdough. And a rye, of course. And more cookies. They make that herbal tea go down a LOT easier.
Please check out my other post Who bakes your bread (link).