Is there anything more cozy than the aroma of baking bread? No matter if it is wheat, sourdough, white or whatever your favorite, that wonderful scent of rising yeast and browning crust makes my mouth water. I really love sneaking the end piece as soon as the bread can be sliced, crusty and crackling. Just let the sweet, creamy butter melt into the warm, freshly baked slice, and yum! I recently baked a loaf of my favorite bread and I’ll share that recipe in a few days.
In the novel Bread Alone, bread making is at the heart of the story. The protagonist, Wynter Morrison is the perfect trophy wife, ideal hostess, cultivator of social networks to benefit her husband. Seven years of marriage, and it is all out the window when her husband announces he needs some time apart. She decides to visit her best friend in Seattle for a few days to think. Returning home she finds she is locked out of her home, with her possessions on the porch. She goes back to Seattle, deciding to make the divorce process last as long as possible. Maybe he will come to his senses and take her back. She spends hours drinking coffee in a bakery, remembering an apprenticeship in France when she was younger, and those bread making lessons, or were they life lessons? She is offered a job baking bread and she accepts. She comes to understand she isn’t the trophy wife, really never was, but she doesn’t know what she really wants.
One of the more memorable quotes from the book is one about the bread we all ate as children. The protagonist, Wyn, says this “Grocery store bread. Wonder Bread. Remember that? The stuff we ate when we were kids. It was white—a brilliantly unreal white—and it had the mouth feel of a damp sponge. When you took a bite, it left an imprint of your teeth suitable for post mortem identification.” I laughed out loud at that one, so true! Ms. Hendricks has her own blog, and has published her white bread recipe there – White Bread with Attitude.
The novel is beautifully written, with lovely reminiscences of a bakery in France. The journey to discover what is truly important to her takes the entire novel. Along the way are a few recipes for bread, nicely integrated into the story, along with tips on baking perfect loaves. I enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading the sequel, Baker’s Apprentice.