One experience having to do with food – but not with eating – is the joy of smelling. Just smelling…
This applies very much to the coffee aroma, but perhaps even a bit more to the sign perceived by our olfactory system, telling us that bread has been baked. Fresh baked bread is certainly one of the most inspirational experiences for the nose.
Supermarkets are more about seduction, than about inspiration. The products are placed in the proper location and setting, in order to push us to take them, and the products are arranged and prepared, so we believe they are tasty. Inspiration is something else.
It is obvious that when the most simple and common supermarket offers a few thousand articles, it is not possible to be an inspiration by displaying the sensible smell of the whole assortment. If it did, the nose would perceive a salad in a soup with chocolate, fried chicken and coffee in a bed of fruits and would be tired just after three minutes of entering the building.
So it was a great surprise to my nose yesterday, as it perceived bread. I was walking by the aisle full of packed loaves just as several of these were being put on their respective shelves. It was pleasant but I still did not buy a single one. A freshly baked bread was awaiting me home already. It was yet another experiment with the union of ingredients I regularly use, but – until now – never together. Beets go in my breads since I started baking. Apples and raisins are a popular combination in many countries and I enjoyed an apple-raising-cinnamon bread not long ago. Now I put the earthiness of beets and the sweetness of raisins together, sustained by the acidity of apple juice.
- 500 g whole-wheat flour
- 1 beet (regular size, cut with a carrot peeler)
- 70 g raisins
- 9 g salt
- 7 g coffee powder (very fine grind)
- yeast for 500 g flour
- 7 tbsp olive oil
- about 330 ml warm apple juice
Mix flour, beet, raisins, salt, coffee, and yeast with the olive oil, then start adding water slowly until the right consistency is obtained. Knead the dough about 20 minutes. In a bowl lightly covered with olive oil, put the dough to rest for about 40 minutes, covered with a moist towel. Knead the dough once more about 10 minutes. Then, prepare the bread mold – again with a bit of olive oil – and let it rest and rise until it doubles in size. After covering the form lightly with aluminium foil, the bread bakes 15 minutes by 175° and after taking the aluminium foil off, another 30 minutes.
For the first enjoyment, when the bread has been out of the oven some 30 minutes – still warm – cut a couple of thick slices and spread a good amount of cream cheese on them. Start eating.