Baking Bread: true fulfilment for a megalomaniac

Focaccia and the argument from irreducible complexity (Alternative Title)

Caramelised Onion and Thyme Focaccia, ready for the oven.

Caramelised Onion and Thyme Focaccia, ready for the oven.

Nothing encourages my megalomania more than a successful loaf of bread. I get quite giddy with my opinion of myself after such a success, swanning about my kitchen like I have just descended Mnt Olympus to pop something into an oven. I mercilessly lord over my yeast colonies like a cruel titan, fuelled by a mad love of power; eventually destroying them in a fit of pleasure.

 Onion and Thyme Focaccia

Onion and Thyme Focaccia

How do I explain this? Well, with reference to a philosophical argument of course:

There is a popular pro intelligent design argument that goes something like this: the human eye is just too complex, specific and all together wonderful for it to be a product of mere natural selection it must be the work of God. (Well, that’s it poorly stated with poetic license – For a more accurate expression you will have to go somewhere other than a baking blog). Now, I know better than to comment on the merits of this argument. I mention it only because the reasoning here is something like what I think when I successfully execute a bread recipe. This is going to be a bit of stretch, I ask you ,reader, to take a few leaps with me. There are times when I bite into a piece of bread and think: “This loaf’s flavour is too complex, its crumb too tender and its crust too crisp for its baker (me) to be a mere mortal- hobbyist. This must be the work of something great.”

I get mixed up, you see. Bread is just so wonderful and glorious that I get confused. I start thinking that the miracles that happen when you put yeast, flour, water, heat and pressure together have something to do with me. I do eventually find my way back to humility. This is usually as a result of my habit of pressing my pale and hungry face up against bakery windows. The sight of a fat pile of perfectly shaped and scored country loaves can be profoundly humbling to a recreational baker (humbling and appetite inducing).

Caramelised Onion and Thyme Focaccia

Onion and Thyme Focaccia: thank-you Dan Lepard

My latest loaf a caramelised onion and thyme focaccia (the one in the photographs) is going to require a considerable amount of window-time to bring me back to earth, but first its time for a sandwich.

Caramelised Onion and Thyme Focaccia

pretty…

Will ya, look at that crumb structure!

Will ya look at that crumb structure!

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