but lets be clear here my dudes - i'm not the boss of you, nor am i any sort of all knowing bread authority, so please do whatever makes you feel the most special. because you are the most special. and you deserve to feel like it.
and your loaf is also very special, so start off by telling your loaf that it looks good today, that you notice that it's doing something a little different with it's crust, and you think it's sexy. your loaf may not act like it appreciates it, but trust me, it does.
next up - as much as you want to eat our bread when it's still hot from the oven, patience is a virtue and it's best to let it cool. i know, i know, I KNOW, i'm such a party pooper, but hear me out. our breads all have a lot of whole grains in them (most of them are actually ALL whole grain), and whole grain bread is not done baking until it is cool. in fact, rye bread really needs to sit overnight, some people would even say it should sit for a couple of days before it's ready to be devoured by you beautiful people. luckily we bake the rye bread in the evening so that it is ready for the eating in the morning. but just take it easy on the other breads, they're hot outta the oven every morning, and they like to chiiiiiiiill before partying with you.
whatever baker boy, i'ma eat my bread hot, and you can just shut your piehole!! you're not the boss of me!!!
be my guest.
... this bread is a little weird, it's kind of... gooey... WTF??!?!?
ok, now that you've let your loaf cool down, just eat the whole thing. the end.
no, for real though, once i've let my loaf cool, i like to heat that sucker back up! this way the bread's fully baked, AND it's warm and delicious. i usually do this in a toaster, but you should do yours with a flame thrower or something else just as awesome. short of a flame thrower or toaster, a very wonderful way to eat your slice of bread is to fry it sunny side up style in a skillet with a bunch of butter. very very VERY good.
***as a small aside - we like our breads to be nice and moist on the inside, nice and crunchy on the outside. but for some people, our bread is actually too moist. and to these fine folks i apologize and say that there's plenty of bread in this world that is less moist and perhaps will achieve a higher score on your perfect-bread-moisture scale.
back to how to love your loaf!! once my loaf has cooled and it's eating time, i just cut myself a slice or four and leave my loaf cut side down on my cutting board, slicing away additional slices as needed. by leaving it cut side down, you are protecting the vulnerable insides from getting all dried out, while the crust maintains it's integrity. it should be fine for several days, just like this.
but let's also respect that loaf and it's needs and desires. i mean, sometimes a loaf doesn't want to get sliced, and that is FINE. you should only toast up a slice when it's ready for it. anything else would be disrespectful, and we ain't in to disrespectin' no bread, ya feel me?
some things that i typically DO NOT do with my bread:
- put it in a plastic bag
- put it in the refrigerator
- let it sit on my counter WITHOUT the cut side down
- eat it while still hot from the oven (i do make exceptions for our black pepper parmesan bread, but shhh don't tell anybody)
i have been known to take a loaf and cut it into slices and then wrap the whole thing in plastic and put it in a freezer so that it can be enjoyed one slice at a time over several months. this is what i sometimes do for my parents when i go home to visit them and find myself baking a few loaves that i want them to be able to eat once i've up and gone back to california.
i hope that helps and answers some folks' questions about how to best love their loaves. feel free to chime in below with any more tips you have for your fellow bread lovers out there.
and remember, even if you don't love your loaf, it will always love you.